Thinking about installing a new paver patio? Do yourself and the environment a favor and consider permeable pavers for the project.
While patios come in all shapes and sizes, they usually serve one of a few purposes—relaxing, entertaining, cooking, or all of the above. Usually, we cover them in furniture, planters, and other items, and because they're located outside, they're often susceptible to flooding.
Many people choose to lay patios with impermeable material. Usually, this material is concrete, which doesn't allow water to pass through and displaces it instead to the sides. If you have an uncovered patio made of concrete pavers, prepare for flooding.
However, some patios can be left uncovered and are immune to flooding. That's where permeable paver patios come in. If you're not familiar with permeable pavers, keep reading to learn what they are and how they can benefit you and your world.
What Is a Permeable Paver Patio?
A permeable patio is one constructed with pavers made of permeable material instead of traditional materials like concrete.
While they serve various purposes, the most vital is to provide a solid, durable, level paving that stands up to the high traffic a patio receives. They also prevent flooding from occurring near your patio because the pavers have the ability to drain.
Permeable pavers are created with aggregate and pavers instead of concrete laid over a level subgrade, as traditional patios are built. After the subgrade is excavated, the contractor will lay a cloth down over the service, which serves as a weed block. Then, you choose an aggregate to pour into the subgrade, and it's rolled or tamped for tight compaction.
As pavers are laid over more aggregate, additional aggregate (can be the same or a different type) is poured into the pavers' cells. The fill gravel is held in place by the pavers, so there's no maintenance once the surface is stabilized. Everything is then compacted to provide a level patio surface. Simple, right? That's the entire permeable paver patio installation process in a nutshell.
Types of Permeable Pavers
Original permeable pavers were constructed with brick or concrete and had gaps between to allow water to drain through. These pavers were only used in small areas as decorative elements or to reduce any ponding.
Today, there are a variety of permeable pavements and surfaces to choose from, each with its own pros and cons. The system you choose for your patio will depend on the nature of the application and the requirements you have for the project.
Permeable concrete is created by mixing concrete and stone and laid without a gravel or sand sub-base. It is more porous than traditional concrete pavements. The look is rougher than conventional concrete, yet it's more flexible and has the ability to absorb water, which reduces runoff slowly.
However, permeable concrete frequently requires maintenance and has little ability to drain water. The installation costs are high, and it's more brittle than concrete typically is, which results in potholes and cracks.
Interlocking Concrete or Brick Pavers
These bricks of concrete create gaps that water drains in between. While the concrete isn't actually permeable, the paving grid's interlocking construction allows water absorption. However, the open areas become clogged over time.
This system has a high price, and since its permeability decreases over time, it's restricted to small residential areas.
While asphalt isn't conventionally permeable either, it can be made more porous and laid on top of a storage bed made of stone that allows water to drain into the soil underneath.
The porous asphalt has a small pore size, so while rainwater can permeate and not run off, it frequently leads to clogging. The clogging causes frequent needs for maintenance and fragility, leading to potholes and ruts.
Plastic Grid Pavers
Plastic grid pavers are cellular plastic grids filled with grass or gravel and are best for heavy-traffic areas. They hug the earth and remain flexible, so they don't develop cracks or potholes over time. The plastic offers optimal soil and gravel retention, as well as high permeability.
A permeable grass paver system provides complete porous cover and offers stormwater detention underneath—leading to greater land utilization. The installation costs are lower, and it's virtually maintenance-free once installed.
Rigid Plastic Pavers
These plastic pavers can also be rigid structures with hexagonal cells, making them more arduous and less flexible. This results in good compression strength, but the lack of flexibility creates issues in real-world applications.
Often, the pavers aren't completely flat and are best used in grass-filled applications.
Rolled Plastic Paving
For better flexibility, rolled plastic paving systems can be stored or shipped easily. The cells are smaller and not conjoined, allowing for rolling. This creates minimal load strength for heavy-traffic applications.
Rolled plastic paving systems require staking, which leads to higher installation costs.
Why Choose Permeable Pavers for Your Patio Project
When patios are created with stones tightly joined and sealed together, water doesn't have the ability to penetrate the ground below.
This means the water needs to be directed towards more permeable areas, find its way to sewer systems, or remain on the surface where it will pool up. If it pools, it causes flooding or is left to the mercy of the hot sun and evaporation. You might as well sit and watch grass grow. So, aside from the environmental impacts that arise from an impermeable world, you may need to barbeque your dinner in rubber boots.
Here are some convincing reasons to choose permeable pavers over traditional concrete for your patio.
They Allow Water to Drain
Permeable paver applications allow rainwater to flow between the paver joints and into the sub-base, where water stays until it's absorbed into the ground below.
