Before we get started on the importance of permeable interlock pavers lets get a couple definitions out of the way. First off, storm water runoff is the result of impervious pavers and is classified as melt and rain water that fails to seep into the ground, instead running across the surface, leading to pooling, flooding, and potentially erosion.  The reason storm water run-off is such an obstacle for homeowners and business owners in Toronto, is due to the fact that the Greater Toronto Area is primarily constructed of hard materials, so pooling and flooding as well as erosion can be serious problems if a storm drain is inaccessible or overflowing.

Heated permeable walkway. Design and construction by GTALANDSCAPING.COM


Custom landscaping, permeable driveway with Unilock turfstone, steel retaining walls, raw concrete porch, custom modern home…by GTALANDSCAPING.COM

 

That being said this obstacle or problem can be avoided and prevented with permeable pavers when designing landscaping. These special pavers allow for rainwater to percolate between the designed holes and cracks between them so that it reaches the ground before it “runs off”. These pavers help the environment too because with a fast and easy drainage solution like this, it minimizes the exposure to pollutants picked up by the water before entering the ground.

Modern driveway

Permeable interlock pavers provide the same function as normal pavers, durable, aesthetically pleasing and load bearing. Permeable pavers are laid overtop of a crushed granular base that has some storage capabilities before it drains into the ground and away from the site. Permeable pavers don’t always have to be interlocking, recent innovations in porous asphalt and concrete have allowed for huge advancements in drainage technology. That being said, traditional interlocking pavers for landscaping have been redesigned for this purpose, including pavers that utilize grass in between them as their drainage systems.

Beautiful permeable driveway. Oaks Enviro Midori

The reason you should consider installing permeable pavers for your outdoor landscaping are:

  • Reduces transportation of pollution because of fast percolation
  • Reduces the amount of water running off your property preventing flooding, erosion, and pooling
  • Increases rate of groundwater recharge, meaning surface water reaches the groundwater faster and more efficiently, thereby speeding up the hydrologic process.
  • Increase amount of green area and therefore aesthetics with grass between pavers, rather than traditional %100 pavement

Permeable interlock pavers are so applicable throughout Toronto’s outdoor landscaping because while it increase drainage efficiency off a site, it does not require any additional land or surface area to do so. So dense urban metropolises like Toronto can utilize these permeable pavers throughout the landscaping without sacrificing space, aesthetics, or money. Furthermore permeable pavers are not just restricted to warm climates where frost isn’t an issue. Landscaping, with proper design that is, can easily utilize permeable pavers by using traditional techniques to avoid frost heave, therefore being able to be implemented throughout landscaping in Toronto and the surrounding area.

Permeable paver installation diagram

Some drawbacks of permeable pavers are small but cannot be overlooked. For example, debris, sand, and dirt that are brought to the paver surface by the water can frequently clog permeable pavers, due to their porous nature. Furthermore salting in the winter can cause clogging, meaning all season maintenance is required, roughly 2-3 times per year. For maintenance use a vacuum sweeper to suck up any residual debris left by the water across the surface of the pavers. Note, a power washer will not work, as the water will immediately bring the debris back into the porous holes of the pavers. Permeable pavers also have a slope limitation, as they can only be implemented or installed on slopes %5 or less or on high traffic areas, as they do not have the same load bearing capacity as traditional pavers.

Green driveway. Permeable


The cost of permeable pavers, as with everything that saves you money in long term, has higher installation costs. Permeable interlock pavers construction costs could be up to %50 more than traditional paver implementation expenses. That being said, these porous pavers reduce the need for drainage pipe, or perforated pipe installation and reduce the amount of landscape area for storm water regulation and storage.

In conclusion, permeable pavers area ideal substitutes for standard conventional pavers because while installation costs are a bit higher then effect on the environment as well as money saved long term highly outweighs the negatives of this type of product. While diversity in style may not be as wide as with traditional pavers, the avoidance of flooding, pooling or erosion are justified by the function and services they provide.

GTA Landscaping is a premier landscaping company in Toronto with excellent online reviews. We are certified members of Landscape Ontario operating at the highest professional standards.  We provide landscaping services to Toronto, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and the surrounding GTA area.