How to grow grass between pavers

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How to grow grass between pavers

Many homeowners want a beautiful lawn, but they need a place to enjoy it. Therefore, they may add a patio or deck, and the top choice here is to use pavers. It looks great for a few years, but most pavers have spaces between the stones.

This ultimately means that grass and weeds are going to grow between them if allowed. Therefore, you need the right preventative techniques to keep the grass from getting into the joints. If you don’t, this is going to reduce the overall appearance and could damage the pavers themselves.

With a few preventative tips, you can keep weeds and grass from going in between the spaces of the pavers. We’re going to discuss those with you. However, you may already have grass growing between them.

You don’t have to worry. It’s possible to correct the problem and remove the grass between the pavers. We’re going to help you do that too, which restores the appearance of the patio, deck, or driveway.

Table of Contents

Preventing Grass from Growing between the Pavers

Prevention is the best choice to control grass growth between your pavers. With just a little maintenance, you can avoid the problem completely.

Sweep Regularly

In most cases, the grass seeds can go everywhere when you do it each season. That’s a good thing for the lawn. It means that grass grows throughout the space.

However, it also means that a few seeds can get in between the pavers. If that happens, you’re going to see grass growing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to sweep periodically.

A regular broom is good enough here. Just sweep between the spaces and all along the driveway or patio. This prevents the seeds from rooting and can also reduce your weed growth issues.

Sweeping can also remove surface dirt from the area. This promotes better curb appeal and helps the pavers look clean.

Make Sure They’re Installed Correctly

How to grow grass between pavers

If you’re thinking about putting in pavers and haven’t done so yet, make sure they get installed properly. You need a sand bed, which is tightly packed. That provides more foundation for the patio or deck.

Once everything is in place, you should add additional sand and pack it into the crevices. Grass and weeds have a harder time growing in the sand than in soil. The sand just makes sure that the pavers stay in place and keep out the plant growth.

Proper Slope

Grass and weeds require damp, cool soil to thrive. When you have a patio or deck that’s properly sloped, the water runs down it and can’t pool in the crevices between your pavers. This helps prevents those conditions that plants need to live.

However, if you’ve already got a patio or deck with pavers, you’re not going to break it all up to redo it. In this case, you need to learn how to prevent grass from growing between existing pavers.

Eliminate the Grass

You’ve already got grass growing between your pavers, so the thought of prevention is out. In fact, you may have to use multiple methods listed here before you can get rid of the grass. Once that happens, there are things you can do to prevent new grass from growing.

White Vinegar

How to grow grass between pavers

Though you can use chemicals, you don’t have to use them. White vinegar can kill unwanted grass and weeds. Just pour some into a clean, empty spray bottom. Spray all the cracks between the pavers and let it sit.

As it sits, it works its way into the sand below. After a few hours, use a garden hose to rinse away the vinegar. This simple remedy can kill some grasses and weeds, so it might not be fully effective.

Also, you should spray an inconspicuous area first. Though vinegar shouldn’t discolor your pavers, it’s best to be safe.

Pressure Wash

How to grow grass between pavers

If you’ve got more grass than weeds, white vinegar might not be the first place to start. Instead, you can pressure wash the patio. This solution is going to remove plant growth from between the pavers and help the space look better.

You want the spray of water to go between the pavers, but you can’t use a jet nozzle. The pressure from the water is going to wash away your sand and could etch or mark the paver’s surface. Instead, make sure you utilize a rotating attachment with your pressure washer to avoid these issues.

By-Hand Removal

How to grow grass between pavers

It’s possible to remove the grass by hand. However, you’ve got to remove the whole plant for it to be effective. This includes the root.

To do that, you can use a spade or plant grabbing tool. Position it at an angle and then lift up so that the grass root is removed.

Many times, it takes multiple sessions to completely eradicate the grass between the pavers. However, if you catch it in time, this shouldn’t be too labor-intensive.

