Which of these photos shows permeable interlocking concrete paving? Both!
A concrete grid system (left) was once the only permeable option. As municipalities have increased pressure on developers to minimize storm water runoff, a number of attractive permeable pavers like Permea (right) have come on the market. These concrete pavers look like cobblestone, brick, or traditional pavers, but spacers allow water to flow between them, when filled with a fine, clean aggregate.
Much of the flooding in urban and suburban areas is the result of large impermeable areas of asphalt and rooftops. Porous paving options can reduce runoff up to 100% when properly installed and maintained. Other benefits of permeable paving include:
- Reduces construction costs for underground drainage systems
- Qualifies for LEED credits for new construction
- Easy to repair and maintain
- Recharges groundwater rather than dumping to streams and waterways
- Cleans water through biological filtration, removing chemicals and pollutants
- Makes nearby streams safer for wildlife and human enjoyment
- Eliminates puddles, standing water, and icy patches
This short ICPI video presents more detail on the benefits, performance, and applications of permeable pavers.
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This peastone driveway is dressed up by a granite cobble apron. We used a new product, a polymeric stone dust, in the joints of the cobbles. I’m very happy with how it is holding up after the winter, with no wash-out that we would see in such wide joints filled only with stone dust.
The whole drive is permeable, making it a great option for sites needing to offset the impervious area of an addition or new home construction. Permeable paving and use of natural, local, and recycled materials may qualify for LEED/Sustainable Sites credits. The traditional New England materials are also a perfect match for historic architectural styles.
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Sometimes events converge and you have to pay attention. Before Thanksgiving, I met with a local pastor about converting the church lawn into a community garden. She is looking for the perfect piece of art as a focal point. Then there was a thread on The Underground, a local landscape design forum, about outdoor art. Just had to share some of the finds:
Water Cell - Fountain Design: Jay Bearfield; Mosaic Design: Meredith Moore, 2009
- Rock Art Studios – Custom outdoor mosaic art, fountains, and lights. Just went to the launch of this exciting collaboration between Liquid Landscape Designs and Artaic. The beautiful pieces, which included an image of a buddha face inset into a boulder, competed for attention with the nifty robot used to place the mosaic tiles.
- Mad Art Murals – Stoughton Painter Donna Madoff does interior and exterior pieces, including trompe l’oiel, faux finishes, and murals.
- Artisan Iron – Blacksmith Ray Ciemny of Groton, MA creates landscape and garden metal art, beautifully crafted iron gates, arbors and trellises, unique railings, architectural iron work, benches, fire place screens, urban art
Zipper, Christopher Curtis 2006
and much more.
- West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park – This Stowe, VT gallery representing a number of artists features contemporary sculpture in metal and stone.
- George Sherwood – This kinetic sculptor from Ipswich, MA creates shiny metalworks that shimmer and whirl. Check out his work at the Rose Kennedy Greenway (across from Rowe’s Wharf) and Forest Hills Cemetery.
- Madeleine Lord Metalwork – Head to Fort Washington Park in Cambridge to check out this Winchester artist’s cut steel sculptures.
- EarthWorks – Massachusetts stone artist Michael Mazur creates large-scale arches, megaliths, and fountains for the garden.
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