Pervious concrete pavement

Driveway Overhaul.

It’s been a while since I actually posted anything about the house,so I thought this rainy Saturday morning might lend itself to doing just that.

If you have followed this blog you probably know that one of the things we have struggled with since moving in is the driveway situation. We love the idea of using Stabiligrid, and the positive impact it has on the environment, but at the end of the day it simply turned out to be an impractical solution for us. So after a very long winter, and a very, very wet 2009, we pulled the trigger on removing the existing Stabiligrid drive and replacing it with concrete.

Replacing the driveway is something that Kristy and I have struggled with since we moved in. When done right and maintained the Stabiligrid created a seamless plane that helped to enhance the illusion that the house floated in this field of green.  And we didn’t want to do anything to alter the original vision of the architect in terms of sighting the house. Another concern was the change in environmental impact that switching from the Stabiligrid to concrete might have. Originally we looked into using a pervious concrete  like Xaripave which allows the same amount of runoff to pass through the concrete and back into the ground below. Unfortunately it became to cost prohibitive based on the size of our drive. at 13 by 95 feet, we were looking at close to 22 thousand dollars for tear out, and pervious concrete thick enough to with stand  the daily traffic of our cars.

So what was the final solution? We caved and went with standard concrete. After shoveling a collective 44 plus inches of snow this winter, and taking a long hard look at the situation, solid concrete seemed like the most cost effect, durable solution for the climate, and the house.

The new driveway as seen from the front door.

At first we were both hesitant, afraid that the look of the home would be irreparably changed for the worst, and I have to admit when the crew removed the Stabiligrid and dropped in 4 tons  of gravel I was a bit worried. Here we are though a week later and the driveway is done. I have to admit it looks really nice. The drive actually adds a sense of completion to the structure, creating a sense of completeness that in some ways was lacking with Stabiligrid. I think this is because, since September of last year, the drive has been void of grass and really a washed out mud plane running from the garage to the street.

The Stabiligrid Mud Pit about mid January

So the next steps as spring rolls forward to summer, is to begin the landscaping plan, and hopefully by fall have a finished yard. I’m thinking it all begins next week, because as I look out at the yard I can tell it is going to need the first mowing fairly soon.

The new driveway looking back at the house from the street.

No Joy in Mudville

This week was the first time since December 24th that I saw my complete driveway. Finally all the snow pack melted away, even though it was only an inch or so thick on the actual drive itself. If you are familiar with my house, then you probably know my driveway is made from a system called Stabiligrid. Essentially Stabiligrid is a system of interlocking 12 inch by 12 inch plastic tiles. Each tile is made up of a set of hollow squares which are back filled with dirt and allow grass to grow. While it is after used as a driveway, the drive way set up usually involves backfilling with gravel, or some other substance that allows for water to pass through, but doesn’t turn into a mud pit when saturated with run off.

This is the issue with my drive. When it was first installed it had a lush green look. The grass was beautiful, and there was a nice contrast between the longer grass in the yard and the shorter grass on the drive. After almost 3 years of traffic though, the grass is pretty much dead, and the drive is either a muddy swamp, or a dirt filled slab. Neither are attractive or practical in Kansas City. I’m not bagging on the Stabiligrid system, I just don’t think it is right for this climate. In all reality our drive probably should have been filled with gravel and void of grass, but such is life. So after a very wet summer, fall, and now winter, I am getting bids on alternate solutions for the drive.

First up, poured concrete. While not the most environmentally friendly solution, it is the least expensive. And it still isn’t cheap. I’m looking at spending about 8 grand for a traditional concrete drive. For Pervious concrete pavement I’ll probably end up spending 4 thousand more. It’s still to early to tell what the final solution will be, but I know by the end of summer the Stabiligrid will probably be gone.