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Green Walkways Courtesy of Turfstone Pavers

Honeycomb Pavers
Honeycomb Pavers

Green Walkways Courtesy of Turfstone Pavers

Exterior renovationsGreen Walkways Courtesy of Turfstone Pavers

Learn all about turfstone pavers, an eco-friendly and modern solution for your landscaping needs. Whether made of concrete or recycled plastic, these permeable pavers, which were inspired by European innovations, can transform any and all outdoor spaces into genuine works of art. Turfstone pavers make for a sustainable alternative to traditional paving methods, allowing water to seep right through, nourishing the ground. Furthermore, these pavers are super easy to install and are retailed at an affordable price.

Why Use Honeycomb Pavers?

Turfstone Pavers: A Permeable Solution

Chances are, you’ve heard about dry soil conditions, resulting from too many asphalt surfaces. Most often, asphalt surfaces reserved for vehicle parking are the culprits behind heat islands.

The reasoning is rather simple: asphalt parking areas absorb 80-90% of the sun’s rays and account for one-third of all urban surfaces. Here’s why a lot more municipalities are pushing homeowners towards using eco-friendly turfstone pavers as a perfect driveway choice.

Benefits: 

  • Hard ground for vehicles to park

  • Additional green spaces

Turfstone pavers aren’t deemed "green," ecological products solely for their shape or durability, but also on account of their composition.

Eco-Friendly Aspect of Grass Grids

Turfstone pavers are retailed in a wide array of materials, and some are even issued from recyclable substances: 

  • Recycled plastic

  • Recycled rubber

  • Concrete

Eco-friendly pavers have several environmental benefits besides their water-filtering abilities. The plants growing in between the grids will:

  • percolate and evaporate water;

  • freshen up the surroundings; and

  • collect dust and pollutants.

As a matter of fact, the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire du Québec (Saint-Hyacinthe campus) determined that if a rainy day is followed by a sunny one, the temperature difference reported between that of an eco-friendly paver and another type of paver is 12°C.

Therefore, there’s a genuine air conditioning factor happening. The only hitch is it may be difficult to add greenery over spaces with vehicular traffic, given the shade generated by the car and constant foot traffic inhibiting plant growth. 

Materials Used for Turfstone Pavers

Green Pavers: A Durable Choice

A material is deemed durable when it can carry out its intended function for more than 25 years under normal wear and tear conditions. This statement accurately describes turfstone pavers.

The first parking spaces designed with honeycomb pavers in Quebec date back nearly 20 years, and are still here, to this day. 

Concrete Honeycomb Pavers: Stability and Aesthetics

Concrete is the perfect material to withstand harsh urban conditions. Even under heavy loads, it can maintain its structural integrity while proposing the following:

  • Diverse patterns

  • Numerous colours

  • Range of products

Courtesy of concrete pavers, you can plan your driveway’s configuration, choose the filling material (bark, gravel, grass, moss), and the colour scheme, which makes for one-of-a-kind parking spots. 

Plastic Honeycomb Pavers: Lightweight and Easy to Install

Yes, plastic honeycomb pavers are lightweight, and thus easy to install. However, make sure there’s proper drainage. Otherwise, when freeze sets in, it may obstruct the grids, which snow ploughs may later rip out of the ground. 

As such, to install honeycomb pavers properly, you must use: 

  • 12 to 18 inches of compacted 1 ¾ gravel;

  • the right soil in the honeycomb grids; and

  • sow seeds or plant greenery suited for the space in question.

As for the last point, we will circle back to which plants can survive the harsh living conditions made available by honeycomb pavers. 

Choosing Turfstone Pavers Based on Intended Use

Driveway Pavers: Robust and Permeable

The sheer resilience and permeability of concrete pavers or plastic honeycomb grids isn’t where it ends. To maximize the effects of permeability, a bedding layer must be installed as you would when laying paving stones.

The bedding layer can also include traditional materials such as sand, concrete, and lime, renowned for their unique, or shared, filtering, absorption, or desorption capacities. Other materials can be used too, such as the following: 

  • Organic substances (sod, pine bark extract, compost, sawdust)

  • Activated carbon (activated lignite, exfoliated graphite, green waste ashes)

  • Carbonates (mussel shells, bone meal, crab shells)

  • And more

The purpose of using organic substances? Limit the flow of runoff water by 76-84%, but also limit pollutants drained yearly via rainfall (from 57-100%) for pollutants like suspended solids, copper, or DEHP (part of the chemical family known as phthalates).

Garden Pavers: Aesthetic and Functional

Instead of having a tar patch in front of your garage, use concrete honeycomb pavers or plastic pavers to create your own little green spread. While the growth process of grass may be hindered in overcast areas, on account of nearby vehicles, and motor-generated heat, moss just isn't as affected by such factors.

To highlight the aesthetic side of green pavers, Permacon paired up with Aux Aubépines, a company operating in horticulture, to design the perfect green spaces.

