After you finish building your custom home, the last thing you might want to do is grace your driveway with boring gray concrete. However, if you don’t have thousands of dollars to pay for real stone, you might be wondering how to make the area look nice. Here are three ways to spruce up your concrete driveway, so that you can create a gorgeous, streamlined appearance.

1: Get it Stamped

Do you love the look of intricate cobblestone or carefully laid lava rock? Although imported stone can make your driveway look like the entryway to a palace, it might cost more than you bargained for. In fact, a cobblestone driveway can cost upwards of $70 per square foot to install. This means that even a standard single car 10×25 foot driveway could cost up to $17,500 to deck out in cobblestone.

However, you might be able to achieve the same look without the high price tag by opting for stamped cement. To make that concrete interesting, professional paving contractors will push stamped forms into the wet cement and repeat the process until the entire surface is textured. This process creates a gorgeous result that is almost indistinguishable from the real thing when you are a few feet away. Believe it or not, stamped concrete is also incredibly economical, usually costing between $8-$12 per square foot, with ornate designs costing up to $18.

2: Consider Acid Staining

Sometimes, the flat texture of a driveway is only part of the design problem. Many people hate the color of traditional concrete, especially if their home is created with warm brown or tan tones that clash with gray. However, you might be able to transform the look of that cement by hiring a professional contractor to stain the surface.

Concrete acid stain contains hydrochloric or phosphoric acid and inorganic salts, which react with the surface of concrete. The acid opens the pores of the concrete, and the salt produces a chemical reaction that actually dyes the surface. Because the acid seeps into concrete, the stain penetrates deeper than the exterior, so the color won’t ever chip or scratch away.

One of the best things about acid staining is that because each slab of concrete is a little different, no two acid staining jobs look identical. Also, you have the choice between several colors, and professionals can even combine them to create a truly customized look. Stained concrete can even be polished to look sleek and elegant, should you decide to use it inside of your garage too.

3: Add Inlays

If you want to add a little bit of luxury without a steep price tag, you should consider adding interesting inlays alongside or even within the body of your driveway. Here are a few ideas that might add a load of visual interest to that otherwise boring space:

  • Pavers: If you can’t afford to add imported rocks to your entire driveway, consider lining the exterior with carefully laid pavers. You might be able to tie in the rock that you have on the exterior of your home into your driveway design, without breaking the bank.
  • Grass Strips: Are you looking for more of a natural look, but love the hassle-free design of traditional driveways? Consider asking your driveway contractor to leave strips of grass in between the pads of concrete. In addition to looking ultra-modern and clean, it can also make the area meld with your landscaping. When you mow your lawn, you can run your mower over the driveway to trim those strips, so that they stay looking tidy.
  • Loose Stone Details: For people who like the idea of a different driveway, but don’t like dealing with grass, adding loose stone details might be the answer. Instead of filling those gaps in between your concrete slabs with turf, you might be able to fill them in with shiny loose stones. They will give the ground a little bit of texture while breaking up the color−without looking too obvious.

Taking the time to make your driveway something special might help you to improve the curb appeal of your home, and keep that pavement from looking out of place.

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