The key is paving driveways with water-absorbing materials that allow rain to soak into the ground, raising the ground water level rather than filling creeks and streams. An even more Eco friendly option is to pave your driveway with used or recycled materials that are permeable. Here are some of the materials being used as alternatives to driveway pavement. These often come under the general headings “porous pavement” or “pervious pavement.”
With a supporting grid, vegetation can make a strong driveway surface. An open grid of flexible plastic or concrete is laid on a base of porous material such as gravel or crushed seashells. Soil and grass fill in the spaces. The supporting structure prevents ruts from forming, and protects the root systems of the plants. Soil is, of course, very permeable.
2. Paving Blocks
This very durable option uses a permeable material, sand, to hold the pavement blocks in place (rather than impermeable mortar). Rain water runs between and under the blocks and into the ground. Sand has the added benefit of keeping its flexibility and not compacting.
Like paving blocks, bricks can be held in place with sand, providing the necessary permeability. You can allow vegetation to grow between the bricks as well in your brick driveway.
4. Permeable Clay
In this kind of set-up, permeable clay is the top layer of an underground system that culminates in an outlet pipe. In between is a bed made from permeable materials. The top clay layer looks like bricks.
5. Crushed Organic Matter
Crushed seashells, mulch, and other organic materials can be used to pave driveways. An open grid support structure can help increase durability and reduce the need for replacement.
6. Aggregate or Gravel
These are certainly not new ideas in driveway materials! But you may not have known they can be eco-friendly. In fact, aggregate can be made from recycled concrete (maybe from your previous driveway?). The concrete is simply crushed into chunks for use as a paving material.
There are other advantages to porous pavement options besides just decreased storm run-off. For one thing, oil and fluids that leak from vehicles are more easily biodegraded when percolated through porous material. And permeable pavement in urban areas can reduce the effects of urban heating. Yet another advantage is that ice is less likely to form on a surface into which water sinks. We hope these eco friendly ways to pave your driveway help make your life greener!