Australia’s recent heatwave has re-ignited the imperative of supporting tree canopy cover in Urban Areas. Homeowners and town planers alike have an imperative to retain water on the land they control, not just for their own immediate microclimate benefit, but for cities as a whole. StoneSet driveway Concrete Resurfacing (as well as fully Porous paving) are one of the best water retention strategies recommended by University researchers.
Summertime across Australia brings holidays and a great opportunity to escape the heat, down at the beach! But in our Cities, temperature extremes expose the shortcomings of our trend toward higher density living, manifest as the Urban Heat Island Effect.
An article published earlier this week in ABC Science news detailed University research into a number of proven strategies to reduce the severity of heat felt during heatwaves. Installing Porous paving was one proven strategy recommended for homeowners, with the potential to cool the local ambient temperatures by a massive 6 degrees!
Other key suggestions were
– Plant deciduous trees on the northern side of property (let in light during winter)
– Limit windows facing sun, or install double glazed windows on sun facing sides
– West facing solar installation (generates power during peak ‘sun down’ periods)
– Lighter colored roofs to reflect sun rather than absorb it.
Porous paving recommended for homes
Almost every Australian felt the severity of this recent three day heat wave, forecast over the weekend preceding Australia Day. The worst of course hit on Australia day for Sydney and Brisbane experiencing highs of 30 and 40 degrees respectively.
Yet this heatwave was minor compared with the brutal 3 consecutive 40 degree days, experienced in Adelaide back in 2017. In analysing heat-mapped images, Researchers at Macquarie University revealed a massive 6 degree reduction in temperature during a 40 degree day, that trees and greenery provided.
Research consensus is that more trees combined with on-site water retention technologies (like Porous Paving and rain gardens) were some of the easiest and cheapest ways to safeguard our homes and cities from the sever effects of future heatwaves.
Adelaide have already mandated prior approval of any tree removal for new building sites and Western Australia have also introduced a $750,000 grant to drive the plantation of new trees in urban developments. This as well as the NSW governments 5 Million Tree scheme to encourage urban greening across greater Sydney.
Porous Paving = healthy trees and shade
The bigger the tree, the greater the shade, correct?
Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Big trees can grow more branches and bigger canopies, only if they are supported by healthy ground water levels. This is why Arborists are so often becoming involved within our cities and new Developments.
More hard surfaces reduce groundwater, which adversely affects the health of the tree, reducing the canopy cover, even to the point where large limbs become a risk of dropping of and causing accidents or injury. It is not practical to line our urban areas with grass (or other ‘porous’ soft-scapes like mulch).
In some developments this is due to higher land prices relative to lower building materials costs – a reverse of the old-world where land was in abundance. Because houses are getting bigger and land plots are smaller, there has gradually been less room for porous surfaces that support trees and plants
“We need to place a higher social and economic value on trees and green space in our cities.”
StoneSet Porous paving is one of the most innovative and durable solutions that balances ‘free draining’ porosity with the kind of durability required in urban areas.
This is why StoneSet has been used time and time again by councils to support the health of important trees in heavily trafficked pathways such as Manly Corso and Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium and thousands of trees across council areas Australia wide!
Scroll our gallery of tree surrounds below!
Re-directing Driveway runoff with StoneSet
If you already have a driveway but you want to resurface it AND achieve a water sensitive outcome to cool your property, then StoneSet offers a method to divert surface runoff to your lawn!
Mondays article also referenced Water Sensitive Urban Design expert Tim Fletcher from the University of Melbourne. He referenced this technique StoneSet can employ;
You can also design your driveway so water flows into the garden instead of going out into the street. You see this effect, known as ‘green pick’, on the edges of country roads.
One of the lesser know benefits of StoneSet’s concrete resurfacing is the ability to re-direct driveway run off to the sides of the driveway, rather than out on the street or down the driveways strip drains.
Because all StoneSet applications are fully porous, water flows through the voids between the stones freely. When StoneSet is used for resurfacing – installed at 16mm thickness on an existing concrete driveway, runoff will flow below the surface of StoneSet, following the existing falls of the surface below.
So even for an existing driveway with a non-porous concrete base – resurfacing with a 16mm layer of StoneSet gives homeowners the chance to redirect runoff bu using strips of metal that in effect create small drainage channels beneath the surface.
When designed correctly, these strips act to funnel the sub-surface runoff to the sides of your driveway. This on-site water retention effect would cater for the the majority of rain events, with major downpours resulting in water saturating the pores in the 16mm StoneSet layer before water would continue to drain as normal into strip drains or out to stormwater channels on the street.
Australia’s Porous Paving experts
Are you looking for ways you can increase the soft-scape porous areas on your property? Talk to us now about some DIY ideas for pathways or how StoneSet can be used to either resurface and divert water to your lawn (through driveway pick methods) or through our fully porous paving solution for new driveways.