There are a number of fairly common techniques available that allow grass to be
incorporated into a pavement to provide 'the best of both worlds', ie, the appearance of
grass but the load bearing capability of a well-constructed pavement or driveway. They can
be utilised in those areas where the hard permanence of a typical pavement might be
undesirable, such as in conservation areas, roadside verges, emergency services access,
canal towpaths, farm tracks or rural settings, and they are also used for erosion control in
some situations, although the specification and type of system(s) used can be completely
different to that outlined below.
Different proprietary systems provide varying ratios of hard-pavement to grass, and the best
system for any given project will need to take into account these differences. Some systems
can only be installed by specialist contractors, while others can be installed by competent
workmen or even diy-ers. It should also be noted that special grasses ought to be selected
for planting the various systems, as most ordinary seed mixtures are unlikely to be
sufficiently hard-wearing to withstand being trafficked. A few suggested seed mixtures are
given further down the page.
All these techniques rely on a sub-base to give the paving its strength, although the types of
sub-base recommended will vary with type of system chosen, existing ground conditions,
and anticipated usage. A typical construction detail for each technique is given below.
This is the simplest of the 4 techniques, and
utilises readily-available, plain rectangular
concrete paviors, laid to a pattern that
leaves significant 'holes' or 'pockets' that
are filled with soil and seeded.
This technique can be used for residential
driveways, or in the garden. For path use in
a garden with reasonably firm and stable
soils, the sub-base can be omitted, but be
prepared for the bricks to move.
A Hopsack pattern created
from standard 100x200mm
block pavers, giving
50x50mm pockets for soil.
Any rectangular blocks can be used to create a hop-sack pattern resulting in varying sizes of
'pockets' in the finished pavement. The edges of a hopsack pavement sill need to be solid,
either against an existing sound structure, such as a wall, or with an edging unit or soldier
course laid on concrete, as described on the Block Paving Page.
large vans, may need 150mm thickness. For
trackways, car-parking areas etc., consult a
paving contractor or civil engineer for
or soil/sand loam, and compacted as for normal block paving. It's worth spending a few
quid, if necessary, to get a decent planting medium, as the grasses will have only this small
pocket of soil to survive upon for the next few years. The soil in the pockets can be seeded
immediately with the selected grass mixture, although the soil will settle over the ensuing
weeks and may need 'topping-up', or it can be left to settle for 4-6 weeks and topped-up
prior to seeding.
The relatively small proportion of grass to
each square metre of this type of grass
paving make it less reliable than other
techniques, and there is a tendency for the
grass to die off within a couple of seasons,
but it does have its uses, and, if fed with a
liquid fertiliser and watered in dry weather,
it can look quite attractive in the right
This technique again relies on commonly
available block paviors, that are laid on a
prepared sub-base and bedding layer, with
'spacers' between adjacent blocks giving a
wide, but consistent, joint, that is then filled
with the selected soil prior to seeding.
Different manufacturers have different
proprietary systems, but they all utilise a
square or rectangular 'standard' block with
some form of spacer, often plastic,
approximately 30-45mm wide. The number
of spacers per block is determined by
intended usage (more spacers used on
trafficked areas) and type of block. Full
instructions will be supplied by the
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