I have to answer this because I did this about 15 years ago for an older relative. She wanted a dirt/mulch driveway for her suburb cottage. I tried to talk her out of it but she insisted. So I rented a bobcat for $100 and dug out a 12 foot wide section of her yard leading up to the patio. I went a good 10-12 inches deep and kept the edges pretty sharp. We laid down a ton of coarse mulch (tree service place basically said this was as coarse as they did mulch - get "tree chips" not gardening mulch which is actually more expensive) after I flooded the dirt area.
We used a truck and some old plywood to smoosh the mulch down. A roller would have worked better and faster but didn't have a roller. This was about 60 feet and total work time was maybe 12-14 hours. "Driveway" is in the midwest and goes through all of the seasons. She spends about $50 a year for not only the mulch but the tree service does a quick spread too.
Digging out her driveway increased drainage away from house and she loves her mulch driveway which goes with the house. You can't shovel it in the winter, but it doesn't ice up either. The sides have rounded and the driveway sits in about 6 inches. Maybe it will have to be redug in 10-20 years... Not sure it is messier either. The mulch doesn't stick on the bottoms of our shoes (and she makes us take them off at the door). The only downside I have seen is that I do get mulch in my shoes.
Is it better than a concrete driveway? No way in my opinion. But it functions and goes well with her house. Her cheapest concrete driveway bid was 8K. If you can invest that at 10% she has already made enough just on interest to buy 3 driveways.