We enjoy working with homeowners who want to use ‘green’, earth-friendly practices in their landscaping. After all, making decisions about land and water use in environmentally responsible ways feels great.
However, we’ve realized that there are some common assumptions about “going green” that are not always on target, particularly with regards to hardscaping. With that in mind, we’re glad to share what we know to help you avoid missteps.
With a little understanding, you can be confident that your results will be in line with your goals for a beautiful, sustainable landscape.
Going Green with Pavers
Without question, pavers are hugely popular for creating patios, pathways, and even driveways.
Hailed as earth-friendly heroes, they’ve moved into the top spot over concrete for two reasons: they’re available in a wide range of beautiful materials, shapes, colors and sizes, and they are marketed as a solution to handle runoff faster and more responsibly than concrete.
This is true if you use the right paver, but often some drainage is still needed.
While they do allow some water through easily, if you really want to guarantee these benefits in your landscape, you must choose a truly permeable paver for the job. Standard pavers are hard packed with sand and compacted gravel beneath them and product inbetween.
Permeable Pavers Pro Tip
To be sure your patio, pathway, or driveway gets the full advantages pavers can offer, choose a product specifically designed to allow gaps and drainage. While pretty versions of these materials used to be few and far between, innovators in the industry are now offering solutions that are beautiful to look at and effective. Locally, we partner with Mutual Materials to offer a variety of Eco-Priora® and Eco-Stone® options that can be laid in attractive patterns for patios, driveways, and pathways.
Hardscaping and Lawn Loss
Replacing turf lawn with hardscaping is another trend where it’s easy to get tripped up. Hardscaping is dramatic, beautiful, visually interesting, and requires less water use and less maintenance that keeping a lawn. It’s easy to assume that getting rid of the lawn is the right answer.
On the other hand, as more and more property owners are replacing trees and grass with hardscaping on the West Coast, it’s becoming clear that lawns have significant earth-friendly advantages of their own.
Green spaces and trees absorb heat and clean the air with their intake of carbon monoxide, two of the primary reasons the Pacific Northwest enjoys such high air quality and a temperate climate. Foot for foot, a healthy lawn will outperform even an eco-friendly paver patio with superior drainage and its clean water benefits.
Lawn Loss Pro Tip
Plan for balance, not elimination. Even a small yard can be designed to keep a percentage of everything: lawn, beds, plantings, and hardscaping.
Remember that nearly every element of your residential or commercial landscape can be designed with environmental responsibility in mind. Our expert team loves working with home and business owners to use the best practices available.