Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Grass Pavement: Vintage and Green

A couple of weeks ago, when spring dumped a few inches of rain on my city in one day, there was water coming into my basement. It involved me, a wet/dry vac, and a few vigilant days and nights. It could have been worse. Nothing was damaged. Still, I was not a happy camper.

While a missing end cap to a gutter was a partial cause (and $1.38 fix) of the problem, it's clear that the concrete driveway, which goes right up against the south foundation of the house, is another, more serious issue. That's not a cheap fix. And while eventually the driveway will have to come up, I have absolutely no intention of reinstalling the same mistake again, especially in a city where storm water drainage is overtaxed and often inadequate.

The newest, greenest thing in driveways is called turf pavers. They allow grass (or moss or creeping plants) to grow up in between them. They slow the run-off of water from land to storm sewer, which in turn reduces pollution, stream-bed degradation, and soil erosion.

Photo Source here. 
The reduced surface area is also cooler with less absorbed and reflected heat, which is a plus next to a house in the summer. The driveway can still be shoveled in the winter (an important point for this snowy winter state) and you can mow it in the summer.

It's tempting to think of this as new, innovative, and 21st century eco. But here's a photo I took near a building on the campus where I work, which was constructed and landscaped in 1961:

There's crushed stone in the openings instead of grass, but the concept is the same. I guess it's really true that what goes around comes around.

I don't know if these types of pavement systems are allowed by code in the city where I live, but this blog post is the note to myself to check out the options when I'm ready to start renovating the driveway.

No comments:

Post a Comment