Imagine arriving home and walking up to your front door after a long day. We more often than not pay little attention to the material we use to construct our driveway. However, the driveway and footpath leading up to your door is the true entrance to your home. When deciding on what material to use for paving your driveway, usually asphalt and concrete are the first materials that might occur to you.
When venturing into selecting a paving material, however, there are so many more options available to choose from. A highlight of the annual Philadelphia Flower Show 2021 this year was ecological landscape design with sustainable materials such as permeable driveway pavers made of Black Locust wood.
Wait a minute. Did you say wood? The surprisingly durable and innovative hardscape choice among landscape architects is permeable wood paving. We gathered 3+1 reasons why homeowners are catching on to the architectural and landscape design trends of turning toward wood paving materials.
Black Locust hardwood permeable pavers surface is softer and cooler on the feet compared to concrete. Philadelphia Flower Show 2021 Refugia Design & Black Locust Lumber exhibit
1. Achieve durability with the right type of wood
You might be doubting the durability of wood paving, and with reason. The secret of success is picking the right type of wood material for paving. Doing your research on the subject is crucial. Not all types of wood are suitable for outdoor paving, oak for example will result in early decay. Non-tropical Black Locust hardwood has a natural life span of over 50 years. Black Locust is a type of wood material that belongs in exteriors due to its longevity. The wood has rot-resistant and anti-fungal properties without the help of any toxic chemicals, thus it is a sustainable material.
2. Surface strength able to bear pressure
Surprisingly the small permeable wood paver blocks made of Black Locust provide a highly durable surface that will last for decades. How do you measure the strength of a surface? The metric pounds per square inch (PSI) determines the compressive strength of materials, which makes it easy to compare surface strength. Concrete pavers have a compressive strength of about 2500 PSI, while Black Locust wood exceeds 10.180 PSI. This means it is strong enough to bear the pressure of a 60-ton crane, making it suitable for everyday driveway usage.
3. Beautiful appearance: wood is nature in its purity
Above all, an obvious reason why both landscape architects and homeowners choose wood as a hardscape permeable paver material is due to the beauty of the wood itself. Concrete, brick or rubber can never compete against the natural aesthetics of wood. And how long will the appearance last? Black Locust is a perfect type of wood for exterior use. It requires minimal maintenance and no toxic oils or chemicals are necessary to preserve its natural beauty. Left natural, Black Locust pavers will develop a silvery-gray patina due to exposure to the natural environment. However, the silvery color has no effect on the durability of the paving system.
+1 Easy pavers installation for homeowners
As a homeowner ease of installation is a bonus feature when deciding on a paving system. Permeable Proflow Pavers™ come in setts made up of several Black Locust blocks attached to a recycled wire mesh. The modular design makes it possible to lay the panels next to each other over large areas. Quick and simple installation finished off with a joint mortar reduces labor costs and time.
We are thriving for a more sustainable future and the architectural world is turning towards natural solutions. Homeowners are catching on and incorporating global trends into their residential projects. Wood reminds us of simpler, more natural times and it deserves to be the highlight of your next landscaping project. It is crucial to select the right type of wood that can withstand weathering and effects of the natural environment. Doing so will not only result in a beautiful and impressive driveway but will also be considerate of the environment and your ecological footprint.
Stubby D. Warmbold is Black Locust lumber specialist and developer of ProFlow Permeable Pavers™, a sustainable wood paving system, that has elevated projects such as Google and Facebook Headquarters.