block paved driveway

25 Aug 2016
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United Kingdom
hello folks, this is my first post here albeit ive used alot of information from posters and the site to renovate our house.

me and my girlfriend have decided we want the driveway block paving, one reason is to give us two spaces next to each other and the other is we just prefer the look compared to our current concrete driveway.

this is similar to how we want the block paving doing (it's a neighbours house) but i have a few questions id like some answers too.

firstly to the side of the block paving will be coloured gravel/stone, if we set the slope of the drive into the stone would that be sufficient for drainage rules or will i need to dig down and put a soakaway in place at the bottom of the drive?

secondly, i know from other work ive done that the ground is loose soil until you get around half a metre down when it becomes compacted clay, will i need to dig the whole drive down to this level then build it back up with type one hardcore to a suitable level to lay the block paving? the only reason i ask this is our current concrete drive is laid straight onto compacted soil and is only 8 inches thick.

last question is regards edging the driveway, from looking at the paving expert website the best option for edging our drive will be to lay a 15-20cm concrete bed, 10cm deep and set the edging stones in this, that's straight forward enough for the curve, will i need to do the same for the edges of where our current driveway is? one side of the driveway is the house the otherside is a public footpath with a fence dividing them.

thanks for any help
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Thanks for the reply, we looked at imprinted concrete I like it but she's less keen and it's not really diyable.

My main 2 issues with it are one, I've heard it's quite slippy when wet and secondly I tinker with cars and bikes quite a bit and inevitably the drive gets stained, with block paving I can just lift the stained sections when she starts complaining and renew them
Block paving isn't an easy job for the novice. It might look nice to begin with, but if not laid properly, can soon start sinking, or blocks move and the whole lot starts coming apart. Laid properly, you wont want to be taking blocks out to change them if you can help it, ok they'll come out with some persuasion, but can be a pig to get new back in to fill the hole you've just created.

A certain Swedish truck manufacturer opened a new dealerpoint near me a couple of years ago. The whole yard is block paved, and its all moving.... Currently I have heard there is a £multi million law suit going on between the builder and the truck company over who's going to sort it out. Other than pull the lot up and start again there isn't much they can do to salvage it.... Even the Pro's can get it wrong!

Block paving can also become slippery, weeds get in the gaps, if you pressure wash it the sand gets washed out allowing the blocks to move, etc. It is ok for ornamental areas, but for a domestic drive, especially if you plan to be fixing cars, I'd stick with concrete.
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The suds rules apply mainly to stop you discharging water onto the road. If the paving falls towards the house then deal with it as you wish.

It would be highly unusual for ground to be dug out to half a metre unless it was very recent fill. If the houses are at least 15 years old I would worry about it unless its very significant looseness.

Aim for a make up of 200mm of compacted hardcore 35mm of grit sand and then your blocks. 150mm of hardcore is the absolute minimum.

Need need for a kerb along a house wall. Its to provide lateral restraint to stop the blocks spreading so only needed on free edges. You will need one along the threshold between driveway and pavement if ones does not already exist.

A block paved drive will obviously need more maintenance especially with weed spraying. I think it looks miles better than concrete and I quite straightforward to diy if your careful about levels and neat and fastidious about cuts.

I have no idea why some failed commercial paving project is relevant?? I've seen plenty of ****ed up pic drives over the years.

Following the advice on paving expert to the letter wont see you too far wrong
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Block paving is great when first laid and this is often when follow-up paved drives are sold to neighbours etc.

In reality it is a maintenance headache from the outset. However, it is a versatile product in terms of removal/replacement and zero 'scarring'. A clay substrate is not an ideal base but soft spots can be mitigated by using a strong geo-tex fabric below the stone layer. I'm not talking standard weed barrier here either.
I have an imprinted concrete drive originally in a wet slate finish, quotes for block were about 25% more and horrible pink or yellow blocks. friends who have gone block have all had problems with sinking, weeds etc. mine is 15 years old and while the wet look has faded there is no sign of wear. it has supported several fairly heavy vehicles. several large 4x4 / SUVs around the 2-2.5 ton mark and an 8M motorhome which is around 3.5 ton.

I don't think either option is a DIY job if supporting vehicles.
Pattern imprinted concrete is highly unlikely to be cheaper in my experience.

Concrete, imprinted or just brush finished is not a diy job. It can be a cruel mistress and you only get one shot.

Block paving on the other hand lends itself well to diy as it can be done in stages and can also be lifted and re-done in places if you make a mistake.

Not suitable as a diy job if supporting vehicles??? This is total nonsense. Yes many diyers scrimp on sub base and dont compact it properly resulting in problems but so do plenty of shoddy contractors. That is individual foolishness not any kind of evidence that its not suitable for diy.

Use plenty of sub base and use a heavy vibrating roller and you wont go far wrong.
I have an imprinted concrete drive originally in a wet slate finish, quotes for block were about 25% more.
I can assure you that your own personal experience does not reflect prices nationally. Printed concrete drives are consistently more expensive than their block paving counterparts. A lot of it is down to the risk/failure factor coupled with the UK's unpredictable weather.
Looking at the OPs example pic we have roughly a 10M x 8M drive with some side parts, so call it 10 x 12 = 120m of drive.. 40-60m3 of digging, about 5-8 skips worth. I don't think its a one man diy job, if you want it done in a reasonable time frame. I've watched a guy around the corner from me lay a drive half that size and he's been at it for over 3 months. Couple of guys with a digger and all the right gear could get this done in a week.

But I get what has been said about doing it in phases and blocks will be much better for that..

On the price difference between block and imprinted - a bit of googling suggests evidence on both sides, but I guess it depends on like for like equivalents. The other thing to consider is (and this depends more where the OP lives..) the impact on the value of the home of having a Sh*te driveway vs something that looks really nice to most people.
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Are you sure your not a PIC salesman??

I can assure you from actual quotes and real world experience that I have never known PIC to be cheaper than concrete block paving unless the installer is a cowboy.

I personally think a well maintained block drive looks far superior to pic. Far too many pic driveways are a horrible glossy fake looking stone, some people would say that looked ****e...

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