As such, resulting from their partnership, we have come to realize that one can plant greenery with the characteristics listed below inside concrete pavers or plastic honeycombs. Plants needing:

  • little water;

  • little fertilizer; or

  • hardy perennials.

Both companies were able to design colourful and textured floral arrangements, made with dwarf clovers, Breckland thyme, or even combination that are typically intended for sports fields. They also determined the best type of foundation, ensuring the durability of the greenery planted.

Consequently, choosing honeycomb pavers is a step in the right direction. Industry professionals are well-versed in the matter and will be able to advise you accordingly. For example, note that the soil used for green pavers dries out faster than in any other green space. As such, remember to water your setup regularly during the summertime.  

Installation: How to Install Turfstone Pavers

Step 1: Prep Your PPE

Personal protective equipment is a must: 

  • Work boots

  • Handling gloves

  • Work pants

  • Safety glasses 

  • Hearing protection device

  • Hard hat

Step 2: Prepare the Layout's Base

To do so, get ahold of: 

  • Geotextile membrane(s)

  • Untreated, porous granular material

  • Stakes and string line

  • Rake

  • 6-foot ruler (2 m)

  • Vibrating plate

  • Level tool

Remove 6-8 inches deep (15-20 cm) of soil to make the base. As for drainage, make sure there's a 2% slope in place. With the stakes and string line, align the edges of your base.

Step 3: Lay the Geotextile Membrane and Cover with Granular Material

Our advice: the geotextile membranes should be covered by 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) of gravel. Add the granular material atop the geotextile membrane, compacting it using a vibrating plate afterwards.

Once the surface has been compacted, remember to lay your levelling tool on the ground, ensuring there’s a 2% slope.

Step 4: Align the Edges and Drainage Perimeter

To complete this step, you will need the following:

  • Fresh concrete

  • Trowel

  • Non-marking rubber mallet

  • Level

  • Edge restraints

As for the drainage part of it, get yourself:

  • Aggregate sized for the intended drainage space

  • Geotextile membrane(s)

Lay a 2- to 4-inch (5-10 cm) layer of fresh bedding. Install the edging and secure them into place using a non-marking rubber mallet. The goal here is to line up the edging according to the stake and line.  

Before tackling the perimeter drainage, finish the base layer using a roller or a manual compacting tool. 

On the outer part of the edging, lay geotextile membranes, then spread a layer of aggregate suited to surface drainage, then cover everything with soil.

Step 5: Prepare the Bedding Sand Surface

A bedding surface is made using the following: 

  • 0/4 or 0/6.3 sand or 2/4, 4/6.3, or 2/6.3 gravel

  • Geotextile membrane(s)

  • Stakes and string line

  • Measuring sticks

  • Trowel

  • 6-foot ruler (2 m)

  • Level

Adding a new geotextile membrane will prevent sand from mixing with the base material. Using measuring sticks will allow you to manage the height of the installation sand bed. Once everything is in place, you can add the sand. To ensure the surface is flat, run a ruler over the surface, ensuring the bedding is 1 ¼-inches (3 cm) high.

Remember to monitor the bedding slope, ensuring it still has a 2% slope.  

Step 6: Install the Pavers

The installation can be: 

  • mechanically done; or

  • manually done.

Mechanically laying pavers is done using a pave grab, and it’s the simplest and most efficient way to carry out your project. Start by laying the pavers closest to the machine to ease the process. Make sure your pavers are aligned correctly every 16 feet or so (5 m). Should you need to cut or trim your stones, use an angle grinder.

Should you not have access to said equipment, you can lay your pavers manually. However, plan for a 2-4 mm joint between each paver.

You can also plan on using 2/4, 2/5, or 2/6 crushed gravel, maybe even soil.

Where to Buy? Quebec’s Green Paver Market

Flagship Products: Permacon and Other Well-Known Brands

Les Dalles Vertes is a company specializing in permeable, eco-friendly pavers. In fact, said company is known for its expertise in the matter throughout Quebec’s metropolitan area.  

They retail landscaping options made entirely with recycled plastic to drain runoff water and filter pollutants.  

Permacon is another industry reference when it comes to turfstone pavers. Said company, which we mentioned earlier, alongside Aux Aubépines, a horticulture business, retails several different types of paving stones and pavers. For example, stunning grass pavers made specifically with outdoor green spaces in mind, vehicle parking zone pavers, or Zen pavers. Said products are basically grids found between pavers, allowing plants to grow in 40 mm gaps.

What's the Cost of Permeable Pavers? Is It Pricey?

At Permacon, one can purchase grass pavers for $10.96/sq. ft. Said price point can be as low as $8/sq. ft. at other retailers, such as Maçonnerie Dépôt in Gatineau or Maçonnex.  

Interested in learning more about pavers? Take a look at these articles:


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Last modified 2024-06-11

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