Planting A Grass Driveway With Grow-Through Pavers

by Amanda

grass driveway, grass growing

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.

grass driveway, closeup of 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.”

grass driveway, truck and driveway

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.

  1. Child playing with dog in grass

    Say goodbye to constant lawn maintenance and enjoy your yard more than ever, thanks to our No Mow Lawn & Microclover Seed Mix. No Mow Grass includes deep green, low-growing fescues w...

    Learn More
    No Mow Lawn & Microclover Seed Mix No Mow Lawn & Microclover
    As low as $79.95 Sale $75.95
    Per 5 Pounds
    Say goodbye to constant lawn maintenance and enjoy your yard more than ever, thanks to our No Mow Lawn & Microclover Seed Mix. No Mow Grass includes deep green, low-growing fescues with a soft texture. Microclover spreads densely and evenly, creating a cushiony feel while discouraging pests and acting as a natural lawn fertilizer. Dense growth prevents weeds, and the established lawn is highly drought resistant. This mix is ideal for high traffic areas, durable for kids, and resistant to pet spots. Get the look of a traditional, manicured lawn – without all the work.
  2. child laying in wildflower lawn

    Our No Mow Flowering Lawn Seed Mix is the perfect solution for a charming pollinator-friendly lawn. No Mow Grass features drought resistant, low-growing fescues with a soft texture a...

    Learn More
    No Mow Flowering Lawn Seed Mix No Mow Flowering Lawn
    As low as $124.95 Sale $118.70
    Per 5 Pounds
    Our No Mow Flowering Lawn Seed Mix is the perfect solution for a charming pollinator-friendly lawn. No Mow Grass features drought resistant, low-growing fescues with a soft texture and deep green color. Clover creates a cushiony feel while acting as a natural fertilizer, and English Daisies add elegance and charm. Put away your lawnmower – pack up a picnic and enjoy this beautiful, low-maintenance lawn.
  3. Microclover Seed (Pelleted)

    Microclover is ideal for a sustainable, low-maintenance yard. This tiny white clover spreads densely and evenly, preventing weed growth and creating a soft yet highly durable surface...

    Learn More
    Microclover Seed (Pelleted) Microclover Seed (Pelleted) Trifolium repens var. Pipolina
    As low as $12.95 Sale $12.30
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Microclover is ideal for a sustainable, low-maintenance yard. This tiny white clover spreads densely and evenly, preventing weed growth and creating a soft yet highly durable surface for high traffic areas. It can be planted on its own, or paired with grass seeds, where it acts as a natural fertilizer for a lush, self-sustaining lawn. It’s cold hardy, drought tolerant, and stays green from spring through fall. Seeds are coated for even distribution and easy handling.

    For best results, we recommend planting Microclover 4-6 weeks before your average first frost date in Fall, or as early as two weeks before your last frost date in Spring. Perennial.

  4. Fall Cover Crop Seed Mix

    Fall cover crop mix is a ready-to-sow green manure perfect for renewing soils. This mix improves soil health through addition of organic matter, soil aeration, and nitrogen fixation....

    Learn More
    Fall Cover Crop Seed Mix
    As low as $4.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Fall cover crop mix is a ready-to-sow green manure perfect for renewing soils. This mix improves soil health through addition of organic matter, soil aeration, and nitrogen fixation. Green manures provide living mulch that protects soils from winter erosion. Take advantage of the fallow season to enrich your soil with this dynamic mix of winter wheat, field peas, annual rye grass, red clover, and hairy vetch.

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.

grass driveway, grass

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.

grass driveway, grass

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.

grass driveway, closeup

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.

  1. Radiant Glow Coral Bells Collection
Caramel Coral Bells Image Courtesy of Walter's Garden Inc

    Our Radiant Low-Grow Coral Bells Collection shines year-round with richly hued foliage, providing attractive evergreen groundcover in shaded gardens and containers. In summer, flower...

    Learn More
    Radiant Low-Grow Coral Bells Collection Radiant Glow Coral Bells Collection Heuchera
    As low as $62.65 Sale $46.99
    Per Collection of 4
    Our Radiant Low-Grow Coral Bells Collection shines year-round with richly hued foliage, providing attractive evergreen groundcover in shaded gardens and containers. In summer, flower spikes feature dainty, bell-shaped blooms. Our Low-Grow Collections are perfect for transforming your yard from lawn to flowers, a few square feet at a time! Coral Bells are highly adaptable and deserve a place in every garden. Plant below taller perennials, as edging for a garden border, or as a no-mow lawn alternative. Collection of 4 or 12 plants.
  2. Blue Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica

    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,...

    Learn More
    Virginia Bluebells Virginia Bluebells Mertensia virginica
    As low as $17.32 Sale $12.99
    Per Bag of 3
    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, plant Virginia Bluebells to see early spring blooms and frequent visits from pollinators. This native plant increases in size each year and will form a beautiful colony over time with almost no care from the gardener. (Mertensia virginica)
  3. Shade Loving Pre-Planned Garden - Small

    Plant a cool, colorful oasis with a Shade Garden! These perennial plants establish themselves beautifully in spots with less sun, so you can spend more time enjoying unique blooms an...

    Learn More
    Shade Loving Pre-Planned Garden - Small Shade Loving Pre-Planned Garden - Small
    $155.99 Sale $116.99
    Per Garden of 17 Plants
    Plant a cool, colorful oasis with a Shade Garden! These perennial plants establish themselves beautifully in spots with less sun, so you can spend more time enjoying unique blooms and striking foliage out of the exhausting summer heat. Discover a world of feathery plumes, mottled foliage and treasured woodland flowers. This Pre-Planned Garden comes with a garden layout map to make planting easy.
  4. Creeping Thyme, Thymus praecox Coccineus with Lavender

    Creeping Thyme Coccineus is one of the very best flowering groundcovers. 1 to 3 inches tall in sun or partial shade. (Thymus praecox)...

    Learn More
    Creeping Thyme Coccineus Creeping Thyme Thymus praecox
    As low as $9.32 Sale $6.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Creeping Thyme Coccineus is one of the very best flowering groundcovers. 1 to 3 inches tall in sun or partial shade. (Thymus praecox)
© 2022 AmericanMeadows.com All rights reserved