Private Residence

Permeable pavers help homeowners comply with impervious surface limits

When homeowners in suburban St. Paul, Minn., wanted to add an outdoor living space between a driveway and their home, their plans exceeded the municipality’s limit on impermeable surfaces.

“We had installed a basketball court behind our garage some years ago,” said Maryanna Schaefer of Falcon Heights. “So when we checked with the city, we found out that we could only have about 30 percent non-permeable surfaces. Since we live on a narrow lot that is extra deep, we were at the maximum with our long driveway, the footprint of our home and garage, and the basketball court.”

Maryanna and Dan Schaefer were thrilled when they learned that Willow Creek permeable paving stones were the perfect solution. They wanted dining and grilling areas and also needed a space for additional parking as their children were now driving. Limits on impervious surfaces are not uncommon in urban areas because of the effects of stormwater runoff on groundwater quality.

Permeable pavers allow stormwater and snowmelt to infiltrate naturally into the ground. Permeable pavers can reduce stormwater runoff by 90 percent, keeping pollutants out of the storm sewer system and rivers, lakes and streams, according to the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute.

“Some of the single family lots in the city under 7,370 square feet can have up to 45 percent impervious surface,” said Deb Jones, who is zoning and planning director for Falcon Heights. “Then there is a formula for larger lots. The larger the lot is the smaller percentage of impermeable coverage, which can run from about 15 to 30 percent. When homeowners look into alternative solutions like permeable pavers, it’s a win-win for residents who want to be environmentally sensitive, and for the city in moving toward stormwater management goals,” said Jones.

The Schaefers contacted Villa Landscapes in Oakdale, Minn. “We were delighted to see all the paver options from Willow Creek,” said Maryanna. “Villa designer Andy Lofboom was so helpful. He came up with a beautiful design that far exceeded our expectations. With the colors and patterns, it doesn’t look like a sea of concrete. It ties our home and driveway together perfectly.”

At 8 cm thick, Brickstone permeables in a herringbone pattern provide excellent stability for vehicle parking. Brickstone borders alternating in Sandstone and Sedona colors define the dining and firepit areas, where Aqua-Loc permeable pavers in Sedona provide a beautiful definition and contrast in both color and shape.

The outdoor living space includes a dining area, firepit surrounded by a VERSA-LOK seat wall, and steps that connect the patio to a sliding door and a side entrance. The patio connects to the driveway too, to allow for additional parking space when needed.

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About the Project

Falcon Heights, MN
Dan & Maryanna Schaefer
Villa Landscapes, Oakdale, MN
Villa Landscapes, Oakdale, MN
Willow Creek Concrete Products, Oakdale, MN
Products Used
Product Color
Sedona, Sandstone
Square Feet