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5 tips for Drought Tolerant Landscaping in Melbourne

To understand Drought Tolerant landscaping, we need to first understand some of the technical terms in the world of soil chemistry and how that affects drought tolerance.

 

  1. “Plant Available Water” “PAW” Is the amount of water in the soil that is available for the plants and is between the water capacity and the plant wilting point or crop lower limit.
  2. “Plant Available Water Capacity” PAWC is the maximum amount of moisture that can a particular soil can hold 

 

1.     Organic Matter helps drought tolerant landscaping.

 

Whether you have a clay soil or a sandy soil, your garden will benefit from organic matter.

The soils ability to hold moisture will increase with the addition of organic matter. The additional organic matter works in two way. Firstly, organic matter has a higher water holding capacity than mineral soils. Secondly, the organic matter improves the soil structure allowing moisture to pass through the soil to the plant roots. In some cases, doubling the amount of organic matter in the soil can result in around 25% more water storage capacity.

Drought tolerant landscaping and the effect of organic matter.

Drought tolerant landscaping and the effect of organic matter. Increasing organic matter increases the amount of moisture that can be stored in the soil.

Soil Texture and Composition

Soil texture and composition also has a big effect on water storage capacity. Sandy soils with low percentage of clay and low percentage of organic matter are very poor at storing moisture.

Soil texture and the amount of moisture that can be stored in the soil.

The relationship between soil texture and the amount of moisture that can be stored in the soil.

Imported Topsoils

Often imported topsoils purchased to landscape your garden will be sandy loams. These are great soils for high traffic lawn areas, especially for the top 50mm of soil. If using imported topsoil for garden beds, mix the soil with some of the existing soils by cultivation of the subsoil to boost the clay content. This can also be done with the subsoil layers of the lawn areas. Also, order imported topsoils with a good percentage of organic matter included in the mix. Always use imported topsoil to Australian Standard (AS4419 Soils for Landscaping & Garden Use) and use mixes with higher levels of organic matter for garden beds.

 

The Effect of Clay in your garden soil

Clay soils can hold much more moisture than sandy soils. The fine clay particles are less than 2 microns, but there are so many clay particles in clay soils that the total surface area is much higher. The fine particles however, make it more difficult for the plant roots to penetrate the soil to extract the moisture. This results in the increase in the plant wilting point in high clay soils. Again, organic matter will help improve the texture of the soil so that roots can penetrate to access the moisture. If you have a reactive clay soil, then cultivating gypsum into the soil will also help.

 

Negatively charged clay particles repel each other.

Negatively charged clay particles repel each other.

 

 

2.     Mulch

According to a study by the University of Florida, mulch can reduce water losses by evaporation by up to 30%. Mulch however, does much more than just reduce evaporation. By rotting down into the topsoil, mulch adds to the organic matter in the top layer of soil. Mulch also greatly reduces erosion of the topsoil and helps to keep plant roots cooler by reducing the sun’s heat radiation into the lower layers of the topsoil. Mulch also plays a role in suppressing weeds, but if weeds do grow, they are much easier to remove.

Using Mulch for Drought Tolerant Landscaping

Using Mulch for Drought Tolerant Landscaping. Mulch also reduces erosion and weed growth as well as adding to the organic matter as it rots down.

 

Groundcovers

Groundcover plants can play a similar role to mulch in reducing the heat penetration into the soil and reducing evaporation from the soil.

Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla is a ground cover that makes life difficult for weeds.

Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla is a ground cover that makes life difficult for weeds.

3.     Drip Irrigation System

There was a time when an irrigation system meant garden sprinklers spraying huge amounts of water everywhere. This led to a great deal of wasted water with much of the spray landing on paths and driveways. Evaporation of the water from the surface of the garden was another cause of waste. Modern computer controlled closed loop drip irrigation systems are much more efficient.  With modern irrigation systems, water be delivered directly to the root tips.

Drought tolerant landscaping - Irrigation drip system

Drought tolerant landscaping – Irrigation drip system delivers water to the right place.

 

Water supplied to where it is most needed.

The plant uses osmosis to absorb water from the soil. The root hair cells, which are mostly near the root tips, are adapted for taking up both water and mineral ions. Part of this adaption is the large surface area of the root hairs exposed to the soil. Older root hairs tend to die off, so most of the living root hairs are concentrated near the root tips. Placing the irrigation drippers near the root tips means that water can be absorbed more efficiently.

 

Drought tolerant Landscaping -Osmosis and transpiration

Drought tolerant Landscaping -Osmosis and transpiration. The Root hairs near the tips take up the water and nutrients.

 

Closed loop computer control irrigation systems

Modern computer-controlled systems use feedback from remotes sensors to determine the water requirements for plants on each channel. Depending on the systems, sensor measure soil moisture, temperature, humidity and rainfall to estimate plant water requirements. Some new irrigation systems in agriculture are using Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning to irrigate crops more efficiently.

irrigation system

 

 

 

4.     Drought Tolerant Plants

Many plants have evolved to cope with dry conditions or the occasional drought. This includes many Australian Native Plants, Mediterranean Garden plants or plants from the dry parts of America and especially Mexico.

 

Drought tolerant Australian Native Plants

 

Amongst the Australian Native plants, Xanthorrhoea (Grass Tree) and Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paw) have outstanding ability to survive in dry sandy soils.

Australian yellow kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos pulcherrimus) in front of a grasstree

Australian yellow kangaroo paw flower (Anigozanthos pulcherrimus) in front of a grasstree

 

There are also many Australian Native grasses like Lomandra that are great for dry conditions.

