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    CD Designs Blog

    Black is Back

    Charcoal coloured pathway

    Charcoal coloured pathway

    Black has long been the colour of elegance and simplicity. In fashion, the black suit or tuxedo is the standard formal attire for men, and for women the black dress is regularly seen on red carpets and catwalks. Designer Karl Lagerfeld was once quoted as saying “Black is the color that goes with everything. If you’re wearing black, you’re on sure ground”. The same is true outside of fashion, and black is increasingly being used for interior and exterior decorating. White walls and black furniture is often considered a ‘modern’ look, and the contrast between black and other colours looks beautiful, adds drama and never goes out of style.

    A good example of how we use black to contrast other features is a driveway we installed in Blackpool in 2011, as shown in the photo above. We used our charcoal colour on the whole of the front drive and side path leading to the front door, and in contrast with the white walls, doorway and gravel, the black concrete gives a stylish and sophisticated look. We also use charcoal for our McDonald’s and KFC drive-thru’s. We are finding that more and more customers are choosing black for their pattern imprinted concrete driveways.

    Case Study – March Drive, Brandlesholme

    Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway

    Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway

    Installed in November 2012, this particular customer asked for our details from a former customer of ours after being impressed by our work. They wanted a transformation to both the back and front of their property with a new pattern imprinted driveway and patio.

    On preparation a large planter was removed from the front of the property, which opened the driveway up significantly, providing much needed space. Steps were built to the rear of the property within a new wall that we built to provide stepped access to the raised area, and a half moon step was installed to the front of the property providing access to the front door. Both sets of steps were formed using charcoal KL blocks.

    Another wall was built between our customer’s property and their neighbour using Marshallite buff block, the same block used to the rear of the property. The walls were then topped with coping stones. When deciding on the pattern and colour of the pattern imprinted concrete, the customer chose russet and the Ashlar slate pattern.

    To view the complete case study complete with photos, click here

    Do You Need Planning Permission?

    planning permission

    Many of our customers often ask whether they will need planning permission for work carried out on their home. Here is a quick guide to whether you will need planning permission when improving your home.

    For front gardens, planning permission is not generally needed if your driveway is less than 5 square metres, or you are using a permeable material like gavel, block paving or porous asphalt. For our pattern imprinted concrete installations, which are non-permeable, we will design a drainage system specifically for your needs, so that any rainwater is allowed to drain properly.

    For any patios or side of house parking areas and paths, no planning permission is required as long as there is no significant embanking or terracing built to support a hard surface. When it comes to decking, planning permission is again not required provided it is not raised more than 30cm, and the decking and other external structures don’t cover more than 50% of the total garden area.

    Any walls, fences or gates will not normally need planning permission unless they are over 2 metres high, or over 1 metre tall and next to a highway used for vehicles. Alternatively permission may be needed if you are changing the boundary of a neighbouring listed building. If you live in a listed building yourself, planning permission is usually needed for any indoor or outdoor work on the property.

    If planning permission is necessary, we will provide all the assistance needed to get it. If you would like some no-obligation advice, please contact us here. For more in-depth information, you can look at a handy 3D government guide here.

    Golden Trowel Awards

    The Winning Garden

    The Winning Garden

    The 6th Annual Golden Trowel Awards took place recently, celebrating decorative concrete projects installed during 2011. It was held by PICS, who are a leading pattern imprinted concrete supplier.

    The entries ranged from standard domestic designs for driveways and gardens, to more commercial applications like theme parks, drive-thru restaurants, petrol stations and seafront promenades. The winner of the Domestic Installation category was a garden in Whitchurch (pictured above), which we think looks similar to this driveway we installed in Little Lever, and from which we received a glowing testimonial.

    The winner of the Commercial Installations category was a refurbishment of a pattern imprinted concrete drive-thru at the McDonalds in Cosham, Portsmouth. You can see our installation of a drive-thru for KFC in Walkden here. In the Individual Features category, the winning entry was an inset pin-wheel medallion feature within a driveway, similar to a compass feature which we have incorporated in some of our driveways in the past like this one in Gorton

    We don’t use PICS products, so we’re not eligible to enter any of our work into the competition, but we think that our St. George’s school Dragon installation would give anyone a run for their money!

    DIY Design On A Budget

    Following on from our latest blog on getting ideas to design your own driveway, we have compiled a list for those on a budget, of some tricks to designing a low cost, good looking pattern imprinted concrete driveway.

    • If you’re pouring new concrete, consider incorporating curves. Make your walkway slightly curved. Go from a square patio to a half-circle. Shape your concrete to flow with the landscaping. It’s a budget-friendly tip that won’t add to the cost of your stamping ideas, but can add a tremendous amount in aesthetics.
    • Add a border. Can’t afford to stamp all the square footage of your concrete? Just stamp a border. A patterned border frames the concrete, giving it a finished look.
    • Keep colour simple. One of the biggest factors that can add to your cost is colouring your concrete with multiple colours. Use the same colour for your border or your fields and you can save quite a bit. Using colour with a pattern will make a dramatic difference compared to plain, grey concrete. You don’t have to do a lot to make an impact.
    • Expand the area you’re stamping. It may seem counterintuitive, but you can add a lot of impact by continuing a stamped pattern from a patio or driveway to walkways and steps. Rather than stamp an entire driveway, consider just doing a border, but then continue that border to nearby walkways, paths, steps, and entryways. Get more for your money by stamping in multiple places and creating a holistic look, rather than just splurging on one, single area.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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