When it rains, water hits hard surfaces like roofs, concrete driveways and paved areas and does not absorb into the ground – this creates stormwater run-off that can cause flooding and erosion. Run-off transports pollutants from land uses and roadways, posing a potential threat to human, plant, animal and ecosystem health.
To help reduce run-off and prevent these negative impacts, think about how you might be able to decrease impermeable surfaces around your home. Permeable surfaces and landscaped areas allow water to reach the soil and infiltrate slowly, as it would in the natural water cycle. In addition to reducing surface run-off, permeable paving can trap and filter pollutants from stormwater. This means:
- healthier plants with access to water and moist soil
- localised cooling as water evaporates from the soils (this improves human thermal comfort and is important for climate change adaptation)
- less run-off to create flooding and damage
- better quality water reaching our creeks and marine environments.
Here are some ideas for alternatives to regular, hard pavement.
1. Don’t pave at all!
Permeable surfaces like gravel, bark chips, saw dust, timber, lawn and ground cover plantings are smart water sensitive urban design option.
2. Use specially-designed pervious paving
Pervious paving comes in many forms:
- Porous paving – surfaces that look like normal concrete or asphalt, but are porous so that stormwater run-off can move through them.
- Permeable paving – consisting of paving blocks with spaces that create a vertical column pathway for water to travel through to a gravel base and the soil beneath. Other types of permeable paving are made from regular pavers, laid so that there are small gaps between the pavers to provide the vertical columns.
- Soil stabilisers – a structural grid that can be backfilled with gravel or planted with grass or other ground cover that provides a pervious surface with the strength to take the weight of vehicles.
Explore the many pervious paving options to find the right one for your needs.
Source, l-r: newdawnlandscapes.com.au, Ruby Wake, Modi Building Technology
3. Only pave where absolutely necessary
If you need to pave your driveway, consider paving only in wheel tracks, and alternate any paved areas with permeable materials such as grass, gravel or sand.
Source: houzz.com, marshalls.co.uk