 

Our favourite plants dry conditions in Melbourne gardens are the following;

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) – The Star Jasmine is moderately drought tolerant once it gets established. This evergreen climbing plant can be grown either as a vine, that can grow to more than 6 metres high, or as a ground cover. It can be grown in either partial shade of full sun.

Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides

Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides

 

Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila) – The fast growing climbing fig is tolerant to salt spray, drought and partial shade. This makes it a great plant for coastal gardens in suburbs like Hampton. It will grow to more than 5 metres under ideal conditions and can also be grown as a ground cover.

 

Drought Tolerant Landscaping Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)

Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)

 

Waterhousia floribunda or Weeping Lilly Pilly – Generally, the Lilly Pilly is a hardy and drought tolerant hedging or screening plant once it is fully established. It is a great Australian native alternative to the buxus hedge or Murraya. Despite being a rainforest plant, Waterhousia floribunda will survive a few dry spells once it is fully established.

 

Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousia floribunda

Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousia floribunda

 

Salvias like Salvia Leucantha (Mexican Sage Bush) are generally very drought tolerant. There are only a couple of salvia varieties that are not drought tolerant. The Leucantha is an Autumn flowering perennial which can add colour to your Melbourne garden in early May. Salvias can handle subtropical as well as temperate climates. This makes them a good plant for temperate climates like Melbourne.

 

Salvia leucantha purple flowering shrub

Salvia leucantha is a purple flowering shrub growing to around 1 metre tall.

 

 

Lomandra longifolia “tanika” is a hardy Australian Native grass that looks great and is tough as well as drought tolerant. With attractive blue-green foilage and yellow flowers in Spring, it is ideal for mass planting, but can also be planted in individual tufts.

The green lomandra makes a great contrast with this grey stone wall.

The green lomandra mass planting makes a great contrast with this grey stone wall.

Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock Grass) is another hardy Australian Native Grass. It will grow well in most soils, but will enjoy some moisture during summer. It can be cut back hard then heavily watered to create new growth. The long green leaves will turn a little silver in dry weather. It will flower from October to March with purple-green flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock Grass)

Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock Grass)

 

 

5.     Soil Wetting agents

 

The breakdown and decomposition of some organic matter will result in a waxy coating on some soil particles. This makes the soil hydrophobic. This is much more prevalent on sandy soils than clay soils. The obvious solution is to treat the garden with a surfactant or wetting agent before rain.

Drought Tolerant Landscaping hydrophobic-hydrophilic

Hydrophobic versus hydrophilic

 

A less obvious solution is to spread a little garden lime on the hydrophobic soil. The garden lime will do two things. Firstly, the increased PH will encourage bacteria that will break down the waxy material. Secondly, it will add fine particles to the soil. Some types of clay are also useful for reducing surface tension in the water droplets.

Drought Tolerant Plants in Commercial Landscaping

As part of the move towards greater sustainability, Landscape Architects are looking at methods to reduce fresh water consumption in commercial landscaping. These methods include rain gardens, blue roofs, rainwater storage with irrigation drip systems and, perhaps most importantly, drought tolerant Australian Native Plants.

Potted Plants for the commercial landscaping.

Sustainable commercial landscaping using drought tolerant plants. Establishing smaller Australian native drought tolerant plants early will save you money and water.

 

 

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping Melbourne

 

7 Great Salvia plants for your Melbourne Garden

 

5 top Landscape Design trends in Melbourne

 

Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Bush Sage

 

5 top tips. Landscaping Melbourne with Lomandra.

 

Coastal Garden Design

 

Melbourne Topsoil – 9 Great Money saving tips.

 

© Copyright Red’s Landscaping and Design – Melbourne Commercial Landscaping Specialist

 

References and further reading on Drought Tolerant Landscaping

 

The Impact of Mulch on evaporation – University of Florida

 

The Garden Professors – Mulch for reducing Evaporation.

 

Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants

 

Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria Growing Indigenous Plants.

 

Water repellency – Soilquality.org.au

 

Help your garden survive a drought.

 

Drought Tolerant Plants

 

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Building a Asphalt road. Will plastic be an important ingredient in the future.

Plastic Roads, the next step for Australia?

After hugely successful installations in Zwolle and Giethoorn in the Netherlands, plastic roads and paths are about to become mainstream. Now, two years after the concept was first tested, a team of plastic road specialists are taking the idea global, with Australia the next step on their journey.

Plastic roads? Is it as simple as it sounds?

There’s more to this concept than first meets the eye. Yes, the roads are made using plastic rather than asphalt, but it’s actually recycled plastic that elevates this product to the next level. As well as the plastic surface that road users will see, Aussie engineers will be able to access the prefabricated hollow space that is carefully designed for a whole range of purposes, like cable transiting, piping, road heating, generating energy, and moving water through. The circular economy played a major part in the design, and so these roads are both recycled and recyclable, not that they have a short life span, in fact, their designers expect that plastic roads will perform for three times as long as asphalt.

Plastic Road -

The hollow space that can be used to hold water to help prevent flooding or for the transit of cables and pipes.

 

What are the advantages of plastic roads for Australians?

● The lightweight and prefabricated hollow space allows more road to be built and faster, with ease of transport, and easier maintenance that is required less frequently
● With the lifespan being 3 times longer than asphalt, Australian roads and tax dollars can go further, for longer!
● Almost no deterioration from weeds and bad weather, and can handle constant traffic and safely drain water
● Noise-reducing, as the material absorbs more sound than asphalt
● Highly sustainable design using mostly recycled plastic, reusable and recyclable components, and based on the Cradle to Cradle and Circular Economy principles
● Effective hollow space design which appeals to civil engineers, with the increased functionality also making it plausible to innovate the roads for renewable energy capturing in the future
● Helping to tackle the problem of plastic waste, which is just as big a problem in Australia as in other countries

 

What problems are plastic roads tackling?

