Cape May Porous Pavement PatioPorous pavement walkways are becoming more popular in the area – even down the shore!

Garrett Churchill traveled to West Cape May, NJ for our furthest project to date. A homeowner was desperate for help coming up with a solution for building the patio they needed, with the look they wanted, while still abiding by township regulations.

We worked with our good friends at E.S. Templeton on this project. Based out of Ambler, the Templeton team has worked with Garrett Churchill on a number of projects throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. However, this project had several unique issues that would make it a challenge for everyone involved.

Problem #1: Township Restrictions

The Cape May homeowner had a house and barn built on his property. While the structures were beautiful, they immediately created the first problem with this project: no more impervious surfaces were permitted on the property.

Impervious surfaces are any surface that does not allow water to pass through it (such as your home foundation, a patio, a shed, walkways, or a driveway). Every zoning district within a municipality is allowed a certain percentage of impervious surface. Once the maximum is hit, you are required to perform stormwater mitigation in order to prevent dangerous flooding caused by rainwater runoff.

Unfortunately, even stormwater mitigation can cause problems. Municipalities are trying to deal with stormwater runoff and develop that can no longer be supported by antiquated storm sewers built before such large populations began settling throughout the area.

In this case, the simple solution to this problem was to build a porous patio. However, the homeowners threw a new twist into the mix.

Problem #2: Choosing The Right Materials

Porous pave is a combination of rubber chips, rock, and binder. For an excellent example of how a finished porous pave project looks, check out this porous walkway that Garrett Churchill built in Elkins Park.

The end result has a very unique look that fits very well with most landscape designs. However, the homeowner not thrilled with the overall look of the product. This meant coming up with a unique blend of materials that would still create a porous surface when set, while leaving the patio looking perfect to the homeowner.

Fortunately, we’re very experienced with this type of work which led the E.S. Templeton team to contact us rather than relying on local South Jersey contractors.

We ordered a batch of 3/8″ river rock and mixed it with the same binder used in our traditional porous pave jobs. With this unique mix, water will still flow quickly through the surface, and the patio will look exactly as the client had hoped. The township approved, which meant it was finally time to get to work.

Work Finally Begins With Problem #3

Cape May Porous Pavement 1 web

Moisture in the river rock caused the binding to foam. What a mess!

Installation involved excavating the area 6” deep, installing a geotextile fabric, 4” of ¾” clean stone, and then the river rock mixed with the binder. This is where the next issue arose.

Because the mixture we used requires a dry environment in order to properly bind, we had to plan our work around the weather and install the patio during a time when there would be no rainfall for a 24-hour period after installation. Unfortunately, the problem came not from the weather, but from our materials.

We purchased three tons of river rock, which had been washed and kiln-dried. We were assured that the kiln-drying had completely evaporated the moisture from the rocks.

However, the rock was not dry enough and contained enough moisture that the binder foamed in the first few batches we mixed. Needless to say, this was not only difficult to clean up, but set us back in our work a bit.

With our one-day project now extended to a three-day challenge, our only option for getting the job done on time was to dry the rock ourselves.

We raked the rock around in a dumpster, heating the material with roofing torches until it was dry enough. See this video for more:

Finally, with our materials ready to use and the weather forecast working in our favor, we were able to complete the project. The end result turned out great, and our timing couldn’t have been better. We finished in time for E.S. Templeton to finish their work before the client closed on the house. The finished product was wonderful!

As an added bonus, the new plant installations will love all of the moisture they get as water seeps into the ground through the porous patio!

No matter the challenge, the Garrett Churchill team is ready to tackle your project and give you the landscape you’ve always wanted. If you’ve been considering porous pavement for your landscape, give us a call. We’ll schedule your in-home consultation and start planning your project right away.

Click here to schedule your in-home consultation with Garrett Churchill.

Porous Pavement Installation Photos
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Andy Sykes

Andy Sykes is the owner of Garrett Churchill Inc. Connect with him on Google+.