WHAT IS HARDSCAPING?
Landscaping is made up of softscapes and hardscapes. Softscaping refers to the organic matter that fills a space, and can include (but is not limited to) grasses, shrubs, flowers, trees, and other things that grow. Hardscaping refers to non-organic, and often man-made, features that complete the landscape. These can include walls, footpaths, bike paths, fountains, man made ponds, and roads.
WHAT MAKES HARDSCAPING “GREEN”?
Hardscaping can be made more environmentally friendly. The EPA recommends a number of best practices for “greenscaping,” the practice of environmentally-sustainable landscaping. Many of their recommendations refer specifically to hardscape landscaping. They suggest that sustainable hardscape designs should “[r]educe nonpermeable hardscape wherever possible to minimize rainwater runoff and erosion.”
Municipal hardscaping has other environmental benefits as well. By definition, it requires no water or fertilizer. When installed properly, it also aids with water sequestration and filtration, limiting runoff, reducing load on sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants, and filtering off pollutants.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE HARDSCAPES
Sustainable hardscaping borrows some of its tenets from sustainable landscaping. In brief:
- Water is finite. It should be treated as a resource, and the hardscape designed in such a way that returns water to the soil, not the sewer.
- Material resources are finite. Materials used should be recycled and/or locally sourced to the greatest extent possible.
- Soil and plant life should be preserved. Hardscaping should complement the natural environment and assist in its preservation.
In addition to the design and installation techniques used by Unit Paving, we also offer a range of pavers made of natural materials that follow best practices for sustainability. Among the paving products we offer are permeable pavers, clay, and natural stone pavers, backed with careful installation that is intended to bear up under heavy traffic while also capturing and filtering stormwater runoff.