Of course, primarily the roads are tackling the faults of asphalt, but the secondary benefits go way beyond and contribute to a better society. Issues such as plastic waste, extreme weather, better mobility, quality urban development, crowded subsurfaces, and more can be addressed. Asphalt is not terrible, but it does not offer modern solutions to modern problems, and contractors, municipalities, provinces, and water authorities want more functionality and innovation from their roads.

Cyclists on a new road.

Cyclists on a plastic road.

 

How sustainable is this idea?

Here at Red’s Landscaping Melbourne, we’re keen to vet our supply chain, to assess our products, processes, and materials, and to ask big questions about sustainability to find better answers. When we heard about the plastic road concept, naturally it caught our attention.

The sustainability factor is high, because:
1. Plastic roads source a lot of recycled plastic for their manufacturing. In one of the trials in the Netherlands, 1,000kg of recycled plastic was used for a 30m cycle path. Scale that into a decent length of road surface and millions of tonnes could be sustainably utilised high up in the chain
2. The carbon footprint of recycled post-industrial plastic is much lower than asphalt, with manufacturers arguing a 50-70% reduction in CO2 emissions. As the production of the roads increases and processes scale, this percentage will improve even further
3. The innovation is based on the Cradle to Cradle philosophy, with elements of the Circular Economy also used as inspiration
4. The roads can be recycled at the end of their lifespan and turned into more plastic roads!
5. Plastic roads can be built directly on top of sand, saving the resources that would usually be used for a foundation. Australia has a lot of sand, so this is a big plus
6. Transporting the components for a plastic road is much easier and less energy-intensive than asphalt, and in fact, requires 85% less transport overall

Who is making the product?

Australia will welcome a collaborative team from PlasticRoad, KWS, Wavin, and Total in the first quarter of 2021 to begin industrial manufacturing.

 

Plastic Road infrastructure

Plastic Road infrastructure

 

Is this project unique, or is Australia trialling other road innovations?

In New South Wales, another plastic road project is underway, with the NSW Environment Protection Authority approving the use of Downer’s Reconophalt road surface product. This material also uses some recycled plastics and has been extensively tested to ensure that there is no release of microplastics or BPA leaching into the environment. As well as recycled plastic, the road mix contains toner, glass, and reclaimed road.

Building a Asphalt road. Will plastic be an important ingredient in the future.

Roller and workers on asphalting and repair of city streets. Will plastic soon be an important ingredient in road construction?

 

The recycled plastic is post-consumer, with a community network sourcing material from Coles, Woolworths, schools, councils, and businesses, with the help of RedCycle and Plastic Police. The first trials back in 2018 were a big victory for sustainable road surfacing and since then, roads have been laid in Australia Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Downer’s General Manager of pavements, Stuart Billing, is quoted as saying:

“We have invested significantly in research and development over a long period of time and I am incredibly proud of our team’s commitment to deliver a product that is environmentally safe, sustainable and outperforms standard asphalt. Even after a road has been laid with Reconophalt, the pavement is perpetually recyclable, providing a truly circular and sustainable solution for communities and generations to come. To us, it’s all about pulling products, not pushing waste.”

Final thoughts

Red’s Landscaping Melbourne are keen to see more and more sustainable innovations popping up around the country, giving a good indication that the construction and engineering industries are looking at their projects and asking tough questions.

 

Related Landscaping Articles from Red’s Landscaping Melbourne

Tennis Court Construction Balwyn Community Centre

 

5 Reasons For Using Recycled Plastic Composites

 

Eco garden: Gardening Made Easy

 

Eco Pools: Nature pools for the eco conscious

 

7 Great Reasons to choose Permeable Concrete

 

13 Best Reasons To Preserve Balwyn Urban Wetlands

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

 

More information on Plastic Roads

 

Building the Future

 

Downer’s Reconophalt road surface product

 

More information on plastics recycling

Boroondara Council A to Z recycling and waste guide.

 

 

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Composite Plastic Enviroslat Bench with cast in-situ concrete base.

5 Reasons For Using Recycled Plastic Composites

Melbourne Landscaping companies are now turning to an unlikely material for some of their wood finishes. The material: recycled plastic composite. Why not use wood itself? Here are the five best reasons…

 

Reason One: Toughness and Durability of Recycled Plastic Composites

Plastic is tougher than wood, and of course, that’s not to say wood isn’t tough, wood is an amazing and versatile material, but the facts don’t lie. Wood has a habit of splitting, snapping, splintering, grazing, and chipping, and through no fault of its own, it’s also a tasty snack for insects. Mould also loves wood and shows this love by growing all over it. Finally, wood is highly porous by nature, meaning it has to be covered in waterproofing oil to make it suitable for landscaping finishes. This lack of water resistance is the ultimate undoing for wood.

 

Here at Red’s Landscaping Melbourne , we’ve found that recycled plastic composites is pretty much the opposite. It’s nonporous, insects and mould aren’t interested in it, chemicals don’t bother it, and it requires a huge amount of force or professional tools to snap it.

Our recent commercial landscaping project at Balwyn Community Centre made great use the Futurewood products Enviroslat and CleverDeck

Being man-made is a huge advantage for plastic , as it gives an opportunity for engineers to re-master the material, to make it stronger, more shock absorbent, better reinforced (often with fibreglass) and it also gives control over colour and design.

CleverDeck Composite Recycled Plastic decking from Futurewood.

CleverDeck Composite Plastic decking from Futurewood looks just like timber on this deck.

