Reducing Hardscapes

In sub-urban and urban environments where hardscapes such as driveways, patios, concrete paths and parking lots abound, stormwater sheds off of these impervious surfaces, gathering volume and velocity as it heads for the storm drains. This pattern dehydrates soils that would otherwise be receiving this water, and contributes to downstream flooding and contamination by pollutants like gas, oil and heavy metals. In cities like Portland, Tuscon and San Francisco, sidewalks and parking lots are being altered to allow greater infiltration through vegetated swales and infiltration basins and permeable paving. 

What can we do to follow this new trend? Look to our own hardscapes and use the same creative means.

Permeable Paving

Water is allowed to infiltrate into the ground
Driveways, patios and parking lots can be pulled up and replaced with permeable pavers that slow the runoff of stormwater and allow a large percentage of it to percolate down between the pavers into the soil.

Planted Infiltration Basins 

Runoff is directed to a newly planted tree
Paved surfaces can be designed or altered to direct stormwater runoff into infiltration basins planted with trees. Micro-organisms and root systems in the soil act as filters and clean stormwater as it travels down through the soil.

Vegetated Swales

Parking lot runoff is captured and filtered