Alternatively, you can use a crack scraper or action hoe to remove the grass. They have L-shaped blades that pull the stem and remove the grass at its base. You’re going to do this multiple times a season, though, because it doesn’t get rid of the root.

More Stabilizing Sand

Once you’ve used a method mentioned earlier, it’s best to use stabilizing sand. That way, new roots can’t grow back. When you add it, make sure that there are no weeds or grass, and the patio is dry.

You can find stabilizing sand with a pH level. They inhibit weeds from growing.

Weed Burner

How to grow grass between pavers

Using a weed burner is the best way to remove weed and grass from growing between the pavers.

Once you’ve done all that, consider sealing the pavers and the grooves. That way, plants can’t grow in those spaces. There are plenty of sealing products on the market, though we think latex-based options are most appropriate.

Conclusion

If you’ve already got grass or weeds growing between your pavers, you need to know how to eliminate them. Once that is done, the next step is to learn how to prevent grass from growing between pavers.

We’ve talked about various ways to remove and prevent grass from growing between them. Now, you have the right knowledge and can get the tools needed to complete the job.

Related Articles

Placing plants between pavers adds texture, color and interest to a garden path or driveway. The best plants for filling in a path are those that grow low to the ground and naturally spread via underground runners. The plants should also spread slowly to avoid becoming invasive or weedy. Mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus) is an eye-catching plant that meets these requirements. The Nigrescens cultivar, known as black mondo grass, is especially attractive, with grasslike leaves that start out green but mature to black. Once planted, mondo grass requires only a little maintenance to grow well between your pavers.

Use the trowel to dig holes in the area around your pavers for the mondo grass. The holes should be spaced eight to 10 inches apart and be as deep as and at least 2 inches wider than the pots your mondo grass starts are in. Add 1 cup of compost to each hole to provide nutrients for your new plants.

Remove the mondo grass starts from their pots. If the starts don’t come out easily, squeeze the outside of the pots to loosen the soil. Then, hold the pot in one hand while placing your other hand over the foliage. Tip the pot and lightly tug on the plant until it comes out.

Use your hand to gently loosen the roots of the mondo grass starts from their potting soil and then place one plant in each hole you dug. Loosening the roots helps the plants establish themselves and spread faster after planting.

Fill the remaining room in the hole with the soil you dug out or with extra potting soil that fell off your starts. Once you’ve planted all the starts, water the area thoroughly.

Water the mondo grass often enough to keep the soil moist but not wet. Although mondo grass prefers moist soil, it can tolerate some drought.

Fertilize your mondo grass in early spring with a balanced fertilizer or by mulching around your mondo grass with compost. If using fertilizer, follow the package directions regarding how much to apply.

Trim your mondo grass with grass clippers to keep the blades off your pavers as the plants grow. For a formal look, trim the blades even with the edges of your pavers. For a more casual appearance, allow about 1 inch of the blades to arch over the edge of your pavers.

  • Sunset Western Garden Book; Kathleen Norris (editor)
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Ophiopogon Planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
  • Plant of the Week: Ophiopogon Planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
  • Mondo grass grows best in partial shade or full sun. If your region experiences hot summers, the plants prefer some dappled shade during the hottest time of day.
  • If the soil around your pavers is compacted, take the time before you plant to loosen the soil with a trowel or hand cultivator. This helps improve drainage and allows the roots of your mondo grass to spread more easily.
  • Mondo grass spreads slowly, but if it begins to crowd the area around the pavers, divide the plants by digging them out, removing the older sections and replanting the younger sections.
  • Consider a dwarf mondo grass variety that grows just 2 to 4 inches high.

Based in Portland, Ore., Tammie Painter has been writing garden, fitness, science and travel articles since 2008. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as “Herb Companion” and “Northwest Travel” and she is the author of six books. Painter earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Portland State University.

