Block paving: the key with block paving is to get the foundation compacted enough, a heavy duty roller or wacker plate should be used for the crushed stone foundation (approx. 5 inches deep+). The layer of grit sand above the stone should be as thin as possible and screeded very tightly, its best to go over it with a wacker plate b4 final layer is laid and screeded. If the foundation is sufficiently compacted there will be no dips especially where tyre tracks are. Standard diveline blocks should be laid in a herringbone pattern- looks best with angle 45 degrees to house, but its also worth considering a 90degree pattern when it can save on cutting labour around edges (good on small square drives- but shows lines on long drives).
Paving: on patios its good to have a shallow crushed stone foundation, but not necessary for standard pressed paving as they are equivalent to approx. 6 inch thickness of insitu concrete. Standard paving can be laid on a base of concrete mix (semi dry). If laying India stone or other random sized paving it is advisable to lay flags on spot beds of wet concrete (blobs in middle and around edges), this allows greater freedom to lay flags flat as stone paving comes in different thicknesses. The best way to grout flags is to brush a strong wet cement mix over them and clean it off surface with brush and hose with nossel on the end. Grouting this way gives a very neat look, alleviates stains on joins, and allows for smaller joints. It must be a wet mix and it must be strong- there is no point trying this technique if its your first time as you will get it wrong. If you are doing your own paving it is much more likely you will get it right if you use a semi dry mix placed in joints with trowel, if you get stains brick acid will clean them off when the grout is dry.
Tarmac: DIY driveway tarmac is not advisable. Limestone tarmac should not be used (fades to grey), and also beware of 'bad tarmac'- this is often cheap leftover tarmac and is likely to be too dry to give a perfectly smooth surface. Red tarmac looks great with a charcoal block border but there are issues with it's durability- it is less likely to hold together so becomes a gravelly surface sometimes after time. It does seem to vary from batch to batch so the best thing with red is to ask for a solid guarantee- if a contractor won't give this then they obviously don't have confidence in their product.
Imprinted Concrete: absolutely not possible for DIYers, without professional guidance it will go wrong. The only maintenance this surface needs is a new top coat to bring out colour/protect concrete, when this is needed will vary depending on your surface and area (weather), but expect to need to go over it every 10-15 years. Find out more info by clicking on tarmac driveways near Bournemouth.