Reason Two: UV Resistance of Recycled Plastic Composite Wood

In wet and humid countries, wood is known to quickly rot and break, so what happens in a country like Australia where the biggest weather challenge for wood is the sun? UV radiation is an invisible threat to wood fibres, rendering them less resilient and more prone to cracking, warping, or cupping. An entire decking or fence section can be destroyed by failing to protect them with a waterproof sealer and UV light sealer.

 

Plastic Composite Wood doesn’t suffer from the same problem, in fact, recycled plastic wood is UV resistant, meaning the performance, quality, and appearance will decrease much more slowly over time than real wood.

Recycled plastic composite decking looks like real wood.

 

Reason Three: Waste reduction

The construction industry accounts for more than one-third of the world’s waste, if some experts are correct. This is a big problem, so the construction industry, engineering industry, and other connected sectors like landscaping are responsible for finding new ways to recycle these materials and ensure they avoid the landfill. The recycled plastic ‘wood’ that we use takes post-industrial HDPE and makes a waste-reducing product that also saves rainforest timber from being felled.

Recycled plastic wood composites on this brown enviroslat fence looks great in contrast to the green bamboo leaves.

This brown Enviroslat fence looks great in contrast to the green bamboo leaves.

 

Reason Four: Cost effective

Here at Red’s Landscaping Melbourne , we are happy to provide a cost-benefit analysis for plastic wood in comparison to wood, showing that there is a high hidden cost in maintaining timber year after year. As a side to that fact, the oil used to protect timber slats contains a number of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.

 

Over the entire life span, plastic lumber more than makes up for its higher purchasing price, providing a truly economical option to those who want quality and longevity.

 

Reason Five: Expert Science

The final of our five reasons (though we could give plenty more) brings us to the science behind the plastic lumber’s composition. As you see in the list below, the ingredients are either eco-friendly natural materials, post-industrial waste, or small quantities of carefully selected chemicals to make sure the resulting material is perfect for landscaping (and other applications). The products are made from over 90% recycled and reused plastic and rice husk mixed with some pigments and fillers as well as UV absorbers to ensure the material remains tough for a long time.

How recycled Plastic Timber Composites are made.

How your recycled Plastic bottles become Timber Composites park furniture.

Landscaping with Enviroslat and CleverDeck recycled plastic Composite Timber slats

The recycled plastic composite timber slats have a wide range of uses in landscaping. It is the ideal material for pergolas, decking of to improve the look of your backyard shed. The low maintenance, toughness, and aesthetic qualities make it a great material for the commercial landscaping of public places like the Balwyn Community Centre. The urban wetlands boardwalk is a fantastic example of how this new landscaping material can be used.

 

Recycled Enviroslat Cladding on a shed at Balwyn Community Centre.

Enviroslat Cladding on a shed at Balwyn Community Centre

The Boardwalk at Balwyn Community Centre

 

Park Furniture from recycled plastic composites

The toughness of recycled plastic composites, also makes them great for the manufacturing of Park Outdoor Furniture for landscaping public spaces. For this reason, commercial landscapers are now seeing these materials specified more often by the Landscape architects.

Outdoor Park Furniture Marrickville library outdoor furniture using recycled plastic.

A round outdoor seat. Marrickville library outdoor furniture – Photograph courtesy of botton + gardiner

The materials used are engineered for longevity meaning no need to replace and consume additional resources. Park furniture manufactured from recycled plastic composite wood are very low maintenance. The composites on these outdoor park furniture pieces require no sealing, or oiling.  There is also no risk of termite destruction when these materials are used. The long chain polyolefin molecules mean that the materials are also very resistant to warping.

S - Shaped outdoor seat. Marrickville Library.

S – Shaped outdoor seat. Marrickville Library. Photograph courtesy of botton + gardiner

 

Manufacturing of Outdoor Park Furniture

The manufacturing process for making outdoor park furniture with recycled plastic composites is similar to making park furniture with wood. The process is however more efficient as there is no need to oil or paint the timber composites. An added bonus is the slats are manufactured straight and with uniform thickness and width. This is hard to achieve even with the best kiln dried timbers. This can be seen in the photographs below of the park furniture manufacturing at botton + gardiner.

 

 

Commercial Landscaping with recycled composite timber.

The toughness and durability of recycled composite timber makes material like Enviroslat ideal for commercial landscaping applications. The toughness and the use of HDPE in the material makes the outdoor furniture resistant to vandals. The Ultraviolet Stability means that the colour does not fade much or peel meaning that repainting is rarely required. The absence of wood splinters and warping are even more reasons what these materials are great for commercial landscaping.

 

Want to learn more about our recycled plastic timber projects?

Get in touch with us today or check out our landscaping case studies page.

 

CleverDeck and Enviroslat are Trademarks of Future Wood in Australia and the UK

 

For More information on recycling Plastic take a look at the UK Plastic Expert Website.

 

Related Landscaping Articles from Red’s Landscaping Melbourne

Eco garden: Gardening Made Easy

 

Balwyn Landscaping – Commercial Project

 

Commercial Landscaping

 

Commercial Landscaper Melbourne

 

 

© Copyright Red’s Landscaping and Civil Pty Ltd – Quality Commercial Landscaping Melbourne

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instant lawn

5 steps to creating the perfect new lawn

A new lawn can add a great deal of kerb appeal to a new home landscaped garden, as well as providing a recreation area for kids and dogs.

It is often a dream of home owners to have a beautiful patch of bright green lawn in their backyard. There is a lot that can be learned from professional landscapers and professional turf managers that can help make this dream a reality.

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In some cases you can apply professional landscaping techniques to your backyard lawn, but there are important differences.

New Lawn in Public Spaces.

