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BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time Permeable Paving Discussion

Gardeners’ Question Time is a weekly radio show on BBC Radio 4 from 3pm until 4pm. During last weeks episode (4th January 2019) listeners were treated to an engaging piece from Carol and Manoj who were discussing the use of gravel grids and permeable paving such as X-Grid® to create a gravel driveway within a front garden. Many benefits of using permeable and porous paving solutions were talked about in depth, these are just a few examples:

  • Allowing water to drain away into the ground below instead of creating runoff into nearby flood prone drains,
  • Being able to still grow plants and flowers even with the installation of gravel grids,
  • A strong surface that can easily hold the weight of a car,
  • A permeable surface ensures more liquid reaches plants and flowers.

The Gardeners' Question Time Transcript

When it came to actually thinking about the space for parking we looked at a permeable solution which means that when it rains water will go straight down into the soil and then be taken up again by the trees and vegetation around the garden.

So this is a perfect time of year to start planning ahead with your front garden? Give us your top tips to create an environmentally friendly front garden.

I always say first off, you really need to think about it not as a parking space but as a garden where you are going to put a car.

I would start with what separates you from the road so I would put in a hedge and that would do all sorts of things, it will bring in wildlife and it will also help to screen pollutants from the street.

My number two would be to think about wherever you possibly can putting in some planting and taking out hard surfaces, The way that we did that was we created a honeycomb system, so it is a system of plastic grids into which you can put or in this case we put gravel and they’re sturdy enough to take the weight of cars driving over the top of them so they’ll bear the weight of vehicles.

Carol, I love this honeycomb system that you’ve used here and what I really like about it is that it actually contains the gravel, so it stops the gravel from moving around too much. Are there other materials that can be combined that could kind of do the same job?

Well you could use any type of aggregate as long as it isn’t too tiny and doesn’t get squashed down into the honeycomb system. Alternatively, you can actually put soil and seed into the system as well so it can become like a living surface, like a living carpet as it were as long as you don’t have too much heavy traffic over it.

There are also other options that you can use for permeable or porous paving, so there are pavers that are designed so that when you lay them next to each other there are actually gaps which allow the water to go down into the soil.

What is the importance behind that? What should people be taking away with them about that?

Well there are various things; one is that it’s cooling the gardens. It’s also not flowing out into the street and there’s a big problem especially in cities with flooding of drains when it rains and that’s because we have so much hard surface and the water goes straight out into the streets.


As Carol and Manoj said, there are many fantastic benefits associated with using gravel grids to create strong and permeable driveways or paths.

One of the best gravel grids on the market is our very own X-Grid®. Manufactured right here in the UK and made from 100% recycled plastic. It’s unique design allows for optimum permeability and enables each m² of grid to hold up to 420 tonnes. Along with these benefits, our grid is also UV resistant, weather resistant, lightweight and easy to install, it is estimated that one person is able to lay 100m² per hour.

Every image in the video at the top of this article includes X-Grid®. The video shows how versatile our gravel/grass grid is and how it can be used to create paths, driveways, car parks and so much more.

If you have any questions about our X-Grid®, please do not hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable sales team who will be able to help with your enquiry.

One Reply to “BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time Permeable Paving Discussion

  1. Recycled plastic, i have never come across this concept before, sounds a fantastic idea.
    It’s about time all these throw away materials were used for building materials one way or another. I will look into using this for my own driveway this summer. Thank you

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