As we move into a more sustainable future nationally, homeowners are looking for ways to improve their land use locally. Very locally. As in, in their backyards.
The most helpful impact your property can make on the local environment comes from the proper handling of rainwater. There are a few different things you can do about your property’s runoff and the potential pollutants it carries to our waterways.
A huge reduction in your property’s runoff can be achieved by installing a rain garden. Rain gardens use soil, rocks, and certain plants to capture storm water runoff before it carries pollutants like auto engine oils or heavy metals to the storm drains. Ask at your local nursery about plants for your area that work best in a rain garden. Many townships have volunteer groups that install rain gardens for residents. Check your township’s civil action groups or the local government’s website.
Another low impact environmental solution for residential landscapes is a rain barrel. Rain barrels collect storm water from the roof of your home; the water is used to water plants on the drier days. A rain barrel is a great solution if one of your storm gutters empties out onto your driveway and it would be difficult to shunt that water into a rain garden area.
The largest, most effective way to handle storm water runoff is to install a permeable driveway. A permeable driveway is a paving stone driveway installed with a “permeable paver” system that significantly lessens the amount of what’s called “impervious coverage percentage” on your property. Impervious coverage is any ground usage that prevents rain from being soaked into the soil. Your home, garage, and pool are just a few examples of impervious coverage structures. Many townships now limit the percentage of impervious coverage for each land lot. You may run into some trouble with the impervious coverage ordinance in your township when you want to install a new Hardscape to your backyard. But a permeable driveway can save you some of that trouble.
Our permeable paver systems lay our ECO pavers over a sub-base of larger stone and a setting base of smaller pebbles. Rain seeps down past the pebbles and into the ground. Some of the pollutants are collected by the rocks and then the natural ground water filtration takes care of the rest. The result is a “drainable” driveway that is easy on the environment but is also simple to maintain. Any pavers that become stained or damaged can be quickly replaced by the owner. Snow on permeable coverage driveways can be plowed, blown or shoveled. Permeable driveways made of paving stones are also highly customizable, as pavers come in many shapes, sizes and colors.
EP Henry’s Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement (PICP) systems have 4 different sizes and 6 colors to choose from. ECO Permeable Pavers are part of a system which includes 6-10″ minimum of a larger aggregate sub-base and a 1-2″ bedding layer of crushed stone (#8). No sand is used in this application as that would prevent proper infiltration. Using ASTM test methods, we have seen our ECO Pavers take on storm water at a rate of 577″ per hour. That’s A LOT of water!
If you’re looking to save on your impervious coverage percentage and save the environment, take a look at some of our videos and case studies at www.ephenryecocenter.com.