Via USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service); illustration by Doug Adamson.

Via USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service); illustration by Doug Adamson.

City roads, sidewalks, and lots paved over with impervious surfaces like concrete and asphalt are great for optimizing travel by foot, bikes, or cars. But these man-made surfaces come at a price: they do not allow storm water runoff to penetrate back into the soil and into aquifers, redirecting water flow directly into city storm drains, and in the process carrying pollutants out to the ocean. Impervious surfaces combined with pollutants hinder the hydrologic water cycle, reducing the amount of water that percolates through the soil to recharge groundwater supplies essential to our ecosystem, especially in times of drought.

There are various ways to integrate and reduce impervious surface areas within your own landscapes to help water back into the natural water cycle:

Permeable Interlocking Pavers: Unit pavers with aggregated fill gaps in between the interlocking pavers.

Permeable interlocking pavers installed within a public sidewalk at the City of Burbank, Lake Street. Credit AHBE Landscape Architects, Ackerstone (Manufacturer)

Permeable interlocking pavers installed within a public sidewalk at the City of Burbank, Lake Street. Credit: AHBE Landscape Architects, Ackerstone (Manufacturer)

Pervious Concrete Systems/Grasscrete: Cast-in-place pervious concrete paving that is rated for fire truck loading access

Pervious concrete system installed in a designated fire lane in lieu of traditional concrete or asphalt vehicular paving at Hyundai Headquarters, Fountain Valley. Credit: AHBE Landscape Architects, Photography by Brian Mitchell and Heliphoto

Pervious concrete system installed in a designated fire lane in lieu of traditional concrete or asphalt vehicular paving at Hyundai Headquarters, Fountain Valley. Credit: AHBE Landscape Architects, Photography by Brian Mitchell and Heliphoto

Concrete Unit Pavers with Aggregate Filled Gaps

Brian Mitchell (AHBE Staff) incorporate the use of unit pavers and cobblestone to create an interesting design allowing run off to percolate through the cobblestone gaps.

Brian Mitchell (AHBE Staff) incorporate the use of unit pavers and cobblestone to create an interesting design allowing run off to percolate through the cobblestone gaps.

Ceramic Pervious Pavers: Pervious Pavers by KloroStone allows water to absorb and seep through the pavers itself, but keeping the solids such as debris, and sand to remain on the surface of the pavers.

All of these material solutions can help resurface our city’s infrastructure to operate more like a giant sponge rather than a water wasteful aqueduct, allowing water to be used more efficiently, and reenter the land’s own natural lifecycle rather than be washed out to the ocean.

Comments

One Comment

Post a comment

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Designing a Water Efficient Los Angeles Home, Inside and Out | AHBE LAB

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS