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Permeable Pavers in Scented Garden

March 3, 2021

By Chris McAnally, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, Royal Botanical Gardens.

At RBG we’ve been interested in incorporating permeable paving on our property for some time. We completed our first project in 2020 and we’re looking forward to introducing it to our guests in 2021.

After completing research on a variety of options and considering a few potential locations to install, we decided to pilot a particular type of permeable pavers at the Scented Garden in Hendrie Park. The Scented Garden was a great site to install these pavers as it is contained within a courtyard that features the iconic Hendrie Gates, and the surface at the time needed improvement for accessibility and aesthetics. In the summer of 2020 (a little delayed due to COVID-19) the installation work was completed and the Scented Garden has never looked better.

Scented Garden courtyard featuring Hendrie Park Gates with old gravel pathway.
Before, fine gravel covers the Scented Garden Courtyard.
scented garden new pavers around hendrie park gates
After, smooth pavers in Scented Garden Courtyard
scented garden new pavers around the fountain
After, smooth pavers in Scented Garden Courtyard

There are two major benefits to this installation in the Scented Garden, it improves RBG’s environmental sustainability, and also improves upon accessibility in Hendrie Park.

Environmental Sustainability

The Scented Garden’s permeable surface helps manage stormwater runoff by allowing precipitation to flow into, and be temporarily stored within, the ground on site instead of converging on a storm water drain. During extreme weather events large amounts of precipitation can overwhelm local stormwater infrastructure and the result is often flooding which can carry pollution into the local watershed. The former Scented Garden had stormwater basins that directed precipitation into the ground towards Hendrie Valley, but with our new permeable surface, stormwater runoff will infiltrate into the soil as it should.

Most permeable paving projects use impermeable interlock pavers that direct water to permeable gaps in-between the bricks. Our solution features permeable recycled ceramic bricks and permeable gaps between bricks so the entire surface of the Scented Garden lets water drain through to the soil.

The new pavers are not only great for the environment, they provide a smooth stable surface that makes the Scented Garden fully accessible and opens up this area of Hendrie Park to more visitors.

Simple cross-section of the permeable surface in Scented Garden

cross-section of the permeable surface in Scented Garden
  1. Permeable recycled ceramic bricks and silica sand
  2. High performance bedding (Limestone aggregate)
  3. Clear washed aggregate
  4. Existing subsurface layer

Sustainability at RBG

At RBG our mission is to connect people, plants and place for the purpose of nurturing and preserving healthy growing life on our planet. Our mission, mandate and future are deeply connected to sustainability – working to meet our needs today in a way that doesn’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet theirs.