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Ask Aaron: Permeable patio

Permeable Patio
Image Credit: ECV-OnTheRoad | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"I want to replace my lawn with a permeable patio (likely broken and holey bricks). Are there any native groundcover plants that can handle light walking to grow in the spaces?" - Teki First off, great idea on the permeable patio! It’s such an efficient and environmentally friendly way to manage stormwater runoff in your yard... bravo! Unfortunately, many of the most common plants used in between paver stones are not native to the Midwest, or even North America. Plants like Irish Moss, Creeping Thyme, and Dwarf Mondo Grass are all fairly common across the United States, but certainly not native. It depends on how far apart your bricks are from each other (i.e. how much space is there for a plant to establish), but my recommendation would be something that, while also not native, is extremely beneficial to soil health and fairly easy to maintain: Dutch White Clover! It’s easy to establish (especially when mixed with an inoculant), fixes tons of nitrogen, will only grow to 6” or so, and actually does better when mowed and walked over! The variety “Wild White” survives foot traffic particularly well and is the lowest growing option.

I hope that helps, thanks!

- Aaron French | Urban Farm Manager


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