December 18, 2012 at 3:30 am #155855
Hi, My project is to construct a small residential parking area using a pervious surface, possibly w/ some kind of concrete blocks/pavers/re-used waste conc or stone fragments, etc. My main challenge is to pick a good plant/groundcover for the area of work. This area has low, low sun (lots of tall tress around) and the climate is for the Atlanta, GA area. The soil is probably not too great either.
Currently, about the only thing that likes to grow in this spot seems to be a nice Moss. I would love to use this, but don’t know how it would fair with tire traffic (not too much, though) & being covered with a vehicle for long periods of time.
Is the moss a good solution? Or is there some other way to go? Thanks.December 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm #155874
Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
The idea is to drive on the vegetation????December 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm #155873
It’s for a driveway at a sgl family house. It will only be about 400sf & will be parked on, rolelr across or walked on from time-tot- time.December 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm #155872
Fake grass. For between the pavers, is that what you are looking for? I like the fake grass. good quality stuff, not like carpet from Home depot..December 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm #155871
There sure are a lot of really helpful people on this website. I thought I’d hear from some professionals – guess not. Sorry to ‘inconvenience’ anyone for making them feel compelled to reply with blather.December 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm #155870
If it’s a front-load garage (or doesn’t have a “court”), maybe you can get away with tire strips to direct and properly support vehicular traffic, then use your fragments to loosely define the outer boundaries of the driveway and support pedestrian traffic (making sure at least some of your fragments are large enough (2-3′) to act as stepping stones). Cars and trucks on paved strips, pedestrians on the fragments, and plants in the leftover spaces. Without knowing details like what type/depth of base you’re using and whether or not you plan on adding soil and how you’d try to keep it there, it’s hard to say what might happen with plants. Try some of these: http://www.stepables.com/1/plants.html
What sort of neighborhood (if any) is the setting for this project? It’s not going to be easy to make this look good, especially in a suburb of cookie-cutter homes and lots, but I do think it’s possible…December 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm #155869
There are all sorts of people on this site…. and TraceOne’s reply was not off the mark or frivolous.
Do not think that there is a plant for every condition. You have proposed a difficult challenge which will not easily succeed. You probably cannot make this work.
Trace One’s reply acknowledged that.December 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm #155868
Thanks Mr. Halpern – have we lost the revolution of the sixties (Martha Schwartz, minimalism..), which allowed hardscapes of all sorts? Where I live, part time, the driveway pavers/ fake grass is big. It saves water! That can be extremely important! I do not get the insistence that landscape is only plants. Ah, the conservatisim of the young! So boring.December 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm #155867
Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
You could use an open block type paving system like terfstone or Hastings Checker Block that supports the tires and allows vegetation, typically turf in the voids.
The theory is good, but what I have seen happen is that debris and vegetative growth builds up and soon the voids are getting the pressure from the tires and the soil becomes compacted and/or the vegetative growth goes beyond the protection of the voids and is destroyed by wear. The compaction not only inhibits the plant growth, but often negates the original goal of free drainage within the parking area as well.
Adding shade to the mix is going to further reduce the plant choices available to you.
I think Phil is putting you on a good track which would be to solidly pave your “wagon wheel” tracks and make the area under the cars and next to them porous to take the runoff and be planted without the plants taking wear or compaction.December 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm #155866
Yes, the shade and the existence of moss now tells us something of the conditions. Not promising. For something like this to look good the growing conditions ought to be excellent not marginalDecember 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm #155865
Propose a nice gravel pad without defined edges, and throw in grass seed or allow the moss to grow where it wants.
Simple and nearly maintenance free.December 19, 2012 at 12:34 am #155864
Thanks for the info. The compaction should not be a real problem as there will only be tires rolling over the surface maybe once a month – this is more of an adjacent area that needs some ‘love’.
I do agree that the shade issue causes trouble…but, moss seems to be the only vegetation that endures in that spot.December 19, 2012 at 4:37 am #155863
Maybe some sort of low growing violet? Caitlin sedge? Based on the book “Covering Ground”, many of the shade loving groundcovers seem to be larger plants, which makes this harder. There doesn’t seem to be anything as low growing as a good ground cover thyme for deep shade (the creeping thymes in my garden do OK in partial shade, though). I second the suggestion that you look on the steppables website.December 19, 2012 at 11:39 am #155862
I believe Roland is right… look to the sedges.
The moss may be simply a result of acid soil that is compacted.
Analyze the situation and get a better understanding of soil, sun, etc to match the plant. Don’t neglect the effect the pavers themselves and the necessary substrate will have on the situationDecember 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm #155861
I should mention that I am a horticulturist, not a L.A., so I approach it from that perspective.
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