By installing green driveways and pavement you are decreasing the number of times that you have to pay for refinishing or other maintenance work. Green driveways and green pavement have few of the problems associated with existing materials for roads and driveways — you obtain durability and beauty for longer, and that decreases the cost of installation.
Greenmeadow Architects in Palo Alto, California (US phone 650-856-8354), has used 12-inch-square concrete pavers and filled the gaps between the pavers with turf or lawn. Those who drive by see only the green.
Home and Garden TV provides a do-it-yourself approach to building a green driveway.
The optimal version of a green driveway disappears entirely. Some use latticed paving blocks made of concrete. These are planted with grass and gradually disappear under the spreading turf. However, grass dies when you park a vehicle on the grass for hours at a time.
Newer materials are made of plastic and can distribute the load in a way that minimizes the strain on the vegetation. Other interesting ideas involve new ways of working in concrete.
Cement cobblestones? It is possible with Grasscrete, a paving system covered with topsoil and grass. It is hardscape that can withstand just about anything. See The Concrete Network for more information.
This material consists of grids set in gravel and sand, which helps to distribute the weight and prevent killing the vegetation. Materials and installation cost US $4.50 to US $8 a square foot, depending on the soil. In the US call (800) 233-1510 or visit their website.
Geoblock grids are buried two inches into the ground and cost $3 a square foot. These grids usually do not require any gravel or sand for home driveways. Contact the company in the US at (800) 548-3424 or visit their website.
If you live in an area where you have a lot of runoff when it rains, a green driveway can help. Buy Aqua-Loc concrete pavers in any color you prefer. They lock together with small gaps between pavers. Aqua-Loc pavers are installed atop 12 inches of large stone, 4 inches of gravel, and 2 inches of stone chips. The gaps are filled with more chips. When it rains, water seeps between the pavers and runoff is minimized. Aqua-Loc is approximately US $1.75 per square foot for the blocks. Visit their website; in the US call (800) 426-4242.
What is old is new again
If you love cobblestones you can install them as a driveway, but it is laborious and thus expensive. Crews install sets of 25 porphyry cobblestones. The price of the cobblestones is US $16 a square foot, with a minimum order of 1,600 square feet — installation is a separate charge. An installation generally requires mortar and a concrete bed. Visit the Eurocobble website.
E Magazine provides more information and suggestions for green driveways.