Natural grass car parks can be sustainable and aesthetically pleasing when installed as part of a professionally designed, free-draining reinforced paving system to help protect the surface from vehicular traffic damage.
Grass car parking is a desirable surface for applications where the environmental benefits of a permeable SuDS surface or the requirement for a more natural aesthetic are required. Cost constraints and Planning restrictions associated with specifying a hard paved car parking surface and areas of overflow grass parking are other considerations why engineered natural grass may be specified.
Where cars are allowed to park on unreinforced grass, lawns and fields; the natural local soils are rarely adequately stable or free-draining to sustain traffic. Intensive and repetitive vehicle movements of cars parking in cold wet conditions or always in the same location, can quickly cause grass abrasion, compaction and rutting. This can result in a waterlogged, hazardous and unserviceable muddy grass surface.
The solution to a successful and sustainable grassed car park is to specify a well designed and professionally engineered grass reinforcement system, capable of stabilising the pavement surface, whilst remaining free-draining and protecting grass roots to enable healthy grass growth. The grass paving or grass reinforcement system’s structural surface must also retain and protect the soil fill, but remain sufficiently porous enough to allow surface water to drain freely through into the underlying profile. The anticipated frequency of use must always be taken into consideration when planning the development of a successful grass paved parking surface.
Permeable plastic grass pavers can provide a porous surface for car parking applications. Permeable plastic grass pavers are interlocking cellular paving grids which allow rainwater to infiltrate freely through into the subgrade or designed sub-base, to attenuate surface water run-off. A professionally designed and installed permeable grass paving grid system can form part of sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS) whilst providing a safe, stable and environmentally acceptable alternative to hard paving.
Similarly a natural grass and discreetly reinforced grass reinforcement solution, with no visible surface structures, is also achievable through installation of a sub-surface mesh reinforced rootzone that combines selected soils with a reinforcing plastic mesh element system. When the turf roots anchor with the mesh elements, the result is a stable, safe and invisibly engineered natural grass surface which remains free-draining, traffickable and compaction resistant, yet capable of high-load bearing capacity with potential for increased wear tolerance.