In commercial landscaping, lawns in public spaces are often subject to heavy pedestrian traffic. For this reason there is a lot of effort put in to make the lawn area free draining. Usually public spaces like sporting grounds will have the benefit of full sun, whereas you backyard might not. Also resources like plentiful supplies of recycled water and a large maintenance budget might not apply to your backyard lawn. There are still some techniques the home gardener can apply which will result in a great looking lawn.

Planning a New Lawn

 The first step with any garden project is the planning. Sketch your garden on a piece of paper include any large trees and shrubs. Plan out where the drainage and irrigation will be installed as this will be the first step in the construction of your garden lawn. Check the area after rain to ensure the water drains away freely.

Plan the level you want the finished lawn to be and any lawn edging to be used. Decide the direction where you want the surface water to drain towards. New lawns will require regular watering, so if possible avoid planting in summer. It is also important to plan the irrigation system at this early stage.

Take note of any areas of the lawn that have only a few hours of sunlight. These areas may require a shade tolerant grass or may be unsuitable for lawn. If you have high traffic areas which will result in wear patches in the lawn, use some pavers. Permeable concrete pavers are good for this application.

Should you consider the alternatives to lawn?

If your yard is steep or very shady, consider using a non mowing solution instead. This might mean using mulch, pebbles or gravel.

pebble garden

Pebble are a great eco friendly alternative to lawn for shady areas.

Another solution is to use low growing ground covers or succulents.

Two native Australian sustainable alternatives to lawn grasses are Dichondra repens and the Native Violet, Viola hederacea.

Some exotic herbs can also be used such as mint, thyme or chamomile. If the area is difficult to access with a mower, or if it is too steep for even the Honda self propelled mower, then the alternatives should be considered.

Dichondra repens

Dichondra repens is a great low maintenance alternative to lawn grass.

 

Viola hederacea

Viola hederacea has small mauve and white flowers. Like viola Banksii it is native violet that creates a dense ground cover with flowers for most of the year.

Topsoil for your new lawn

Sporting grounds will normally have a thick layer of friable topsoil with a thick drainage layer underneath.

The grounds are usually quite flat so sub soil drainage is very important. For your backyard or frontward lawn, the ground can be sloped a bit more to aid with drainage. Depending on how well you can cultivate your subsoil, you might be able to get away with as little as 100mm of friable topsoil.

Cultivating the subsoil

Depending on the usage and the makeup of the layers below, you could probably get away with as little as 100 to 150mm of topsoil for your garden lawn. For example green couch, Cynodon dactylon, the roots will penetrate the ground up to 1.5 metres deep with much of the root mass at around 600mm deep. For this reason the layer below the top soil needs to be suitable for root growth if you want your lawn to be drought tolerant. This can be achieved by cultivating organic matter into the subsoil and, in some cases, adding gypsum.

Organic Matter for the subsoil

It doesn’t matter whether your soil is acid or alkaline or if it is a sandy soil or a clay soil, organic matter will help. If you are digging in organic matter for a lawn, make sure it is really well spread. We have done this in the past with a rotary hoe. If your organic matter is in pockets in your soil, it will rot down over time and leave dips in your lawn. Try to keep the extra organic to less than 20% for this reason. Some sources of organic matter would be mixed animal manures, cane mulch, a manure crop or stable manure. You can even use potting mixes. Ideally the organic materials will be well composted before applying. Applying organic matter will help to reduce water usage and feed your lawn grasses. You will not see much use of organic matter on sporting fields as the priority is to create a safe even surface.

 

 

 

Soil Profile showing showing the topsoil layer.

Soil Profile showing showing the topsoil layer.

Levelling the topsoil

If the lawn is not reasonably flat, mowing will create bald patches on your lawn. Once a friable sandy loam topsoil has been laid, it can be levelled out using a pine retaining wall sleeper with a rope attached with screws.

Aim to level the topsoil around 12 millimetres below the edging to allow for the height of the grass. The actual allowance will depend upon the variety of grass and whether it you are using a roll out grass or growing lawn from seed.

 

Sowing the new lawn

Lawn-grass from seed.

 Following the aeration, lawn seeds can be spread over the parts of the lawn requiring repair. Look for grass seeds species suitable for your location. In South east Queensland like Green couch or Bermuda grass Cynodon dactylon or Queensland blue couch Digitaria didactyla. These varieties will take about a month to grow.

In Melbourne look for a selection of grass seeds that includes couch grass. Fast growing Rye grasses can be used if you are planting in shady areas in the cooler months, but generally cool season grasses will not be a long term drought tolerant sustainable solution.

Top dress the lawn with a sandy loam. For smaller areas, a fine potting mix makes a good lawn top dress. The lawn can then be fertilised with chook pellets like Neutrog Rooster Booster  or with Neutrog Seamungus soil and plant conditioner. Is necessary, top dress with some gypsum. Water with a fine mist using a soil wetter or a soil conditioner like Neutrog GOGO Juice.

Roll out Lawn

For instant effect, a roll out lawn can be used. This should be rolled out on even topsoil as soon as it is delivered. Start with laying the lawn along any straight lawn edges you might have in your garden design. Take care not to stretch the lawn rolls and push each roll firmly together without gaps.

instant lawn

Instant lawn

Top dress after rolling with a sandy loam or sand. A lawn roller will help to even the surface and keep the lawn roots in good contact with the soil. Another advantage of the roll out lawn is that you can use drought resistant hybrid varieties that cannot be grown from seed.

a lawn roller

A lawn roller will help flatten the lawn and keep the seeds in good contact with the soil.

