Permeable Pavers: Patios, Walkways, and Driveways Made of Porous Pavement

To help reduce surface runoff, consider using permeable pavers — porous pavement — instead of old-fashioned concrete.


| April/May 2009



dandriveway

Green building expert Dan Chiras provides information and recommendations on energy-saving and eco-friendly projects in this ongoing department, “Green Home Improvement.”

KEITH WARD

Although concrete lasts a long time — creating durable patios, driveways, roads, and foundations for houses — the production of concrete takes a lot of energy. And that’s not the only problem with concrete: Whenever the ground is covered with it, rain doesn’t seep into the soil. As the rain accumulates and water starts flowing off the concrete, it can create problems. But porous pavement materials are now available to provide a solid base and still allow water to seep through.

Benefits of Permeable Pavers

Groundwater is a source of drinking water for many people. It also nourishes deep-rooted plants and trees. Replenished by rain and melting snow, groundwater has become an endangered resource, partly because of the impermeable materials used in new developments in and around cities and towns. Roofs, roadways and runways, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, patios, and tennis courts prevent surface water from seeping into the ground.

These impervious surfaces often divert water into storm sewers and then into streams. The rush of water may result in costly and sometimes life-threatening floods. Surface runoff also carries toxic pollutants, such as chemicals and oil from paved roadways and parking lots, into rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, where it pollutes drinking water supplies and harms wildlife.

Another problem caused by so much paving is the buildup of heat in and around cities and towns. Asphalt and concrete absorb sunlight and convert it to heat. The buildup of extra heat around cities and towns is known as the “heat island effect.”

Next time you build a patio, walkway, parking space, or driveway, you can address these problems by installing permeable materials, some of which allow grass to grow in them. Many attractive options will permit water to drain into the ground. Some even reduce heat accumulation around buildings.

What Are Your Options?

For patios or walkways, consider installing permeable concrete pavers. The pavers are solid, but if they’re spaced correctly, water drains between them. Pavers are placed over a bed of sand or gravel, which filters water before it percolates into the soil. Permeable pavers are made from concrete or cut stone and are available in several styles. (For tips on installation, see Picture-perfect Paths & Patios.)

ferg4us9
7/28/2017 10:34:45 AM

How do these things hold up to snow blowers, snow shovels, snow plowing on a four wheeler?


cybercrone
6/13/2016 11:56:49 AM

I had heard that there was a semipervious paving system made from discarded automobile tires. Have you heard of this?


isabella
8/1/2014 2:28:23 AM

I was deeply impressed with the creative-minded workers who laid down the paving stones artfully, which looks beautiful and grabs the attention of my guests much easily. I would like you to consult the same Johannesburg based professionals if you are planning to http://www.pavingjohannesburg.com/ in a fashionable manner.


isabella
6/10/2014 11:49:42 AM

http://www.pavingjohannesburg.com/ hold expertise in paving installation and decorating the walkways and outer spaces.


ezra hazard
7/8/2012 9:23:14 PM

super idea! I'l build a pah to the chicken coop so I can stay out of the mud


peter henshaw
6/8/2012 7:02:57 PM

I never thought about installing a pervious concrete patio at my house. I just assumed it was for parking lots and roads. I didn't think that it would be as much use to me. Very cool information! Thanks!






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