A deck or patio crafted of pavers is sure to have lines between each stone. Without proper prevention, weeds can find their way through those joints, reducing the appearance and potentially causing damage to the entire floor. With a few preventative measures, weeds can be avoided in the first place. If weeds are already present, there’s no need to stress. Corrective measures can eliminate the weeds and restore the look of your driveway, deck, or patio.

Preventing Weed Growth

Prevention is one of the best methods of weed control. With a little regular maintenance, weeds can be avoided in the first place.

Regular Sweeping

Most of the time, weeds to not sprout up from beneath the pavers. They actually start with seeds that settle between the cracks of the pavers on the surface. Seeds need to take root in order to grow. Sweeping your pavers regularly will disrupt the seeds prior to rooting, helping to inhibit weed growth. Sweeping also removes surface dirt and helps to enhance curb appeal by keeping your pavers looking clean.

Proper Installation

Installing pavers results in spaces between the bricks or stones. The first step in preventing weeds is ensuring proper installation. A sand bed tightly packed provides a level foundation for the deck or patio. Once all the pavers are in place, additional sands should be packed into the crevices. This sand ensures each paver stays in place and helps prevent weed growth.

Ensure Proper Slope

Weeds thrive in cool, damp soil. When the deck or patio is properly sloped, water runs down the slope and doesn’t stay stagnant in the crevices between the pavers, helping to prevent the conditions weeds need to thrive. The slope of the paved area should always tilt away from the house.

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Is It Too Late?

When weeds are already present you have to go from prevention to finding effective remedies for the problem. There are a number of ways you can remove existing weeds from your paver area. A single weed-removal method may not be enough. It may be more effective to combine two or more of these strategies, depending on how severe the weed problem is. Once the problem has been rectified, go back to the prevention methods to keep them away.

White Vinegar

Instead of treating weeds with harsh chemicals, open the pantry and reach for the white vinegar. Pour the vinegar into an empty spray bottle and spray the cracks between the pavers, leaving it to sit and work its way into the sand. When a few hours have passed, rinse away the vinegar with a garden hose. This simple remedy will kill the weeds without damaging the pavers or damaging nearby plants. Vinegar should not discolor pavers but if you have any concerns, do the same process with an inconspicuous test spot before treating the entire area.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing the whole patio is a dual-purpose solution. Not only will it remove the weeds from the spaces between the pavers, but it will also provide a deep cleaning to the pavers, making the whole area look like new again. If you are pressure washing, do not simply use a jet nozzle. The water pressure from the nozzle can wash away the sand between the grooves and etch the surface of the pavers themselves. Instead, use a rotating surface cleaner attachment in tandem with the pressure washer.

Hands-On Removal

Pulling weeds is a classic method of removal but it is only effective if the entire plant is removed, root and all. To do this, reach for the lowest point of the stem and carefully pull the weed. Any roots that don’t come with the plant will grow back. This often results in multiple hand-pulling sessions before the problem is remedied. Hands-on removal is possible at the onset of a weed problem, when only a few weeds are present, but it can become a very labor-intensive and less effective method when there is a severe weed problem.

Mechanical Removal

An alternative to hand-pulling weeds is taking advantage of a mechanical removal solution. Crack scrapers are outfitted with L-shaped blades that pull a weed from the stem, removing the weed at the base of the stem. Normally, this method leaves behind the root, allowing for regrowth. As a result, mechanical removal is a way to temporarily restore the look of the deck or patio, but future mechanical removal sessions will be needed to remove regrowth.

Stabilizing Sand

Once you remove the weeds through one of the methods mentioned above, stabilizing sand can be used to help keep any roots from growing back. When adding sand, it is essential that the patio is dry and free of weeds. Some paver sands feature gel additives that react with water, filling in the space between the stones so weeds have nowhere to go. Some sands also feature a pH that inhibits weed growth by making it uninhabitable. The type of sand used will help to determine the proper installation method. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure the product is used properly.

