More permeable pavers

EDIT 22 Jan 2007

I previously got excited about a nearby manufacturer (under license, I assume) of permeable paving for my driveway. Rather than the integral cells in which one grows turf grass (and which make the pavers more readily subject to breakage), this manufacturer makes a square paver with tabs on each side to provide a variable-width joint: mate a one-tab side to a two -tab side for smaller gap filled with pea gravel; align one-one and two-two for a larger gap in which you can grow something.

In the interest of keeping all options open, here is a list of some other choices.

Netlon - presumably manufactured or distributed under license somewhere in the US.

Decomposed granite - Nature's original permeable paving. Needs yearly? maintenance. Could run afoul of zoning laws requiring a hard surface, but a quick check doesn't turn up a smoking gun.

Poured concrete - Provided that you pour in smallish sections with a gap in between, this is a viable option, though the form making and other preparation work could overwhelm someone doing it themselves.

Interlocking pavers, such as these. These things are typically tightly jointed, so this doesn't allow for vegetation between the pavers. Plus many neighbors have such a system already, making it a bit usual.

Invisible Structures Grasspave - similar to Netlon.

Turf pavers such as these and these and these are the usual go-to materials when talking about permeable paving. They look like they would make wearing high heels a hazard and riding bikes on them could also be problematic.


  1. Please note that the picture of the pavement you show is NOT permeable interlocking pavement - they are traditional interlocking pavers, which are not considered permeable. Permeable interlocking concrete pavers have either wider joints or are specially designed so that when they are installed, openings are created in the surface, which are filled with aggregate, thereby allowing water to filter through.

  2. Point taken. However, I do believe that in Southern California, with its low rainfall, that they can be considered at least semi-permeable. I think that rainfall rates here are not usually high enough to flow over the pavers, but seep down the seams. As a case in point, my neighbor reports that if he hoses off his patio (built of interlocking pavers) that the water "just disappears".

    Of course if one is being very environmentally conscious then it's the infrequent (for S. Ca) but sudden high rainfall that you'll want to sequester on your property to avoid overwhelming the sewer system with run off.

  3. Here's a link to genuine permeable pavers. Willow Creek is not available in CA, but you should be able to find something comparable.

  4. Those are nice pavers! Thanks for the link.