Permeable pavers are an option to traditional hard surfaces such as asphalt, concrete or pavers. They provide a solid surface that heavy vehicular traffic can drive on while supplying an area where water can drain naturally into the earth through the voids or holes in the pavers. Traditional paving surfaces do not allow water to infiltrate. With traditional paved surfaces, when it rains, the water flows down to the nearest drainage channel and becomes storm water runoff.
You are probably asking yourself, “Why should I install permeable pavers?” There are several reasons for using permeable pavers. The number one reason is what they can do for the environment and our precious resources. Water is a top issue in Central Oregon and permeable pavers help the environment. They reduce the amount of storm water runoff entering our natural waterways and carrying with it contaminants and pollutants. Flooding and erosion caused by flooding can be reduced. Wouldn’t it be nice if the underpasses in Bend didn’t flood during heavy rainstorms?
There are many types of permeable or pervious pavers systems, such as grid systems made from plastic or concrete, interlocking concrete pavers and porous concrete and asphalt.
In residential landscapes, permeable pavers utilizing a grid system with voids can be used to provide a drivable surface. These pavers are made with voids that can be filled with grass, other vegetation, gravel or mulch to maintain a more natural setting. This works for driveways, additional parking areas for cars or a vehicle lane for fire trucks or other emergency vehicles to travel.
Permeable pavers are also a good choice in the landscape for areas where the ground is sloping and needs stabilizing. Permeable pavers can be used under roof overhangs to help break up the force of water and prevent erosion. Permeable pavers are better for trees and other plantings. It allows rainwater and nutrients to drain into the root systems. This runoff reduces the amount of irrigation required to sustain the plants.
With our winter snows, permeable pavers are a viable option. During the winter months, permeable paving allows precipitation and snow melt to be absorbed, avoiding the potential for refreezing from standing water. In addition, experience suggests that the voids within the permeable paving may contribute to more rapid snow melt due to the warmer earth below.
By using permeable pavers in our landscapes, streets, public areas and parking lots we can protect our environment and our natural resources , water, plants and animals.