Paved surfaces are so integral to modern life that we rarely give it a second thought. Yet, as we pave more and more land we are creating some serious environmental problems. Traditional paving is not permeable, thus rainwater rushes around trying to find someplace to go rather than soaking into the ground. A whole host of problems ensue including erosion, flash floods, water table depletion and pollution of rivers, lakes and coastal waters as rainwater flows across paved surfaces and picking up oil, grease, chemicals, and whatever else is lying there, and dumps it into large bodies of water.
In doing some research on the subject it appears that this issue is currently being addressed on a number of levels. For larger projects such as roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, municipalities and businesses are beginning to switch from conventional concrete or asphalt to a product called pervious concrete. Pervious concrete traps water and allows it to percolate through the concrete to the ground below. It uses the same materials as conventional concrete, except that it eliminates the sand component that is typically used.
Homeowners who are looking to install hardscape elements such as driveways, patios, and tennis/basketball courts can now utilize this same technology. If you are looking to embark on one of these bigger projects, be sure to consult with a local company such as Pervious Concrete, Inc. to investigate pervious concrete options. For smaller landscaping projects, all kinds of permeable paving options are available. Installing stones, bricks, or any kind of paver over a bed of sand and gravel is known as dry laying. Dry laying allows water to pass through the openings between each stone or paver. Crushed stone or gravel is another great option for landscaping, as it easily allows rainwater to pass through to the ground below. Installing permeable paving in a landscape can potentially be an easy do-it-yourself project, however, it may be worth consulting with a professional landscaper to determine what type of soil you have and what kind of paving material would work best for the site.
Pervious Concrete, Inc.
PO Box 1579
Snohomish, WA 98291