Block paving driveway – Can it be maintenance free

January 8th, 2013

Block paving driveway- can it be maintenance free?

Block paving driveway  –  One of the information websites we use has raised the  age old question – – can it be maintenance free?  This particular garden designer had just completed a front garden design including a new driveway.  Their client had asked for any surface EXCEPT  block paving as were concerned with the problem with weeds.

  • Is block paving  harder to maintain than other driveway surfaces?
  • Is there a trick to keeping this surface looking neat and tidy?
  • Can it be maintenance free?
  • Should we be looking at tarmac, asphalt, imprinted concrete, concrete or resin bonded stone or gravel (which uses existing surfaces)?

There are various schools of thought on this

“Block paving is  a nightmare to keep weed free without a lot of maintenance, customers just don’t want to pay but usually have to.  A properly prepared and laid tarmac surface is a better option maintenance wise. Gravel is good and maintainable providing again that it is laid and contained properly and the correct size/type is choosen”

” Amilitox + Glyphosate twice a year and it keeps block paving generally weed and moss free. The key is to not let weeds establish and not let organic matter build up in the joints. Gravel is pretty much the same”

“In short there is  virtually nothing maintenance free in the garden and block paving is an ideal environment for weeds to seed in.  Still not much effort to keep on top of it reguarly”

“Block paving driveways are our biggest problem – have a look at this “cleaning paving” page from the Paving Expert – down in the last paragraph there’s two links – one to “sealants for paving” and the other to “block paving sealants” – the guy’s pretty thorough”

” I’ve never found it a problem…… a decent residual weedkiller in the Spring…. I use one called Chikara but have used Pistol as well in the past. Also treat paving with MMC-PRO which will kill off any existing moss and keep it clear for most of the year… it also brings up the block paving like new. So for about £30 a year, you can keep it looking fine.”

“With the banning of 98% of residual pesticides for hard surfaces last April, spot spraying or using Roundup with a narrow fan jet is an option.This and regular ‘traffic’ keeps most block paving areas clear (and a little bit of strimming) ”

“More of a problem is the build up of moss or algae, which is not normally treatable using standard pesticides. Qualgex, MMC Pro etc are effective, following by either: – hard manual brushing, using a Stihl Power brush (highly recommended) or for V large areas using a pedestrian sweeper (ie a Madvac or Green Machine). Often in high traffic area it is resolved automatically after chemical treatment”.

All surfaces need maintenance of some sort or other  – it just needs to be considered when laying.

The problem with spraying is  relative to old style block paving (which I understand is still classed as impermeable & why you allow for drainage to channels etc) would still constitute blanket spraying due to the ratio of the spray width to the 3mm sand gap.

The new SUDS compliant block paving (which should be permeable and porous),  laid with fine grit in between is an interesting anomaly but it is  still suggested  that over 80% of spray would be ‘hitting’ hard surfaces and thus be ‘blanket spraying’

“Targeted” spraying of hard surfaces with residuals is still allowed.

Daily traffic will keep block paving 90% clear, a monthly ‘Roundup’ (other products are available!) application with a couple of MMC’s will keep it looking fine. Laziness is usually the problem – not the paving!

Landscape Juice network “Paving” members comment further on block paving permeability so we will keep our eye on this subject matter and possibly be able to update as more information and deveolpments occur.

It has always been a fallacy (until recently) that block was permeable. Within a few months it would react as any other paving and needed appropriate falls – as many have found to their cost!


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