Permeable Paver Driveways: Beautiful in Form and Function

Pavers: Subterra Stone®
Pavers: Eco Dublin®

The use of permeable pavers in driveway construction is growing exponentially across the country, particularly in areas with water use restrictions or strict stormwater management guidelines. Not only do permeable pavers boost your curb appeal, they also positively impact the environment by decreasing stormwater runoff and improving the water quality of local waterways.

Pavers: Aqualine™ Series

How, you ask? It’s ingeniously simple, actually. Permeable pavers are installed over a gradient bed of aggregate, with tiny aggregate filling the joints between each paver. As rainwater falls onto the pavers (or drains onto the pavers from another surface), the water percolates through the paver joints and down through the base materials below. There, the water is filtered by the aggregates, removing a number of pollutants before the water makes it’s way into the groundwater supply or returns to local waterways. The rising trend is to incorporate an underground cistern with a pump under the paver system so that the filtered water can be captured and recycled. A number of states and municipalities offer grants or tax incentives for these types of rainwater harvesting systems. The recycled water can be used for irrigation, water features, or other greywater uses.

Subterra Stone® improved the safety of this steep driveway.

Constructing a driveway with permeable pavers can also provide a number of other solutions for homeowners. For example, for steep driveways, permeable paver construction is safer during rainy weather conditions than traditional impervious surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, because rain can permeate through pavers instead of pooling on the surface, thus improving traction.

Illustration of heated paver installation.

In areas prone to heavy snow, a heating system can also be installed under the sand base of the pavers so that snow or icy rain immediately melts and drains away, eliminating snow shoveling or ice accumulation. The sand acts as a buffer between the pavers and the coils, preventing damage from any shifting caused by automotive traffic.

Creating Interesting Driveways with Paver Patterns

If you’re looking for a way to create unique curb appeal for your home, a paver driveway can present endless opportunities to add flair and individual personality to the entrance of your home through the use of various color combinations and laying patterns. This week’s blog will illustrate a few ideas for creating eye-catching driveway designs with paver patterns.

Bergerac Fan Design The intricate fantail design above was created using the hand-cobbled look of Bergerac® pavers and adds a whimsical touch to this elegant driveway.

Belgard 2010 ~ Northfield Minnesota & Wisconsin

Contrasting colors of Urbana® Stone pavers were used to create a contemporary design of interlocking geometric shapes for the parking pad of the driveway above, as well as add a striking border to both the drive and garden bed.

Mega Bergerac Angles

Contrasting patterns of Mega-Bergerac® pavers add interesting detail to the driveway above. The main field of the driveway utilized a four-piece random pattern laid at a 45 degree angle. The border was created by laying only the rectangular piece in a double soldiers course.

Natural Look Mega ArbelFor the above driveway, irregular-shaped Mega-Arbel® pavers were used to create a natural flagstone look that seamlessly coordinates with the surrounding picturesque landscape. To add a tailored feel, the pavers were edged with stamped concrete stained in a contrasting color.

Belgard Hardscapes 2009 Photography

Different paver products can also be combined to create visual interest or coordinate with architectural detail. For the above driveway, Mega Lafitt™ pavers offer a cut stone texture and were chosen for the main field in a color that mimics the stone veneer of the home. A contrasting color of Urbana® Stone creates a striking border and mimics the color of the brick.

How to Make a Grand Entrance

JWLDublinCeltic004
This tiered walkway was created using a combination of pavers and wall products. The classic smooth Dublin Cobble® pavers were laid in one pattern and edged with another to provide a subtle contrast. Celtik® Wall was used to build flower boxes and add a European look to the step edging.

As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. From the moment guests pull up to your driveway, they begin to get a sense of your personality. The colors, textures, and materials you choose for your landscaping, driveway, and front walk can express as much about you as the architecture of your home.

When it comes to making a grand entrance to your home, there are a number of factors to consider.

Longevity

Pavers are definitely the way to go if you want a look that’s going to last. Concrete and asphalt will crack over time due to pressure and settling. With a paver drive or walkway, the physics are different, and cracking is rare. However, if a single paver does crack, you can replace it without issue. Once a concrete or asphalt driveway cracks, you’re stuck with unsightly blemishes that continue to worsen, even if you patch them, unless you break up and re-pour an entire section — a costly process that is both labor and time-intensive, and still looks out of place.

You should also consider longevity when designing the landscaping for your entrance. Even if you’re the type of person who likes to see new colors and textures in your yard with each season, you will want some perennials, trees, and bushes that will remain constant to give your yard a mature look. Before planting these, make sure to know the typical growth patterns for these plants for your climate and sunlight patterns. Otherwise, you’ll end up having to spend a lot of time digging up and moving plants that grew in an unexpected way.

Creativity

 Pavers can be hand-cut to create serpentine paths or add geometric shapes and designs. A circle of Cambridge Cobble was added to the design of this Old World paver driveway to create a grand entrance that begins at the property gate.
Pavers can be hand-cut to create serpentine paths or add geometric shapes and designs. A circle of Cambridge Cobble® was added to the design of this Old World Paver™ driveway to create a grand entrance that begins at the property gate.

This is the fun part. Whether you prefer a classic look, contemporary lines, or old-world country charm, don’t be afraid to get creative. A popular trend today is the multidimensional garden. Layer your garden with rows of plants that will grow to different heights, with taller bushes to the back and smaller colorful plants towards the front. You can also add dimension with retaining wall block that can be used to create plant boxes, vertical gardens, pillars, and tiered walkways.

Consider the pattern integration of your design, as well. Just as you can integrate patterns into your garden with plant colors and textures, you can also create patterns with your hardscapes. Pattern integration can be simple, such as trimming a walkway with a different color paver, or by alternating paved sections. Or, the pattern can be a complex design of swirls or shapes inside the paved area.

This Subterra permeable paver driveway not only creates a sophisticated entrance to the stately colonial brick home, it quickly drains water ensuring the safety of the steep drive in the heaviest of rainfalls.
This Subterra® Stone permeable paver driveway not only creates a sophisticated entrance to the stately colonial brick home, it quickly drains water, ensuring the safety of the steep drive in the heaviest of rainfalls.

Sustainability

If environmental consciousness is a priority, grand entrances can include a variety of environmental options, including the use of permeable pavers. Permeable pavers come in a array of colors and styles that help reduce pollution and stormwater runoff. A permeable paver system can even be designed to capture stormwater to reuse for garden irrigation.