 

Hydroseed

For large commercial landscaping projects, or large residential landscaping, hydroseeding is often used. Hydroseeding is a method wher a mixture of water, fertilizer and grass seeds are sprayed over the area. Some local councils have seen problems with grass taking off with this method, so it is probably best to do this in Autumn.

Lawn Maintenance

Your new or repaired lawn will need watering every day for a month. To save water use a soil wetter to minimise run off. Water in the evening to reduce losses due to evaporation. A liquid fertiliser high in nitrogen and iron will keep your lawn looking green.

5 steps to creating the perfect new lawn

  1. Plan the area and note the drainage, irrigation and shade.
  2. Cultivate the subsoil with organic matter. If it is reactive clay soil, use gypsum.
  3. Use at least 100mm of friable topsoil for the lawn. Flatten with a wooden sleeper or large rake.
  4. Use grass varieties suitable for your area and the amount of shade.
  5. Maintain the lawn with frequent top dressing, wetting agents and liquid fertilisers.

 

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil

5 Steps for a Great Melbourne Lawn

 

New Home Construction Landscaping

 

11 Best landscapers of all time.

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

Alternatives to lawn

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1148898.htm

 

 

http://www.edinburghgardenschool.com/2014/10/flocculation-dispersion-soils/

 

 

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1676965.htm

 

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/impact/geology/london/ucl/materials/clay

 

 

 

 

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In-situ concrete retaining wall with native grasses at Balwyn Community Centre

3 Best Types of Concrete Retaining Wall

A Concrete Retaining wall can be described as a structure that retains the lateral pressure – usually formed due to soil. In simple terms, it is nothing but a wall that holds the soil on one side of it so the desired changes of the ground level elevation can be achieved. A difference of Elevation levels can be seen on the either side of the retaining wall in the illustration.  A basement wall, for instance, is a retaining wall.

Concrete retaining wall terminology.

Concrete retaining wall terminology.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be made up of materials like stone masonry, timber, steel etc. However, the most common material is concrete for retaining walls construction owing to its durability, adaptability and availability. It can be moulded in to any shape and size, can be ordered from concrete plants or made on the site – also called insitu concrete retaining walls.

 

commercial retaining wall contractors stripping the formwork off the commercial retaining walls.

Commercial retaining wall contractors stripping the formwork off the walls.

Concrete Retaining Walls

Concrete retaining walls can be of different types based on their working methods and type of construction. These include, but are not limited to, Gravity Wall, Cantilever wall, Piling Wall and Anchored Wall. On a smaller scale of retaining walls, which is where smaller lateral loads are applied, block retaining wall and sleeper retaining wall – made of concrete retaining wall blocks and concrete retaining wall sleepers respectively – are also common.

Gravity Retaining Wall

A gravity retaining wall uses its self-weight to counter the lateral loads coming from soil. For this reason, the gravity walls are usually big and therefore heavier as compared to other retaining walls. It can be used for retaining walls as high as 3 metres.

 

Gravity Retaining Wall

Gravity Retaining Wall with design guidlines.

 

 

Construction is pretty simple and can be done with plain concrete only. A proper drainage system should be provided to avoid the lateral pressure caused due to the water in soil.

Commercial Concreting

Although Concrete can be prepared on-site it is better to use the services of Commercial Concreting companies. The concrete provided is designed in a proper manner keeping the right amount of water, cement, fine and coarse aggregate along with any additives, if needed. They provide concrete based on Concrete’s compressive strength which is usually difficult to know when concrete is prepared on-site, unless very strict precautions are taken and a sample has already been checked in the lab.

Generally, the use of Commercial Concreting makes the construction of concrete structures much easier and more reliable.

Cantilever Retaining Wall

A cantilever retaining wall, as the name suggests, is based on cantilever technique where a slab is put underground to support the stem (see illustration).

cantilever retaining wall

The cantilever design of retaining wall enables the use of a thinner wall stem. The wall usually uses in-situ reinforced concrete with a toe section and a heel section running under the earth fill. The instillation of the steel reinforcement is critical for this type of wall.

 

Since the cantilever retaining wall is of a smaller section as compared to gravity walls, reinforcement is provided in normal conditions. Alternatively, Pre-cast concrete and Pre-stressed concrete can also be used for the construction. It can used for retaining walls up to 10 meters of height.

Construction, however, is not as simple as compared to gravity retaining walls. And, a suitable drainage system is provided to avoid to extra lateral pressure that would be caused due to the water available in soil.

Piled Retaining Wall

Piled retaining wall is nothing but reinforced concrete piles driven next to each other in the ground up to a certain depth that is enough to counter the lateral earth pressure. A gravel fill is usually provided for the drainage of water.

piled concrete retaining wall

Construction site on the edge of a river to protect riverbank collapse with concrete pile foundation and concrete pipeline for water flow.
Retaining wall construction.

 

 

Sheet pile retaining walls are also used in a similar manner. These kind of piles can be used for the retaining walls which are up to 6 meters in height. The construction requires heavy machinery for the drilling or driving of piles in the ground. Construction is complex and therefore requires technical knowledge.

Anchored Retaining Wall

Anchored retaining walls are usually provided where a high retaining wall with a thin cross section is required. Wires or deep cable rods are driven deep sideways and then anchored by pouring concrete on to them. These tiebacks or anchors act against the sliding and over-turning of the retaining wall.

Similar to other methods, a drainage system is provided to avoid excess lateral pressure caused due to the water.

 

anchored concrete retaining wall

An anchored concrete retaining wall.

 

Gravity Retaining walls, Cantilever Retaining Wall and other described above are the kinds of retaining walls that are supposed to take high lateral loads. These kind of walls usually require an engineer and a technical team to design the retaining walls which would stand against sliding and over-turning failures.

