13 Creative Driveway Landscaping Ideas

A driveway may be utilitarian, but it doesn't have to be ugly. Here are 13 driveway landscape ideas to make yours more appealing.

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Pretty yet Practical

When considering driveway landscape ideas, also think about the conditions. In the North, for instance, is there a place to shovel or blow snow? And, no matter where you live, you’ll want to address drainage issues. See how to install an in-ground drainage system. In this case, the landscape includes plants and mulch on the high ground and a swath of river rock on the low ground where it serves as a dry creek bed to direct rainwater.

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Circular Driveway

When space permits their use, circular driveways not only add a touch of class, they also serve a practical purpose, eliminating the need to back up. In this case, a statue is surrounded by a formally sheared boxwood hedge, which also keeps vehicles from getting too close. Fill the interior with an easygoing groundcover, such as creeping euonymous or periwinkle, and you’ve got an attractive focal point.

Also, add an extra element of beauty with these driveway gate ideas!

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Planting Pockets

Although it may be tempting to landscape the entire expanse of your driveway, another driveway landscape idea is to create a planting pocket. It can be any size or shape, so long as it’s got enough rooting space for your chosen plants. Consider the mature size of the plant, though. In this case, the homeowner has chosen a dwarf blue spruce which won’t outgrow its bounds. The bed itself is edged to keep grass roots from migrating into the bed and causing extra maintenance. If you want some inspiration to help you liven up your home entrance, then these entryway plants will get the job done.

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Grand Entrance

If you want guests to know where to park, you can earmark the driveway with matching trees lit up by landscape lighting for extra drama. Note the trees have been pruned to make them more architecturally interesting and to avoid blocking the view when vehicles are backing up. This is a good example of a smart driveway landscape idea.

Plants aren’t the only thing that can improve a driveway’s looks. Repave your driveway for instant enhanced curb appeal.

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Vladimir Trynkalo/Shutterstock

Curbstone Setting

Colorful cottage garden flowers are a delight. But how sad it would be to see them inadvertently knocked over by a careless driver. A curb helps keep that from happening—and also keeps soil and mulch in place in case of rain. Meet 10 inexpensive plants that will make your garden pop.

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Tuck-Under Garage

A slope and a tuck-under garage pose an aesthetic challenge that’s easily solved with smart driveway landscaping ideas like this. Tall arborvitaes help tone down the house’s height. A large group to the right is balanced by a smaller clump of arborvitaes and cascading Japanese maple to the left. Now imagine the setting without the tall evergreens—the house would seem out of scale with the rest of the landscape.

If you’re planting arborvitae or other large shrubs or trees, check out our tips here.

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Going to Pot

Placing large containers in strategic locations is another driveway landscape idea. The key is to put them where they won’t interfere with vehicles—and to use containers that are large enough to see easily. Small pots would look fussy—and they’d be hard to see—but these larger pots work just fine. Notice how the color and shape of the containers is repeated to streamline the design. Make your own pots! See our 10 plans for planters and trellises.

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A Smart Approach

Landscaping is great, but you still need a place to park the cars. Note how the landscaping here is limited to the right side—in front of the house where it’s best appreciated—while the left side is gravel so extra vehicles can park without blocking the garage. Read about inexpensive landscaping for attractive entryways.

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Annual Appeal

Bedding plants are valuable when it comes to implementing driveway landscape ideas. They look good in batches, so you can plant a nice expanse of color that pops from the street—or from your front window. These marigolds and dusty miller plants are an example of mass appeal. Plus, next year you can switch up the game plan and go with different colors and different plants.

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Rock, but no Roll

Another way to keep cars from rolling into your gardens is to use rocks in your driveway landscape. Rocks can be practical and ornamental at the same time, especially when paired with attractive plants such as these evergreens. Using a mulch of the same material unifies the look of the bed.

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Country Garden

A driveway landscape should match the style of the rest of the landscape. This gravel driveway is adorned by mounds of lavender for a country garden look that matches the architectural style of the house. Here are 15 landscaping tips for all house styles.

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Formal Attire

On the opposite end of the spectrum is this formal driveway, which includes low, sheared hedges and topiary shrubs. It may look like a lot of work, but with a slow-growing hedge such as boxwood and store-bought topiary shrubs (available at independent garden centers), it’s not much work at all. Here are 25 tips for planning the perfect garden.

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Important Steps

When dealing with a slope, steps may come into play. Rather than mucking them up with plants, leave them open and accessible, then plant the landscape to the opposite side as seen here with the dwarf blue spruce and heather.

Want more options? Check out 11 sparkling shrubs for today’s yards.

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.