Patio pavers bring a traditional elegance to the exterior hardscapes of any business or residence. Nothing will detract from the beauty of the pavers faster than the growth of weeds. When no weeds are present, simple preventative methods will help to keep them from growing. If weeds are already a problem, there are a number of methods that will eliminate the weeds. Discovering the best weed prevention and remedy for your paver area is easy when you understand what causes weeds in the first place and the pros and cons of each weed control method. A weed-free paver area is possible and goes a long way toward making a space inviting and enhancing the curb appeal of your home.

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Pavers offer a simple yet effective solution for creating patios, sidewalks, and walking paths. They are not only inexpensive but also simple to install and maintain. However, adding some grass between pavers creates a natural blend that makes your home’s exteriors very attractive.

How to grow grass between pavers

Not only is this beautiful, but it also prevents unwanted weeds growing in the spaces between pavers.

Further, grass between pavers prevents soil erosion caused by surface runoff and winds.

In details, let us look at how to grow grass between stones, care and how to remove the grass between pavers.

How to Grow Grass between Pavers

There is a possibly of lawn grasses naturally filling the spaces between the pavers if you provide soil. However, you may want a specific type of grass that will establish faster and add ornamental character to your flagstones or concrete pavers. Here is how to grow your grass effectively:

1. Prepare the spaces

Growing grass between your flagstones or pavers should be planned beforehand. Flagstones should be installed in a manner to support the growth of vegetation between them.

While installation of pavers require well compacted soil for a strong base, the spaces where grass will be grown has to be left with loose soil for better penetration of plant roots.

Alternatively, you may remove the dirt or sand from between the pavers and add a layer of potting soil sometimes mixed with compost for faster growth and establishment of grass.

2. Choose the grass type

There are plenty of lawn grasses that grow well between the flagstones in a path or patio. But since grass spreads faster and taller in nutritious soil, there is the part of regular mowing and watering to keep them short, safe and neat.

If you find maintaining lawn grass between pavers a difficult task, there are various ornamental ground cover plants that require low maintenance. They also handle traffic well and most of them are naturally short. Although these grass like perennials does well in most weather conditions, some of them may require specific light and water levels for optimal growth.

3. Planting the grass

After soil preparation and choosing of grass seed based on your climatic region, it’s time to plant. Spread the seed evenly in the moist soil and press them on to have full contact with the soil. Water twice a day and ensure the top 2 inches of soil remains moistened until the seed germinate, establish and get ready for mowing.

Most lawn grasses germinate within one week, and in the sixth week, they are established enough to mow or trim by hand. Ornamental grasses perennials such as Mondo grass requires to be germinated in a nursery before they are transplanted between the flagstones. Space them and maintain them as directed.

How to Maintain Grass between Pavers

How to grow grass between pavers

Similar to the rest of lawn grasses, your vegetation between pavers require same care to look the best.

Once established, water once or twice weekly, providing about 1 inch of water at each session, and mow the grass to keep it 2 1/2 inches tall.

Ornamental grasses require less care but you may trim back the tops in the spring to make them spread faster. Watering once a week providing about 1inch of moisture will make the cover plants lush, thick and green.

How to Remove Grass between Pavers

Suppose you have just bought a home and you don’t like the idea of grass between pavers originated by the previous owner, what do you do? Poorly maintained grass between pavers can as well jeopardize the structural and aesthetic integrity of your home exteriors.

Under the above circumstances, you may decide to get rid of the grass and plant your preferred ground cover plant. Removing the grass and not replacing with another vegetation will attract weeds into the open spaces and this will even be more disastrous. There are a number of ways you can use to get rid of grass or weeds between pavers including:

Hot Water

One all natural methods is to pour on hot water between the pavers. Hot water is safe, does not contain toxic elements and there is no worry about residual effects. Just be cautious not to burn yourself or pour on other useful vegetation around.

Vinegar Spray

Another effective option is to spray a solution of vinegar, salt and dish soap between the pavers. Vinegar and salt kill the grass while the soap makes it sticky for effective outcome. Beware that vinegar and salt may render the soil unsuitable for growing other plants unless you don’t have such a though.

