Make your driveway or patio surface more decorative and Eco-friendly.

For years we have been slathering open areas with asphalt or cement to form a strong, weight-bearing surface. Today we have much better choices. Permeable paving for your driveway or your patio can offer not only much more decorative surface textures and designs, but flat areas that support weight and allow water to drain into the soil beneath – a much healthier alternative for the environment rather than water sheeting away and eroding surrounding areas.

Permeable paving for a small, informal patioCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

Permeable paving is simply a way to pave a surface in which the water can penetrate. You can use a loose material like gravel, river rock, sand, tumbled glass or any other non-toxic composite. Or you can go to the other extreme and use really large slabs of rock or concrete. The most commonly-used materials are somewhere between large and small. Manufactured tiles, formed cement blocks, pavers, or bricks can be assembled all-of-a-kind or mixed to draw out mosaic designs or even pictures.

You will want to build a smooth, strong base to support your permeable paving surface. The depth and material you will need for support will depend on what kind of weight you will be supporting. A casual, ornamental patio may only require a couple of inches of sand as a base whereas a driveway that needs to accommodate the weight of trucks and cars will demand a deep base of rock or road base. Both the base material and the surface permeable paving that covers the base needs to allow water to drain down through the layers.

A contemporary look to permeable pavingCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

Permeable paving not only is an Eco-friendly solution to avoid erosion and water waste, but offers much more interesting solutions for landscape design. Permeable paving can create colors, designs and textures that expand the limitations of blacktop or cement surfaces. A driveway or patio offers a good-sized 'canvas' for you to create interesting designs that can highlight your landscape design. So think about using permeable paving for your driveway or patio. The effects you can create in these practical areas are limited only by your imagination.