Permeable Landscaping Surfaces in Urban Development

landscaping permeable surfacesThe use of permeable landscaping surfaces in urban development is important. It alters the overall effect on the environment of architectural structures. Permeable surfaces reduce rainfall runoff and recharge groundwater reserves. As a result, the use of permeable surfaces should be a priority among landscape architects.

The properties of the materials used have a direct correlation to their impact on storm water, ground water, wastewater management and water supply. Surface contaminants in water that passes through permeable landscaping surfaces are filtered out before the water returns to the groundwater table. Conversely, such contamination is not filtered out of rainfall that is diverted from non-porous concrete or asphalt surfaces into storm drain systems. 

The direct environmental impact has long lasting results on above the ground as well. Reducing surface runoff reduces surface erosion and damage to urban structures as well. Surfaces that are not water-permeable erode quickly.  There is also a significant amount of damage which is caused in areas where weathering has more impact. 

Water that is in contact with impervious surfaces has a tendency to hold heat. This leads to elevated water temperature, contributing to the Urban Heat Island effect. Allowing water to pass through into the groundwater table helps to alleviate this concern. 

Working with permeable landscape surfaces relies on finding materials that are compatible the surrounding environment. Landscape architects can incorporate additional vegetation and soils to increase a property’s water permeability. They can also limit the impact of hardscapes by using water-permeable materials such as gravel, mulch and stabilized aggregate pathways.

Organic-Lock stabilized aggregates can offer increased water-permeability to hardscapes while providing the strength needed for foot pathways, as well as light and heavy vehicular traffic. In addition to its water-permeability it is also 100% organic and deters weeds and insects.