Small retaining walls, usually up to 1.2 meters (4 feet), can be constructed and used on a private property with little expertise. All you’ll need is time and materials to construct these retaining walls. Such small retaining walls are constructed to hold back the garden soil and for other smaller lateral loads.

Concrete Block Retaining walls and Concrete Sleeper Retaining walls are possibly the best choices for such tasks.

Concrete Block Retaining Wall

A concrete block retaining wall is nothing but a set of concrete blocks stacked on top of each other. But, in order to make it a retaining wall that lasts for years and can take loads in a safe manner, some construction techniques should be utilized.

Block wall

A Concrete Block Retaining wall under construction.

 

In situ concrete stairs and block walls.

In situ concrete stairs and block retaining walls.

Concrete Block Retaining Wall Construction

First of all, a trench of certain height should be dug and compacted. A layer of crushed stone base, 15 mm 20 mm stones in size, should be provided. This requires less compaction and is good for the drainage.

Concrete blocks, or hollow concrete blocks, are then stacked in the form of a masonry so that all the joints should not come in the same vertical line. This would allow the retaining walls to resist vertical loads as well.

Depending on the concrete blocks you are using, the can come up with butt joints or locking flange to avoid sliding of one block over the other.

The same stones that we used for the stone base can be provided on the back of retaining wall for the drainage of water to avoid extra water pressure.

 

 

Concrete Sleeper Retaining Wall

Concrete Sleeper Retaining wall is very similar to concrete block retaining wall. In this retaining wall, concrete sleepers are used instead of concrete blocks. A number of companies provide factory-made sleepers and vertical posts.

Sleeper Wall

An example of a concrete Sleeper Retaining Wall. – Photo Credit – Bunnings.

 

Concrete Sleeper Retaining Wall Construction

Site should be cleared and levelled. Measurements should be made and auger holes should be dug for a depth of around 1.4 meters for a retaining wall of 1 meter height. A deeper hole would be required in case the retaining wall is higher than 1 meter. The posts should then be concreted into the ground so they are secure. A Concrete of around 20MPa strength would do the job.

Once the concrete is hardened and posts are in their proper place, sleepers should be paced. Seal the back of sleepers with a plastic sheet or with a concrete layer. A perforated drainage pipe should be provided to run along the length of wall. A drainage material such as crushed stone of around 20 mm in size should be provided over the pipe.

 

 

After the placement of sleepers, one should wait for around 7 days for the concrete to gain strength after which it is okay to pour the backfill material.

 

 

 

Three Best Types of Concrete Retaining Walls

Since there are different uses for each Concrete Retaining Wall mentioned in this text, it is difficult to choose the best three types. However, if we grade them based on their simplicity of construction, we can enlist three.

  1. Concrete Block Retaining Wall
  2. Concrete Sleeper Retaining Wall
  3. Concrete Gravity Retaining Wall

Afore-mentioned retaining walls offer simple construction methods and can be constructed without any technical assistance, if their usage is limited to private properties and shorter heights of around 1.2 metres.

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil

Concreting Melbourne

 

7 Great Reasons to choose Permeable Concrete

 

Concrete – 9 things you need to know for better concreting.

 

Melbourne Landscaper – Mill Park Leisure

 

7 things you need to know about exposed aggregate concrete paths

 

In-situ Concrete

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

 

References and Further Reading

 

About Civil

 

The Constructor

 

The Family Handymanre

 

Lowes – How to Build

 

Installation Guide

 

Trojan Sleeper Installation

 

Commercial Concrete

 

The Constructor

 

Icon Walls

 

The Bunnings Range.

 

Concrete Sleepers

 

 

 

 

 

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tennis court surface

The tennis court surface. 4 best modern surfaces

The tennis court surface is a fundamental part of the game of tennis.

Without any doubt, tennis is one of the most entertaining and favorite games among millions of people of all ages across the globe. It improves both physical and mental health, brings positive emotions and gives you social benefits as well. What a pleasure to play tennis with your friend, especially outside! All you need is a racquet, tennis balls, a court and a partner. Alternatively, you can even play on your own, practicing serve on the court or hitting groundstrokes and volleys against the wall.

Tennis Court Surface Characteristics

Tennis can be played on different surfaces and each surface has its own characteristics, which affects the speed and style of play. I guess you wondered which tennis court surface is the best. It’s quite difficult to answer this question, as each type of surface has its advantages and disadvantages and appeals to a certain playing style. For example, Rafael Nadal, an extraordinary Spanish player, is the best clay court specialist, when Roger Federer performs better on grass courts. Novak Djokovic, another genius tennis player is more confident on hard courts.

Which tennis court surface is the best?

Let’s take a look at the most popular tennis court surfaces and compare their characteristics. There are four major types of courts, depending on the materials used for the court surface: clay courts, hard courts, grass courts and carpet courts.

 

Clay courts

 

Clay courts are made of crushed stones, shale and bricks and have red or orange color; less frequently, when they are composed of basalt, a natural stone, they have green colour. The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is played on clay courts, when green clay is used only for the tournaments in the United States.

 

On clay, tennis ball bounces slower and higher, than on other courts, which gives advantages to confident baseline players, who adds a lot of topspin and play mostly in a defensive style. Another key feature of clay courts is the ability to slide to the ball, so the player needs good flexibility. Among the reasons why the play on a clay court is a good idea are the following: the softer surface of this type of court is not so harmful to the body; this surface improves endurance and physical condition, as the player needs to run more and tries to chase every ball. Moreover, a slower game teaches patience and gives more time to make a right decision. Definitely, the most talented and award-winning player, is a Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who managed to win The French Open trophy 12 times and is rightly called “the king of clay”.

