Here’s a gallery of a project I had wanted to do for a long time: turn my boring asphalt driveway into a green driveway where plants and moss can grow.
This also included creating a rainwater catchment for my front yard garden. The downspout from my roof empties on the driveway, only, now into an underground set of conduits. This sends much-needed irrigation to my southwest-facing garden, and prevents runoff to the street by letting water percolate into the green driveway. One of the benefits of this water-saving measure is that it cools down the hot and sunny south-western front of my house. This reduces the urban heat island effect by retaining moisture. More plants grow where formerly, it was very dry. The city sewers get next to no water from me, and I use less water from the city!
The project worked in five stages:
- Creating the rainwater catchment,
- Building the new driveway, and
- Adding the fill and finishing touches.
- The plan
- Vendome pavers
- Brick looked nice too, so I got an idea…
- The rock garden put into a bin lid
- Cutting up the asphalt driveway
- (Almost) all asphalt removed and recycled at the EcoCentre
- Trench from the downspout
- Cuts in the concrete sidewalk
- Sod was cut and laid upside down to give roots air – to replace later
- Trench dug 1′ deep
- Lined with geotextile and drainage gravel – to diffuse and retain water for plant use
- Laying the road-grade PVC drainage pipe
- PVC drainage pipes ready for the front yard
- The join between the driveway drainpipe and the irrigation field
- Wrapping the pipe and filling the trench with soil
- Filling the garden trench
- The bricks outline the driveway, and the wheel paths marked with posts
- Matching bricks fill in the trench cut through the sidewalk. These were later replaced by pavers, as bricks are too water-permeable and they did not overwinter well, and so I replaced them with brick-like pavers that did.
- Vendome pavers outline the outside of the wheel paths, while recycled masonry cobbles fill in the inside
- Sod slices replaced over trench – ground made even, watered
- The view of the new garden from the steps
- The view of the new garden from the street`
- Cobbles being set on the left side
- Cobbles placed and set; dirt fills either side and in between
- Cobbles put in place on the right side
- The brick border at the edge of the neighbour’s drive. The steel reinforcing strip is theirs.
- Closeup of the left side nearest garage
- View of box garden from steps.
- Garden now rested and dry, a full-length box garden was built and installed by Urban Seedling
- Sod was placed on neighbourly side of driveway; rock garden replaced on right, and river rocks dispersed throughout
- Right view of driveway on completion day
- We chose to do a regular lawn strip between the neighbour’s uniblock driveway and the wheel paths as a way to mirror the lawn on the other side… and some texture that the driveway would grow into.
- View of driveway two days later: more rocks, seedling plugs, seeds, and mulch
- A car using the new driveway
- One month later: the rock garden blooms
- One month later: the green driveway is green! Enough grass and clover to feed a hungry rabbit.
One happy outcome of this project was the number of comments and inquiries I received from passersby, and moreover, bees, bumblebees, and butterflies often stop by for nourishment and rest.
If you would like to convert your driveway in a similar way, call 514-815-5163, or use the Contact form.
BCLH’s “Rewilding” service is available again for the April – June 2019 migration and planting season. If you’re considering making your driveway a green one, converting over a portion of your yard and garden to no- or low-mow native plants, or you’d like to take practical action to save the birds, contact me. Also, subscribe to the monthly newsletter, and send in any DIY questions you have!