Pounding the Pavement: Choosing the Best Driveway

What's best for the environment when building a driveway?

| March/April 2005

  • Interlocking concrete ECO I Pavers are water permeable.
    Photo courtesy EP Henry
  • StoneyCrete pervious concrete contains a percentage of fly ash.
    Photo courtesy Stoney Creek Materials

What’s best for a driveway: concrete, gravel, or pavers? It depends on your soil, landscape, and aesthetic sensibilities, say experts Ron Jones and Sara Gutterman of Green Builder, a national development and consulting firm.

Choose porous materials that permit water to seep into the ground, helping with stormwater management. Impervious surfaces require floodwater to be channeled into gutters, curbs, or other conduits, washing pollutants such as pet waste, fertilizers, and pesticides into local waterways. Porous walks and driveways allow runoff to filter into the soil, where it benefits your garden, lawn, and trees.


• Durable, low maintenance, reliable strength
• Cost effective
• Good for high-traffic areas or where people use wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, tricycles.
• There are porous versions made (not suitable for environments where sand may fill surface pores).

• Concrete contains a high level of embodied energy; asphalt contains petroleum products.
• Not very permeable; poor for use in storm- water management.
• Create heat islands ­(especially asphalt)
• Reflect harsh sunlight

PAVERS (brick, blocks, natural stone, paver grids)

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds