The Benefits of Permeable Paving for Sustainable Landscaping

Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. Let that sink in for a moment, and consider how scarce and valuable water is as a resource that we take for granted.

Good landscape design always seeks to be “sustainable”. But what does that actually mean – from both a design and end user perspective? Some of the ways that landscaping can incorporate sustainability include:

  • Minimising waste and reusing existing natural resources
  • Choosing native plants that suit the natural climate
  • Mulching to retain water in the soil
  • Minimising usage of potable water in the landscape through irrigation

These examples are apart of a broader set of design principles called Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) to sustainably manage water within residential areas and cities. The design principles of WSUD seek to promote natural water cycles, and minimise the effect of urbanisation on natural waterways and landscapes. WSUD illustrates these principles within their publically accessible case studies.

As cities grow and new houses and roads are built, the urbanisation results in natural environments being replaced with impermeable roofs and surfaces. Rainfall, that used to be absorbed by a natural landscape, instead runs off into stormwater drains carrying with it pollution and causing dry, inhospitable conditions within the urban environment.

porous pavementHow rain and stormwater is drained effectively to soil with porous pavement – Image sourced from Melbourne Water


For urbanisation to not be detrimental to the environment, new landscaping within the urban area uses WSUD principle to retain water and create a healthy, sustainable environment. Permeable paving plays an important role in WSUD by allowing water to drain through the pavement and into the soil beneath. This mimics the natural passage of water into the soil in a soft landscape, rather than running off as happens with normal impervious surfaces such as concrete or asphalt.

By draining water into the pavement, permeable paving meets WSUD principles for the following reasons:

  • Replenishing groundwater reserves, enhancing the health of adjacent plants
  • Reducing volume of stormwater that is discharged into the wastewater system
  • Carrying pollutants such as nitrogen back into the soil, rather than flushing them into waterways

Permeable paving is a great option to implement in commercial spaces, as it complies with councils’ requirements for permeability, tree protection, sustainability and WSUD compliance. Porous pavement can even be used as part of a wider design to enhance plant life within the urban landscape.


New Dawn Permeable Paving Case study – Tree Vaults within a commercial carpark

In this project, the team at New Dawn Permeable Paving were commissioned to install permeable paving over a tree root vault system. Our experiences with stormwater management in car parks and drainage knowledge equipped us to undertake this commercial project.

Beginning a Sustainable Draining Process

Tree root vaults, otherwise known as structural soil vaults, are widely used in commercial streetscapes to provide a pocket of uncompacted soil that tree roots can spread into – enhancing the health of trees in the urban environment and also preventing pavement damage from tree roots

car park tree pit for permeable paving


Installing A Root Cell

In this particular project, a Stratavault root cell was installed first onsite. The soil conditions on this site in Tarneit were particularly terrible and as a result meant that any planted trees would likely struggle to grow to maturity. Instead, the soil cell was filled with new healthy topsoil and provided a great environment for the tree roots to grow out into.

Stratacell being filled with topsoil onsite

Stratacell being filled with topsoil onsite

Once the stratacell was complete, our permeable paving system was then installed on top. First we installed our permeable concrete base, and then it was finished off with our resin bound permeable paving. The central garden beds were then planted out with mature trees and new plants. 

Completed Commerical Parking Bays

As a result the carpark bays which every time it rains will effectively drain water into a soil chamber beneath for the benefit of new urban trees. It doesn’t get better than that!

completed permeable paved parking bays


If you have a commercial project which requires permeable paving as part of a sustainable landscape design, then give us a call. We also assist at the design stage if specialist advice is required on the feasibility of permeable paving, in the context of a broader landscape design.

Integrate Sustainability Into Your Commerical Landscape Design

With our highly skilled team and unique equipment and processes, New Dawn Permeable Paving completes projects on time and to the highest standard. Email our team about designing a sustainable landscape with permeable paving and check out our Instagram for inspiration. Explore our past projects and case studies, including commercial-grade permeable paving in Victoria.