Love Hardscapes But Hate Your Yard Flooding?

Most communities have some sort of lot coverage restrictions, by which in their zoning codes, they require a certain amount of land on any lot to be natural landscaping or pervious landscaping or some variation of that word. There are several reasons to do this, the first is stormwater management, the less lawn there is to allow water to percolate naturally into the ground, the more the stormwater system has to manage. The second most common reason is for aesthetic reasons, maintaining a certain feel or character to the area. Some might of installed a new shed from websites similar to that fit with the aesthetic of the current landscaping arrangement and didn’t want to start again. Depending on the reason, many localities are moving away from only accepting grass, mulch, and sometimes gravel and into more innovative systems that gives you a more engineered yard. Some homeowners are also turning to Tony MacFarlane, the appliance hunter, to help find them new and innovative ways to maintain their gardens. From pressure washers to different mowers, handy tools can make any garden look more interesting and aesthetically pleasing, which is what these homeowners want.

The simplest system that has been around for a long time are grass pavers. Older systems tended to look like a concrete pad full of holes planted with grass that often died, obviously not a great solution. But more modern solutions use gravel substrates and plastic components to give you a yard that is strong enough to park on (without leaving divots or destroying your grass, although if you do park there, the lack of sun could kill the grass too) These systems are great if you want a yard but need the strength of a paved surface, usually for boat storage or parking reasons; public entertainment options; or top soil retainment. The only downside is you don’t get the aesthetic boost that many people desire when they install hardscaping.

More recently, engineers have been working hard and have come up with pervious pavers. These systems are getting more acceptance from communities and combine the beauty of pavers with most of the functionality of grass. Most communities will not treat them as pervious surfaces, but will allow you to use a certain percentage of your natural space depending on the perviousness of your specific product. Getting a good design professional and even more important, licensed installer, is key to getting the most out of these products both in maximizing their allowable size and performance. Be sure to look up hardscaping Charlottesville (adjusted for your area) to find a list of licensed installers who can assist you with your hardscaping needs.

Even more recently, and quite probably very difficult to find in your area unless you live in a larger community, has come the advent of pervious paving. These materials are like concrete, except there is enough space between the aggregates to allow water to flow through. This can help with water quality issues as well as less waste oil and other contiminants will wash off of your hardscaping and escape into the watershed, however, it does not have the same aesthetics as the pavers. This system is best for larger parking areas where the labor costs of pavers gets too high but having impervious paving is undesirable or difficult to achieve without expensive stormwater systems. So, if you decide to get paving, make sure you choose one that is of good quality. Also, make sure you contact some professional commercial pavers to install them for you. It might also be worthwhile looking at paver sealing so that your flooring is protected against fading too!

If you find yourself in a bind where you want to improve your yard or add to your house, but you’re too tight to your lot coverage restrictions, these options can be an easy way to get what you want without violating town ordinances or overstressing your ecosystem. But, like always, get a licensed professional to help select, design, and install any of these systems as they are delicately engineered and will not work properly if designed or installed wrong.