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The Comeback Of Ribbon Driveways: Is It Right For My Home?

Key takeaways:

  • Ribbon driveways are a type of driveway that is becoming increasingly popular.
  • They are made from concrete, asphalt, or brick and have a grass strip in the middle.
  • They have many benefits, including being environmentally friendly and requiring less maintenance than other types of driveways.
  • However, some things to consider before opting for a ribbon driveway include flooding, customization options, and cost.

There is something charming about a ribbon driveway. Maybe it’s the history attached to them or a desire to create as eco-friendly an outdoor atmosphere as possible. Whatever it is, there’s a definite appeal to this old-fashioned driveway. But are ribbon driveways suitable for you?

That’s what Atkins Paving is going to explore in this post. We’ll examine the pros and cons of ribbon driveways and help you decide if this driveway style is right for your home. So, keep reading to learn more!

What are Ribbon Driveways?

Ribbon or “Hollywood” driveways, with two parallel strips of concrete, mortar-set stone or brick, and solid or grass pavers with an open, unpaved space, first gained popularity in the 1920s. A ribbon driveway should have stripes at least two feet wide and be placed five feet apart. You may fill the area between the ribbons with gravel or landscaping pebbles, or you can grow grass or another type of ground cover there. Ribbon patterns work well on shorter, straight driveways and might be challenging to implement on long or curved driveways.


In the 1920s, ribbon driveways gained popularity. They were a logical development from the ruts made by the wheels of wagons and automobiles. It seems logical and natural that you would want to prevent deep, muddy tracks into your grass if you often drive your car from the street to the garage. Paving the regions where the wheels go and leaving the grass in the middle is the most straightforward and cost-effective approach.

Benefits Of Ribbon Driveways:

Nowadays, with the vast majority of driveways made of concrete or asphalt, the ribbon driveway is somewhat of a forgotten style. However, with the comeback of antique styles in home design, the ribbon driveway may also be making a comeback. Here are a few hidden benefits of them:


Ribbon driveways are significantly less expensive to build than completely paved driveways in terms of material and labor. The shape and pattern of ribbon driveways can be altered to suit almost any location.

Curb Appeal:

Ribbon driveways offer a variety of design and pattern possibilities, which are fantastic chances for landscaping. Ribbon driveways can be coupled with permeable paving, bricks, grass pavers, or porous pavement. A well-designed ribbon driveway can add a touch of elegance and charm to any home. It can also be included in historical restoration projects.

Water Quality:

Ribbon roads generally have between 60 and 70 percent less impervious surface than a full-width driveway, allowing for more significant water infiltration into the ground below and a reduction in runoff.


The freeze/thaw cycles prevalent in most parts of the U.S. may cause significant damage to solid cement driveways with no gap in the center. Paver ribbon driveways prevent this damage by providing space in the middle for material to expand and contract. This is particularly helpful for cement or asphalt roads since they are considerably more susceptible to fluctuating temperatures than plastic.

Environment Friendly:

By filling the space between pavers with grass or vegetation, ribbon driveways help reduce heat island effects and make for an eco-friendlier option.

Factors To Consider:

Factor 01: Do You Have Driveway Flooding Problems?

If yes, a ribbon paver driveway might flood if the pavers or the area between them are impervious.

For instance, bricks between cement pavers won’t withstand much rain. You could construct a permeable ribbon paver driveway if you want to prevent floods. In this approach, permeable pavers that drain rainfall and avoid floods can still be used even if you want the area between your tracks to remain impermeable.

Factor 01: Do You Have Driveway Flooding Problems?

Factor 02: Do You Want Your Home’s Unique or Customized Look?

Ribbon driveways can be laid out in a variety of patterns and colors. You could even have custom logos or symbols made with the pavers. A ribbon driveway is an option if you want something that will make your home stand out. Make sure you find a reputable company to do the job, so it is done correctly.

Factor 03: Are You Willing to Perform Regular Maintenance?

Ribbon driveways require less maintenance than other driveways, but they still need to be cleaned and sealed regularly. Since crushed gravel tends to disperse, it might need to be frequently topped off. Center-strip plants can need to be weeded, mowed, or watered. After a harsh winter, you might need to replant since clearing snow might harm the plants. If you are unwilling to do this maintenance, you might want to consider another type of driveway.

Materials You Could Use for A Ribbon Driveway:

Concrete is a classic option for the driving surface and complements Craftsman-era buildings beautifully. Cobblestones, oyster shells, crushed gravel, mortar-set brick or stone, and more contemporary interlocking pavers perform well. You could use any material that compliments the design of your home and can sustain the weight of a moving car.

Typically, there is grass in the central strip. However, you can also choose a contrasting hard-surface material that needs less upkeep, such as gravel or stones. Use mulch or another low-growing ground cover that will grow in light conditions for a softer, more natural appearance. Vinca minor, ajuga, or creeping phlox are tried-and-true options, as are herbs like rosemary or creeping thyme. 

Are Ribbon Driveways Right for Me?

Now that you know more about ribbon driveways, you can decide if they are right for you. A ribbon driveway might be perfect if you want something unique and low maintenance. Just ensure to do your research so that you find a reputable company to install it.

Let Atkins Paving take care of all your driveway needs in Lancaster, SC!

Our skilled workers will tirelessly strive to guarantee that your new driveway is completed swiftly and professionally using only the best materials.

Get a free quotation today!