But if you don’t mind planting something between the pavers, you may as well use an herbicidal weed killer. Due to the toxic nature of chemical herbicides, remember to use away from pets and children. Additionally, wear protective gloves and mask and spray as directed by the manufacturer.

Once the grass has dies, use a trowel to remove it gently without affecting the alignment of the pavers. If you don’t do it carefully, you may end up going back on the drawing board in laying the pavers on dirt. After you have removed the dead grass, give your pavers a cleaning using a pressure washer. This will give you a clean surface as you figure out what to do next.

How to grow grass between pavers

Grow-through grass pavers can be driven over and parked upon, while still allowing for green space.

After Gretchen and Ethan built an addition to their home in Burlington, Vermont, they knew that they would be over the town’s required ‘lot coverage’, which factors in paved driveways. The easy solution was to rip out the pavement and replace it with an environmentally-friendly grass driveway, built with permeable, grow-through pavers.

“Both of us liked the look of the grow-through pavers better with more green space, and as far as runoff, it’s nice to have it feel a little more environmentally friendly than concrete,” says Gretchen.

Installing & Planting The Grass Driveway

After local stonemasons installed the permeable pavers and an excavator dropped a huge pile of dirt, Gretchen had the daunting task of evenly moving and spreading the dirt over the driveway and raking it in. For the best results, she explains that it’s recommended to only fill the pavers halfway before planting, so cars won’t impact the grass when they drive over it.

How to grow grass between pavers

After the dirt was raked in (and they gave the leftover topsoil to friends), Gretchen and Ethan planted our Low Work And Water grass mix in the sunny areas and our No Mow grass mix in the shadier spots.

When I stopped by they had only planted a few weeks ago so not everything had grown in yet – but the grass driveway still looked absolutely gorgeous. “I can’t tell you how many times someone has driven by, or walked by and stopped,” says Gretchen. “Everybody comments on how good it looks.”

How to grow grass between pavers

To protect the newly planted grass driveway for the winter, they will add straw on top of the entire driveway.

Getting Ready For Spring Planting

They added annual rye grass to the bank next to the driveway where they will eventually add shade plants in the spring. “We planted it to stabilize the soil and to avoid the area becoming a complete mud pit,” says Gretchen. “I was amazed at how fast the annual rye grass grew.” In the spring they’ll till the area and add a mix of columbine, trillium and groundcovers.

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This mixture is made up of warm and cool-season grasses that are native to the Northeast and will be a hardy, long-lasting solution to any area.

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In this sense, Gretchen and Ethan used the Rye Grass as a cover crop or ‘green manure’, taking advantage of its ability to prevent erosion and become a grow-in-place fertilizer, which will release important nutrients after it’s been tilled back into the soil. Now the columbine, trillium, and groundcovers will have nutrient-rich soil to help get them started. You can learn more about using green manures here.

How to grow grass between pavers

The specialized design of the pavers allows for storm water to drain right through, instead of becoming part of the city’s run-off problems. The design also allows for creative landscape design when colorful groundcovers are planted inside the paver holes.

So what’s next for the grass driveway? Gretchen says she is planning on adding a variety of colorful groundcovers this spring in between the paver strips, where cars won’t drive over. “We just love how it looks; it’s so nice to have green out there,” she adds.

Why Are Grass Driveways Environmentally Friendly?

Permeable paver driveways aren’t just for looks (although it is a nice bonus), but are also an environmentally-friendly alternative to paved or blacktop driveways.

As Gretchen mentioned above, one of the main reasons people install these types of driveways is the reduction of runoff water, especially in a city. Permeable pavers allow for rain water to pass directly through them and get absorbed into the ground, which helps keep pollutants that can be found in storm water (collected as the water races over paved roads) from entering the water system and contaminating streams, lakes, and other waterways.

