Eco-Friendly Driveways

Eco Friendly Driveways Installer

What do we mean by an Eco Friendly driveway? Actually, there are a number of environmental considerations when designing and installing a new driveway for your property.

Creative Gardens and Driveways provide a full range of driveway solutions and offering customers what they want is at the core of our business. However, we are also here to offer advice and steer customers to the right solution for them and the environment.

So, what do we need to consider when looking at the environmental impact of a domestic driveway?

Drainage

Probably the most obvious place to start. Since the introduction of the SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) legislation in 2010, driveways have either had to be permeable (allow water to percolate through) or if they are non permeable the water must run to a suitable soak away. The rules make perfect sense as permeable surfaces prevent localised flooding from water run off.

The most popular permeable surface for households is gravel (loose, stabilised or resin bound). Permeable block paving and permeable tarmac are not commonly used on domestic driveways for aesthetic and cost reasons.

Traditional (non-permeable) block paving or tarmac installed with a suitable soakaway drainage system provide a more cost effective and visually appealing solution to permeable alternatives of these types of driveway.

However, what is a suitable soak away? In areas where the ground is heavy clay or it’s not possible to site the soak away 5 meters from the house, a soakaway is not a viable solution.

When considering block paving it is worth noting that clay block paving has a lower impact than concrete block paving in terms of CO2 production in manufacturing. Also, clay block paving lasts longer than concrete. I have seen clay block paving that is 30 years old which, after a good clean, looks, literally, as good as new. Block paving has a good lifespan but it does deteriorate after 10 or more years.

Gravel options

Loose, Stabilised or Resin? Loose gravel is a nightmare and we would never install it as a driveway surface, it’s just not practical. Stabilised gravel is a much better option. This robust solution is where loose gravel is installed on honeycomb trays to stop rutting and sinking.

Resin bound gravel is small particles of gravel bound together with a polyurethane resin, the resin bound surface is typically installed on a tarmac base. The sheer quantity of non recyclable plastic packaging materials for resin bound installations is significant and should be considered in terms of environmental impact. The future disposal of the resin driveway when it is replaced is another environmental concern with this type of driveway as it can not be recycled in the same way as concrete or tarmac.

Recycled materials

We love using reclaimed stone for driveways. Even better if it’s already on site as there is no carbon footprint for extraction or transportation. We typically use a combination of natural stone and stabilised gravel to create pleasing effects. Always making sure the design complies with SuDS requirements.

Grass and plants

You can’t park on a lawn or a flower bed! However, even modest driveways should incorporate some green areas that soften the look of your property as well as providing habitat for birds and insects. This is where good design comes in to make the most of the space to create as much of an ecological balance as possible. Our designers always have the environment in mind when designing landscapes for our customers.

Your local environment

Considering the impact of any work on your local area and keeping your neighbours happy should be a top priority. Having any building work done can have a negative impact on your immediate environment in terms of noise, dust, parking and so on. We always try and minimise the impact that we, as installers, have on the local environment. Warning neighbours in advance of work being done and being polite and helpful make such a difference.

Longevity

We think this is the key factor when considering the environmental impact of a driveway. How long will it last? We have seen so many driveways that have not been thought out and installed badly. Most customers will put up with the results for years before finally biting the bullet and paying to have the work done again. Driveways should last upwards of 20 years. Replacing a driveway after a few years has a massive cost to the local and wider environment as well as the cost in financial terms.

No driveway project can be considered environmentally friendly. They all need a proper base which is quarried and delivered on a big lorry. Diggers and other equipment are then delivered and used to create the base. Spoil is removed with a lorry. All of this creates noise, dust and carbon dioxide.

We strive to carefully plan each of our driveway installations so that aesthetics, practicalities, longevity and environmental impact are all fully considered. Care and attention to detail with design and installation as well as working to minimise the disruption we cause are key to maximising satisfaction and reducing the environment impact of what we do.

We can attempt to rank the most popular driveway solutions in terms of the eco credentials.

Stabilised Gravel

  • Great drainage
  • Long lasting
  • Locally used gravel can be used
  • Can easily be altered and repaired

Block paving

  • Can be repaired without replacing whole driveway
  • Long lasting
  • Must be used in conjunction with robust SuDS compliant drainage system
  • High CO2 emissions in transportation and production

Tarmac

  • Long lasting
  • Can not be repaired without replacing whole driveway
  • Must be used in conjunction with robust SuDS compliant drainage system
  • High CO2 emissions in transportation and production

Resin Bound Gravel

  • Good drainage
  • Limited Lifespan
  • Large amount of non recyclable plastic waste produced
  • Driveway surface non recyclable
  • Can not be repaired without replacing whole driveway

From NidaGravel

For delivery in the UK, 1 jumbo pallet of Nidagravel 130 covers 168 sqm, takes up 2 standard pallet spaces, and weighs about 230 kg. It is delivered on a standard rigid vehicle making multiple deliveries in an area. Compare this to standard block paving. 1 pack covers approx 10 sqm and weighs about 1100kg per pack. You would need 17 packs with a combined weight of 18.7 metric tonnes and a dedicated vehicle with crane offload to deliver. Nidagravel does require gravel to fill it, but this will tend to come from more local sources, and gravel has a lower carbon footprint than concrete or tarmac.

From Marshalls

Alice Turner at Marshalls says ‘’While concrete paving may have traditionally produced higher carbon emissions during manufacturing than asphalt, concrete has a unique ability to naturally absorb CO2 over its 50 year service life, locking it away forever in a process known as carbonation. Beyond this, concrete paving offers other sustainable benefits. It’s easier to repair, replace or reuse, and we offer a range of options including different coloured blocks that combat the urban heat island effect, permeable paving for sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDs), and grass guard-style products that promote plant life and biodiversity.’’

‘’Marshalls is continuously investing in improving our energy efficiency, materials and manufacturing processes to create the most sustainable products possible, with recent investment in solar energy and research and development in cement-free and carbon sequestration technologies.’’

Why Choose Creative Gardens & Driveways?

At Creative Gardens & Driveways, we have the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you choose the right driveway surface for your home. Our team of experts with 20 years of experience can provide you with a high-quality installation and on-going maintenance advice.

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