The natural expansion joints make permeable pavers somewhat flexible—unlike pavement and poured concrete. They rarely crack due to Mother Nature's freeze and thaw cycle.
Permeable pavers are also low maintenance. If a stone or piece of the grid is damaged, you can simply pull it out and replace it. For this reason, always keep a few extra pavers around at the end of your project.
They Are Durable and Easy to Repair
Choosing to install a permeable paver surface costs about the same as a concrete one. However, permeable pavers are more durable. You can use them in cold or warm climates, and they won't peel or crack. While you might have to replace asphalt three or four times, your permeable surface will stay in good shape.
There is less need to resurface or reseal stones when using permeable pavers. Repairs are relatively easy, as you can simply remove and replace any cracks or problems.
They Offer More Style Options
Permeable pavers come in a variety of styles, complete with different colors of aggregate. As part of the design, you can choose to include some impermeable elements and fill in the gaps with permeable ones.
For example, you may choose to include stepping stone pavers, which are plastic pavers that stabilize a stone paver in the middle. The surrounding pavers are filled in between with grass or gravel.
They Reduce Potential Heaving and De-Icing
Permeable pavers are ideal if you live in a colder climate with snowy winters. The system relies on open aggregates, meaning the material has a lot of airspaces. Water will flow into these spaces and freeze, reducing the possibility of heaving.
The aggregate also allows heat from the earth to rise easily, meaning water doesn't pool or freeze on the pavers' surface. You'll have no need to de-ice the area.
They're Better for the Environment
Sure, permeable patios help prevent flooding, but they're also environmentally friendly.
Rubber, oil, and other chemicals gather on top of traditional paver stones during dry seasons. Permeable pavers create sustainable urban drainage systems. A porous surface allows stormwater to seep into the ground rather than sheet off of your property. There's less of a chance that rainwater will carry away pollutants from your land and into our water system.
They also help reduce the possibility of erosion when it rains.
As another plus, permeable pavers will save you from mobs of mosquitos that like to hang out and breed in standing pools of water.
Installing Permeable Pavers With a Trench Drain System
You can install permeable pavers to address soggy backyards, downspout drainage, stormwater runoff, excessive groundwater, or sloped grades. They can be an alternative to ugly catch basins on your patio or alongside your lawn.
These porous pavers allow us to build patios in areas that would otherwise be unsuitable for traditional pavements.
Permeable pavers work even better when your patio has optimal drainage capacity. You can achieve this by installing a trench drain system along with your new paver patio. Then, your entire patio becomes a giant catch basin or rainwater harvesting system. Funnel water into an underground holding tank where you can use it to water your lawn or plants. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
Residential trench drains divert excess rainfall from areas around your home that are prone to flooding. They're versatile, so the application is easy, and they can be customized based on your needs.
If you're concerned about the look of a trench drain system, don't be. They're composed of several parts, including a channel, a grate, an end cap, an end outlet, as well as optional frames and catch basin. All of these parts are installed beneath the surface so that they won't be seen or heard from after installation.
Trench drains are also available in different designs for areas that require nice aesthetics, like a patio. You can also ensure that Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements are applied, if necessary.
Add Finishing Touches
When it's all said and done, you can add other features to make your patio constructed of permeable grass pavers the highlight of your property. Need some ideas? We've got you covered.
Pick a Pattern
Paver design options are endless. You can choose basket-weave designs to checkered grids, and anything in between.
Keeping your pattern clean and consistent is key. The scale should be kept at a human scale, feeling comfortable and not overwhelming. This look allows for clear and timeless gestures.
Classic chevron and running bonds are always a win.
Don't like the smell of grass and moss in the morning? Plant some thyme in between pavers instead—it actually smells great when you step on it. Obviously, the ability to plant thyme will depend on the region and climate you live in. However, you'll have more choices available if you live in a sunny area.
Whatever you decide, research and get creative, and you can have a natural air freshener on your patio.
Frame With Plants
The best way to accommodate your patio is with a garden. Combine herbs and succulents into a low to the ground garden that runs alongside your patio.
Permeable Paver Patios are Good for Everyone
If you're concerned about durability, cost-effectiveness, and drainage, permeable paver patios are a smart choice.
If land utilization is most important to you, a grid permeable paver system with water retention underneath is your best bet. Permeable pavers are a necessity if you're most concerned with sustainability and protecting your property.
It's time to install a functional patio constructed of permeable grass pavers. You can do it alongside a trench drain system that leaves the smallest carbon footprint possible. If you're ready to get started, look no further than Trench Drain Materials.
Contact us today for a quote or to discuss your patio design.