How to grow grass between pavers

Gretchen says people frequently stop and ask her about their new driveway, commenting on how good it looks.

Gretchen and Ethan’s grow through paver driveway is also environmentally friendly because it creates habitat where it would otherwise be a wasteland. Even the small patches of grass and flowering groundcovers they plant in that area make a big difference to their local pollinators.

Permeable paver driveways help reduce runoff, create a habitat for wildlife and require little water.

The grass mixtures they chose are low water and low maintenance, meaning that only natural rainfall will be required for these grasses to grow and they’ll only need to be mowed a few times each year. This helps reduce emissions from lawn mowers and conserves water.

How to grow grass between pavers

The cost of a permeable paver driveway is comparable to pavement, says Gretchen.

The Cost Of An Environmentally Friendly Grass Driveway

Looking at Gretchen and Ethan’s driveway, I figured that it was an expensive project, but it turns out I was wrong. “Originally we were going to do cement strips and then when we started pricing it out we realized it wouldn’t be that much more expensive to do the grow-through pavers,” she says.

A driveway that has gorgeous curb appeal, that you can garden in, is environmentally friendly and fairly inexpensive – what more could you want?

Have you had any experience with permeable pavers or environmentally friendly driveways? Please share in the comments below.

Virginia Bluebell’s gorgeous flowers start out as lovely, pastel pink buds and open up into vivid, true blue blooms. A perfect addition to part and full-shade woodland gardens, pla.

What’s growing between your pavers: weeds, moss, even tiny trees? If you answer “all of the above,” you’re in the same boat as I was until recently. Seemed like my patio was more vegetation than bricks and I wanted to fix it … fast.

How to grow grass between pavers

Impatient though I was, I took time to research weed removal methods and choose the best. Read how I got rid of all the weeds between my pavers, the easy, green way.

Methods I rejected

As a home and garden writer, I’m amazed at the plethora of online tips and tricks to solve problems from eliminating weeds between pavers to using up a bumper crop of cucumbers. While some come from reliable sources, I’m pretty sure many recommendations – whether dangerous, ineffective, or wildly expensive in proportion to the problem they promise to solve — have never actually been tested by the folks who promote them.

So I turned the tables and rather than recommend methods of getting rid of weeds between pavers without trying them, I rejected certain methods without trying them. You’ll see my logic in a minute.

    Salt. Applying salt to weeds between pavers sounds green and simple. However, heavy rainfalls have a way of spreading this substance from paved areas to the surrounding soil. And Gardening 101 says salt kills all vegetation, not just the kind you don’t want.

Baking soda. For many bloggers, baking soda is a magic cure-all. Why do they suggest using this product to kill weeds? Why, because of its sodium (salt) content, of course. Point 1 explains why salt is a bad thing for your landscape.

Bleach. See above, but even more so. Bleach is harmful not only to nearby soil and plants but also to the pavers themselves. Why risk discoloring your patio, path, or driveway with bleach when the whole point is to make it look better?

Vinegar. While a vinegar spray will indeed burn weed leaves, it will burn the leaves of every plant it comes in contact with, including your beautiful begonias. What it won’t do: kill weed roots, meaning soon you’ll have the problem all over again. Be aware, too, that vinegar’s acidity will lower the pH level of garden soil.

Hand pulling. Here’s a method that is safe for both pavers and the environment. Unfortunately, my back and knees voted “No” to this one.

Blowtorching. Since I’ve grown to truly hate those weeds between my pavers, burning them out is fiendishly appealing. Bwahaha! Unfortunately, I don’t own a blowtorch, and anyway I have a sneaky feeling that my condo committee wouldn’t approve.

  • Herbicide. Commercial herbicides tend to be very effective at killing weeds, but with two caveats. First, they don’t kill weed seeds, so before you know it, you may have a new crop of unwanted vegetation. Second, their runoff is hazardous to the plants you do want.
  • How to grow grass between pavers

    What I actually used – with great results

    My method of choice was … wait for it …. boiling water!

