Driveways for Water Management
Jan 31
Here's a story for you. It's super exciting. A real thriller. So much water ran down my driveway and under my house on its way downhill to the back yard and beyond that it knocked out a pier post (support post) for my home. I kid you not.

This was probably 10 years ago, but it left a big impression. Along with fixing dry rot, this was one of my favorite house projects (insert sarcastic tone). Putting in a drainage system, repairing a pier post, and providing an unobtrusive path for my share of Oregon rainwater was expensive. And no one can see it. It's money spent on invisible projects. No fun.

It did, however, instill in me an obsessive desire to build rainwater management into all other house projects. And this is not sarcasm. While building my deck, the Arciform guys, one of whom had a degree in geomorphism, studied the water travel down the driveway and under the house. After considering existing water routes and French drains, they constructed my pathways to serve as alternate / additional water routes. It turned out to be my favorite part of the project. Having another way to route that water was absolutely thrilling. Again, that's not sarcasm. For people outside Oregon this undoubtedly sounds pathetic. For those of you in the NW, you're probably feeling some jealousy right about now. Dealing with runoff is a big deal up in here. Word.

Gutters, paths, rain chains, French drains, rain barrels - all to be considered when pondering your water situation. Next on my list? The driveway. So sexy! But the driveway is a great big chunk of your property. Why not use it to help with water management? My driveway, for instance, is really steep, and currently covered in asphalt, otherwise known as a slip-n-slide for rainwater. Removing the asphalt driveway (which is also fugly), and replacing it with a porous material would absorb a lot of the river that currently dead-ends at the garage and creates a puddle the size of Lake Shasta. Also, rainwater picks up pollutants in the atmosphere and on asphalt, and having that polluted water move through soil helps clean it up. It's good for water to absorb it into dirt. Crazy, but true.

What the heck is a porous material, you ask? Check out this wonderful post on Houzz with descriptions and pictures. Open cell pavers have been my wish-list pick for many years, and I hope to find some with a funky little pattern. Filling those little pavers with mosses works well in Oregon. Moss loves Oregon. What do you think of the tire track look? I think it's super cool! Here's a Pinterest board with more thoughts on the subject. What about filling the pavers with bluestar creeper / ground cover? Wouldn't that be pretty and unique? Yes. Yes it would. And, good for the environment. (The true top of my wish list is to have an unlimited bank account.) There are plenty of cool options for redoing the drive, and that's inspiring!
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