While brainstorming creative stormwater solutions, ‘paving’ may not rise to the top of the list for most apartment or condominium managers, but maybe it should. Today’s innovative architects, engineers, designers and green-product manufacturers have been colluding again to great advantage. Durable, pervious and gorgeous alternatives are available in lieu of out-dated ‘Annie Asphalt’ solutions. Stormwater management is serious business for most states and particularly urban areas as businesses, citizens and farmers compete for water resources. When stormwater is properly handled, it becomes available for irrigation and replenishes ground water and recharges aquifers. It can also reduce demand on over-extended sewer systems.
Many urban apartment buildings can look stark. Attempts to soften a cement entryway with a palm or a fern spilling out of a doorway planter can help, but pervious paving has the potential to enhance and update a building’s curb appeal. It can also replace those walkways improperly graded when installed or prevent erosion from the runoff they create. Spending money wisely here can solve a storm water problem and attract tenants.
One of my favorites on both appeal and function is a product known as “Drivable Grass”, which can be used for boat launches, private walkways, parking areas, overflow parking, emergency vehicle parking, etc. It is manufactured, distributed and installed by Soil Retention Systems, Inc.(SRS) of Carlsbad, California. I corresponded with their sales manager, Jim Engelke, who is a member of ASLA and a LEEP AP as well. Incidentally, Jim advised me that their products are available nationally to anyone who wants them either through a distributor, or if the territory isn’t covered, SRS will sell direct.
Designed as a flexible matting system, porous grids are planted with a ground cover between the cement ‘pavers’ where a contractor would normally place grout. (continue reading)