    Advantages: Boiling water is cheap and readily accessible. What’s more, it has no long-lasting negative effects on the environment. The liquid hits those weeds with sizzling force, but by the time it drains off and reaches the lawn and garden, it’s cooled down harmlessly.

    Results were very satisfactory (check out my photos!). The weeds immediately lost their oomph. An hour after treatment, they were seriously droopy. And by the next day, they’d become so dry and shriveled I could just sweep them away with a broom.

    FINAL SCORE: Laura 1, Weeds 0.

    How to grow grass between pavers

    Treat extra-large areas

    Treating an extra-large paver-ed area with a kettle of freshly boiled water might not be practical. Instead, try pressure washing. Hot water works best. To avoid harming your pavers, follow manufacturer’s directions and start with a low pressure.

    Prevention

    If you hire a contractor to build a new patio, make sure that there’s adequate drainage and pavers are fitted tightly together.

    For both new and existing paver installations, fill the joints with polymeric sand. This blend of sand and special additives resists weeds, insects, and erosion.

    Joni Mitchell wasn’t kidding when she said you could wreck paradise with a parking lot. You can damage it with a driveway, too, especially the typical asphalt or concrete ones. Or you can keep the pavement out of your little piece of paradise by opting for a driveway made of grass block pavers.

    Are grass block pavers the right choice for your driveway? Read on for everything you need to know.

    What are grass block pavers?

    Grass block pavers—also known as turf block pavers or grow-through pavers—are an alternative to asphalt, concrete, and traditional pavers. They’re made of concrete or recycled plastic with open cells that allow grass to grow through them. They’re a porous, eco-friendly option for driveways and parking areas.

    Where can I use grass block pavers?

    Driveways, parking areas, and walkways are the best surfaces for grass block pavers. They’re also good for slopes, where you need to stop erosion.

    Where should I not use grass block pavers?

    For patios, a solid surface may be preferable. Grass block pavers are better for parking vehicles than for party guests. Tufts of grass don’t make a good surface for lounging, entertaining or loitering with a drink in your hand. “A chair wouldn’t sit level on it,” says Richard Risner, principal at Grounded, a landscape architecture firm in Solana Beach, Calif. “Walk on it in heels, and you’ll sink.”

    Regular pavers spaced so that regular grass grows between them in thin strips are a better choice for patios. If you must have grass block pavers on your patio, choose a paver with tiny cells for the grass and cut the turf so that it’s level with the top of the paver block. (You’ll need to water and feed it more, because extremely short grass is fragile.)

    Pros and Cons

    • Grass block pavers reduce stormwater runoff, one of the biggest sources of water pollution. Stormwater runoff is caused when rain washes over asphalt or concrete, picks up oil and other road pollutants, and washes the whole toxic soup into rivers, bays, and streams. And because they absorb water, grass block pavers slow down the water that races over pavement in a rainstorm, preventing erosion.
    • Grass block pavers recharge groundwater. Those spots of grass allow rain to seep into the ground, putting it back into aquifers, very important in arid climates where water supply is tight. The grass and soil in your grow-through pavers will filter out the pollutants, so the water that returns to the earth is clean.
    • Porous pavers keep the air around your driveway cooler, thanks to the magic of transpiration from that grass. An asphalt drive absorbs heat and gets hotter than Phoenix in July.
    • You can congratulate yourself on being an earth-friendly person.
    • They’re beautiful. Squares of grass beat a shroud of asphalt or concrete every time.
    • Grass block pavers have grass, so they come with the same drawbacks as a turf lawn. They get weeds. They need to be watered (unless you live in a rainy place where nature does the work for you.) They need to be mowed. They need to be fertilized. Asphalt or poured concrete is set it and forget it.
    • They can cost twice as much as asphalt. Grass block pavers run from $4 to $6 per square foot. Good old asphalt or concrete costs from $3 to $4 per square foot.
    • They last half as long as concrete and asphalt, which need to be replaced in 20 to 30 years, with patches to cracks every three to five years. Grass block pavers will need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years in a residential drive where nothing but your Prius goes over the surface a few times a day. They’ll last only five years in a commercial driveway, where hundreds of thousands of cars, including gigantic trucks, SUVS, and possibly even Humvees will drive over it.
    • They’re not ADA compliant, because they create a surface that’s too bumpy for a wheelchair.

