A well-maintained driveway is more than just somewhere to park your car - it can add value to your home and bring the entire look of your facade together. Maintaining your driveway doesn't have to cost a fortune, though. Here are some tips to help you manage your driveway without emptying your bank account.

Opt for a Gravel or Stone Driveway

While it might not look as clean as a concrete or asphalt drive, a stone or gravel path is much less expensive to maintain than some of the other options. A gravel or stone driveway can cost less than $1 to $4 per square foot, and if some of the stones shift out of place or wash away, it requires very little to replace them.

The downside of this kind of driveway is that loose stones can cause damage to your car, and it is nearly impossible to work on your vehicle on this kind of path. If those don't sound like downsides to you, a gravel drive is your cheapest option for both installation and maintenance.

Keep It Clean

Just because your driveway happens to be outside doesn't mean you can let it get gross and dirty. Oil stains, dirt, tire residue and other messes don't just look unsightly - they can damage the surface of the concrete and lead to cracks.

If you've got a spill, take time to clean it up. Soak up oil and other car-related stains with kitty litter or sand, then safely dispose of it. For anything that's soaked in a little more, break out the pressure washer and blast it clean. If you don't have one, you can rent one from your local hardware store.

Seal the Surface

Driveways take a lot of punishment daily. If you have an asphalt driveway, consider investing in a sealcoat for the surface. A sealcoat isn't expensive and has been proven to extend the operating life of asphalt surfaces. In addition to making the asphalt surface last longer, it can act as a crack sealant, which can repair small problems before they become big ones.

These sealants don't work for concrete driveways, but you can use a concrete stain to serve much the same purpose.

Fix Small Problems Quickly

Cracks and small holes will appear routinely on your driveway. It just comes with the territory. The trick to saving money when dealing with these cracks is to repair them when they arise, rather than waiting for them to get larger. The smaller the break, the more straightforward and less expensive it is to fix. Concrete patches are relatively cheap at hardware stores, and much less costly than paying a professional to repair the cracks when they grow too big for a patch.

Move Your Landscaping

While having trees and bushes lining your driveway might look lovely, it could be damaging your driveway. Greenery will spread their roots in all directions, and that includes under your path. The roots will lift the concrete and cause it to crack. If you've got plants near your driveway, consider relocating them.

Your driveway doesn't have to be a money sink. Take care of small problems when they appear, and keep your driveway clean. If you have an asphalt driveway, consider investing in a sealant that will extend the life of your path and reduce the number of cracks you have to deal with in the future.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington