Which Driveways Are Permeable

Permeable driveways in Northampton are designed to allow water to pass through the surface and into the ground below, reducing runoff and contributing to stormwater management. 

Permeable paving has become an attractive option for eco-conscious homeowners and those living in areas with stringent stormwater regulations. Let's explore the types, examples, and even some disadvantages of permeable driveways.

What Are Examples of Permeable Paving?

  1. Permeable Concrete Pavers: These are specially designed pavers with gaps that allow water to filter through. The spaces between the pavers are filled with small stones, enabling water to seep into the ground.
  2. Gravel: A traditional and simple form of permeable paving, gravel driveways allow water to pass through the stones and into the soil below.
  3. Grass-Crete: This is a system where concrete paving blocks are laid with spaces in between for grass to grow, allowing water permeation.
  4. Resin-Bound Surfacing: This is made from stones mixed with resin, creating small voids that allow water to drain through.

What Type of Tarmac Is Permeable?

Permeable tarmac, also known as porous asphalt, is specifically engineered to allow water to pass through. Unlike traditional tarmac, it is mixed with open-graded aggregates that create voids, permitting water to flow through the surface. It offers the look and feel of traditional asphalt but with the added benefit of permeability.

Is a Brick Driveway Permeable?

The permeability of a brick driveway depends on the type of bricks used and the installation method.

  1. Permeable Bricks: These are specially designed with higher porosity, allowing water to flow through the material itself.
  2. Installation Method: Even standard bricks can be laid with wider joints filled with coarse sand or gravel, allowing water to drain between the bricks. This method can create a permeable surface even with traditional brick materials.

What Are Examples of Permeable Paving? 

To reiterate some additional examples of permeable paving:

  1. Porous Concrete: This is specially formulated with fewer fines and no dense top layer, allowing water to penetrate the surface.
  2. Plastic Grid Systems: These are often used to stabilise gravel or grass, creating a drivable surface that remains permeable.
  3. Wooden Planks: Set with spaces between them, wood planking can provide a permeable and attractive driveway surface.

What Is the Disadvantage of Permeable Paving?

While permeable paving offers significant environmental benefits, there are some potential drawbacks:

  1. Maintenance: Permeable surfaces can require more maintenance, such as regular cleaning to prevent the voids from becoming clogged with debris.
  2. Climate Considerations: In areas with severe freezing and thawing cycles, permeable paving can be prone to damage.
  3. Installation Costs: Proper installation to ensure permeability may be more complex and costly than traditional driveway construction.
  4. Load-Bearing Limitations: Some permeable materials may not be suitable for heavy vehicle traffic.

Permeable driveways are an innovative solution for managing stormwater runoff and lessening the impact on local water systems. From permeable concrete pavers to porous asphalt, grass-crete, gravel, and even certain brick installations, there are numerous options to choose from.

However, these benefits come with considerations, including potentially higher maintenance, costs, and consideration of the specific needs and conditions of the location.

 Consulting with a professional who understands permeable driveway design and the local environment can guide homeowners in making a choice that aligns with both ecological goals and practical needs.