Category: Tree Pit

Councils Choose StoneSet for Tree Surrounds

This years’ drought across the eastern seaboard has become a stern reminder on inadequate design for water conservation. Environmental considerations are sometimes forgotten or left as a ‘nice to have’ at the point of design.


Council Tree Surrounds

Council Tree Surrounds for hard surface, soft landscaping

Australian urban councils typically have set a number of guidelines and rules that one must follow when paving surfaces to comply with their building laws.

Homeowners are familiar with these apply to driveways, gardens, extensions and other paved areas. They are particularly relevant to hardscaping public areas, including tree surrounds.

Typically found on pathways, on roadsides, in cities, and shopping areas. Because councils recognise the environmental and social benefits of trees in these spaces, they are found on nearly every city shopping street.

Having various options available for creating tree surrounds, Councils need to factor in lognevity, appearance, safety, cost and porosity. Natural stone has many of these advantages and no other surface is as comprehensively effective for tree surrounds than StoneSet, which we have explained in the past post on tree surrounds here.

For homeowners, you can get the advantages of tree surrounds as well! We recommend to contract a professional construction company that will help you to meet council requirement. StoneSet is always available to guide and help you with all paving aspects and requirements.




































Kiama Tree Surrounds four years on

Four years ago, in readiness for Kiama’s 100 year celebrations, the council asked StoneSet to install Terracotta resin bound paving to the tree surrounds on Terralong Street. (more…)

Why are StoneSet rubber tree pits the best?

Trees like to move and in the hard landscaping world, they like to move a lot. (more…)

Porous Paving Applications: Keep Your Trees’ Thirsts Quenched

Combining the pastoral with the modern is a design strategy we see everywhere. From subdivisions to city roads, the combination of smooth modernity with the green of gardens and trees appeals to multiple needs at once. However, it isn’t easy to grow your trees in a concrete jungle. With proper planning, and a little help from porous paving, though, it can be done.


Landscape Architects Can Design Low Maintenance Tree Surrounds

Landscape Architects are frequently asked to find creative ways to include green space in projects within urban surroundings that feature hard surfaces. The use of trees is often limited by the need to maintain the surrounding surface mulch or mowing requirements. Additionally, the accumulation of weeds, rodent damage and frequent foot traffic around curb-side tree trenches can cause tree growth problems.


3 Ways You Will Benefit From A Porous Tree Surround

You spend a lot of time and effort on your trees, and you want to get the best use out of them. This is why we offer porous tree surrounds.


10 years – Tree Surrounds

StoneSet will officially celebrate 10 years of project installations this coming 16th December. Over that period we’ve completed thousands of landscaping installations, Australia wide. (more…)

Tree Pit Talk

Tree Pits 

There is a lot of opinion over the best spec for a porous tree pit paving specification. We have been installing tree pits for nearly 20 years and worked with a lot of engineers, architects, landscapers, and arborists.

There is no single specification or product mix that solves all scenarios, so we try to work on a job by job basis. Here is a summary of some of the most common considerations:


New urban tree installation

Typically found on pathways, on roadsides, in cities, and shopping areas. Because councils recognise the environmental and social benefits of trees in these spaces, they are found on nearly every city shopping street.

The main issue associated with these trees is that the soil around the tree and structural base mix on top of that is new it has had no time to settle. Compacting is often difficult because of area restriction (these pits are typically about 1.2m x 1.2m) and protection of the new tree.

Tree pit sinkage

Tree pit sinkage

Our best advice for these areas is to fill the area intended to be paved with porous paving to the top, and allow it to settle naturally over the course of a few months. They should be hand compacted a few times over this period and topped up with loose aggregate to minimise trip hazard.

Once the area has settled fully, the top 30-40mm of loose stone can be removed, and the StoneSet is then simply applied on top.

Of course this is not always possible, so hand compact as much as possible and allow some excess budget to reapply the top layer of paving in the event of any sinkage.


New tree surround install

New tree surround install


Existing urban tree surround

When we are installing over an established tree, it is usually just a matter of removing 30-40mm of the top layer and replacing with new StoneSet paving. Tree roots can be an issue, so we will allow a small gap when finishing up to a trunk (about 50mm) and tree roots (about 20mm). This is done in consideration of trip hazards and potential root movement or tree growth.

Tree Surround, Freemantle, WA

Exisiting tree in Freemantle, WA


Tree Collars

We will always recommend the installation of a 200mm dia. tree collar for new or young trees. The inside of the collar can be back filled with loose stone after installation of the StoneSet porous paving to discourage the accumulation of litter.

We recommend creating a metal ring tree collar, which can be removed or left in place.

Large tree collar back filled with blue metal

Large tree collar back filled with blue metal


Stone or Rubber

Stone offers a strong, solid finish that performs as a pathway in the same way the surrounding concrete, blocks or asphalt will. For longevity it relies on good compaction of base, and minimal root and tree trunk disruption. We generally recommend the incorporation of rubber within the stone mix if roots are prominent or cracking has been an issue previously. See this video to see the flexibility you can achieve with this blend.

Why not just use rubber on its own, you might ask? Well, in our experience rubber has two main flaws as a product for tree surround paving.

Unlike solid stone, rubber granules are susceptible to shrinkage. This can lead to gaps appearing around the edge of the tree pit and ultimately result in lifting of the surface.

The second is a concern regarding porosity. Rubber granules are generally used in a 4mm size, which leaves very small voids for water penetration. It also leaves a finish with greater surface tension, which needs to be broken each time it starts to rain to allow the flow of water. This means the root ball won’t receive as much water as a stone 6 or 10mm finish. The tree will then be more likely to go looking for water, leading to more root movement and the potential of surface movement or cracking.

Rubber granules are a great addition to many scenarios, but need to be used within a mix of stone to create a hardwearing, stable surface and maximise void content.

The Entrance tree pits Charcoal rubber glass

StoneSet rubber mix tree pit


Tree Trenches

A tree trench is the term we use to describe a large area that has trees in it, but has areas between the trees that will be trafficable by foot. A nature strip, as pictured, would be a tree trench.

With tree trenches you need to consider the higher than normal volume of traffic using the areas between the trees. All preparation and consideration is the same as a normal tree pit, but with the area away from the tree trunk needing to be treated as a regular footpath. This means gaining compaction to match required specification for use, and if compaction is an issue, the use of a recycled plastic cellular system to give base stability and load bearing capability without risk of sinkage. We use the Atlantis Gravel Cell.

1221, Macquarie Park Gravel Cell

Trench reinforced with Gravel Cell


Particle Size

There are two main considerations when deciding on particle size – expected traffic, and porosity required.

Large tree surrounds have a good catchment area so a smaller stone can be used. We would recommend no smaller than 6mm. Small tree pits will generally receive less foot traffic but require a higher void content to maximise water penetration. A 10mm stone is recommended in this case.

1602, Campbell Section 5, Tree Pits, 10mm Koonunga1 SMALL

10mm tree pit StoneSet mix in a Canberra Park


StoneSet always looks at each project based on its own merits, and will customise a solution and product mix recommendation depending on the individual site requirements.