In a world being reshaped by climate change, gardeners are increasingly asking themselves what can be done to counter the destructive effects of extreme weather events. The answer, as we’re discovering, is to take a nature-friendly approach that supports and nurtures resilience.
One obvious example is the use of paving in our front gardens, which often double up as much-needed car parking spaces. Unfortunately the widespread use of impermeable materials such as concrete and Tarmac contributes significantly to the problem of urban flash flooding, resulting in water run-off that puts huge stress on struggling urban drainage and sewage systems already under pressure. Not only can this also contaminate wildlife-rich waterways as a result, but it contributes to soil pollution, leading to less than ideal growing conditions for the plants in our gardens and cities.
Impermeable garden paving materials also contribute to the problem of soil shrinkage during prolonged dry periods, sometimes leading to problems with building subsidence. In urban areas in particular they compound the problem of summer heat extremes, interfering with the naturally cooling effects of the ground. If you’ve ever walked down a city street in a heatwave you’ll have experienced this first-hand.
In this case the best solution is to replace garden paving materials such as concrete, Tarmac and tiles with any of a variety of permeable materials that allow water to naturally percolate through the soil. Examples include pebble or gravel laid on to an “open-graded” permeable hardcore base; pebble or gravel laid on to a moulded plastic or concrete “honeycomb” structure of interlocking cells that stabilises the ground and makes it suitable for heavy traffic (theseRead more on irishtimes.com