    What kind do I need?

    How do I install them?

    Whether using plastic or concrete, you going to make five layers. It’s the hardscape version of making lasagna.

    • Put down a base of crushed gravel mixed with sand to level the surface.
    • Place the blocks next.
    • Then lay another layer of sand and compact it.
    • Lay a layer of topsoil.
    • Plant grass.
    • Stay off the grass until it’s established.

    Unless you have top-flight hardscaping skills, you may want to hire a pro for this.

    About that grass. How do I plant it, and what kind can I use?

    The best way to grow the grass is to sprinkle seeds into the cells. It’s the slowest way to get the grass, as growing from seed always is, but your grass will have deeper root systems and be hardier.

    If you want instant gratification, sod it. Cut squares to fit the cells and lay them in. You’ll have your green drive done by sundown. Unless you live in Seattle or the Gulf Coast where you get regular gully washers, choose a drought-tolerant variety such as buffalo grass so you don’t negate the eco-friendly paver drive by putting hundreds of gallons of water on it to keep it alive. Other good grasses that can stand up to two tons of steel driving on them are zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine, and ornamental sedge.

    Another option if you live in an arid climate or loathe cutting grass: Fill the cells with gravel. Technically, that’s not a grass block paver, but it will still allow water to seep into the ground and stop that nasty stormwater runoff.

    So move your asphalt. Chuck the concrete. Go with grass. The planet will thank you.

    If you’re planning a hardscape project and looking for tips and materials, see our curated Hardscape 101 guides to Decks & Patios 101 and Pavers 101. To see how grass block pavers look after they’ve been installed, take a look at some of our favorite projects:

    By: Kimberly Johnson

    21 September, 2017

    Pavers are commonly used to create patio flooring areas as well as to construct walkways and driveways. Instead of laying the pavers directly against one other, you can leave some space between them for growing grass. The dwarf variety of mondo grass is a good option for planting between pavers because it only reaches 2 to 4 inches high. In addition, mondo grass grows well in both shady and sunny areas.

    Dig up the top 3 inches of soil in between the pavers using a hand spade or garden fork. Discard the soil in another area of the yard or place it into a compost pile.

    Spread 3 inches of compost in the area between the pavers and smooth it out with the hand spade, recommends Augusta Chronicle.

    • Pavers are commonly used to create patio flooring areas as well as to construct walkways and driveways.
    • The dwarf variety of mondo grass is a good option for planting between pavers because it only reaches 2 to 4 inches high.

    Place a level on top of the ground and add additional compost to level the surface of the ground out until it is smooth and even with no dips. If you leave any dips, rainwater will collect in them and create mud holes.

    Pick up a clump of mondo grass, such as from a purchased pot, and separate it into 50 to 100 small plugs. The grass spreads rapidly, so the plugs only require about four blades each.

    Dig a hole large enough for one mondo grass plug, approximately 1 inch deep. Insert the roots of the plug into the hole and fill in the hole with soil. Repeat to plant additional plugs between the pavers, spacing each plug 6 to 8 inches apart.

    • Place a level on top of the ground and add additional compost to level the surface of the ground out until it is smooth and even with no dips.
    • Pick up a clump of mondo grass, such as from a purchased pot, and separate it into 50 to 100 small plugs.

    Water the area thoroughly until the soil between the pavers is completely moist.

    Fertilize the mondo grass with a granular 5-10-15 fertilizer once a month. To encourage growth you can also apply a liquid fertilizer once a month for the first six months.