En tout cas surface

En tout cas surface.

 

The En-tout-cas surface

In addition, “en-tout-cas” courts are worth mentioning. En-tout-cas, which means “in any case” or “in any conditions” in French, is a top-quality and the most famous court construction among tennis court builders. This is the well-known artificial sports surface builder, made from crushed bricks and stone. The main advantage of these courts is greatly improved drainage system, that helps the courts to drain quickly after the rain. In Australia, en-tout-cas courts are mostly used in Victoria.

 

Grass courts

Grass Court Surface

The Grass Court Surface.

Grass courts are the fastest of all four types of the surfaces, the ball bounces fast and low to the ground, that is why the rallies become much shorter, than on hard, and especially than on clay courts. They are made of natural grass, which demands high maintenance cost, due to constant watering and mowing, that’s why they are not as widely spread, as other tennis surfaces. The most famous tournament, played on grass courts, is Wimbledon, which takes place in London in July. Grass courts favor serve-and-volley tennis players, as serve plays a vital part there, as well as confident net skills. Roger Federer, an outstanding Swiss player, is “unbeatable on grass”, thanks to his perfect technique, quick reaction and good footwork. However, in 2019, Novak Djokovic proved that he could be a decent opponent on grass court as well, winning his 5th title in an epic match on Wimbledon courts.

 

 

 

The Hard Court Surface

 

Hard courts are made of rigid materials and are favorite for most of the players worldwide. They have a smooth surface, so the bounce of the ball is rather predictable and the player can control the game easier. On this type of tennis surface the ball bounces fast and high, so players can hit a big variety of strokes, add spin and make the game more dynamic. Hard courts are suitable for players with aggressive and attacking style, who have powerful serve as well. Two Grand Slam tournaments, the US Open and the Australian Open are played on hard courts, the only difference is that the American Grand Slam uses an acrylic hard court, while the Australian Open uses a synthetic one. An interesting fact is that the Australian Open was played on grass courts before, but switched from them to hard courts in 1988.

The only disadvantage of a hard court is that it has the higher risk of getting an injury, players’ joints suffer a lot when jumping on hard ground. Nevertheless, there is a solution: the cushioning makes the surface softer, which minimizes shock on the body and helps to prevent injuries. A cushioned tennis court is a system with a concrete base with several layers of cushioned rubber, applied before the standard acrylic finish. It helps to reduce impact on athlete’s most vulnerable parts of the body: knees, ankles and feet.

The hard court surface

The hard court surface

 

 

Novak Djokovic, a real mental giant and one of the most complete athletes to have ever played the game, is definitely considered one of the best players on hard court. A Serbian is a record holder of Australian Open titles and won his 8th trophey on Australian tennis court surface in 2020, beating an Austrian Dominic Thiem in an epic 5 set match.

Carpet or indoor courts

Carpet in tennis means any removable court covering, which is installed temporarily for tennis events. It has soft surface, can be made of different materials, from turf to rubber and may have different bright colors. These courts are similar to grass courts, as the ball bounces fast and low, so they are suitable for players with a good serve and a confident net game. Carpet courts are not used in professional events anymore, they have been replaced by removable hard courts, but some big tournaments, such as the Australian Open (until 2007), WCT Finals, Paris Masters, U.S. Pro Indoor and Kremlin Cup were held on this type of surface before.

Indoor tennis courts are rather convenient, as they are easy to install and maintain and allow to play during any weather conditions. These courts are used for modern indoor professional events such as the ATP Finals.

 

As you can see, tennis has a great variety of surfaces to choose from, you just need to try out different kinds of courts to find the most suitable for your style of play.

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil

Tennis Court Construction Balwyn Community Centre

 

Concrete – 9 things you need to know for better concreting.

 

Balwyn Landscaping – Commercial Project

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

 

 

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Outdoor Gym Installation Balwyn Community Centre

9 Amazing Reasons to Use Your Local Outdoor Gym

Outdoor gym equipment is a growing trend in the landscaping of public spaces. Our recent landscape construction projects at Balwyn Community Centre and Mill Park Leisure, north of Melbourne, have both made use of outdoor exercise equipment.

Now, more than ever, this type of facility is essential for the people of Melbourne. Here, we’re exploring the 9 essential reasons Balwyn-area residents should definitely be using their local outdoor gym at the Balwyn Community Centre.

Outdoor exercise equipment at Balwyn Community Centre

Outdoor exercise equipment and Tennis Court at Balwyn Community Centre

 

#1 Exercise is Fundamental to Your Health

 

It’s no secret that getting enough exercise is essential to our overall health and wellbeing. To encourage more exercise among the Balwyn community, building an outdoor gym in park areas gives people an extra nudge to work out.

 

Whether you walk past the park on your way to pick up the kids from school or you notice it’s there on your drive to the markets, encouraging our community to exercise and stay healthy is fundamental.

 

Long story short, if you needed an excuse to work out at a beautiful facility, outdoor gyms are the answer.

 

#2 Get Some Fresh Air at an Outdoor Gym

 

Taking your workout routine outside gives you an added boost. There’s something special about breathing in the fresh air, surrounded by gorgeous greenery and the bright blue sky.

 

It’s so much better than feeling stuck in a stuffy gym or working out in your garage. So, get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful Melbourne summer at an outdoor gym instead.

 

#3 Connect with Nature at your local outdoor gym

 

With walking trails and outdoor furniture included in this outdoor gym, Melbourne locals can take a moment to relax and connect with the natural world before or after their exercise routine.

 

It’s so important to take time to reflect and unwind, especially these days. What better way to practise humility and gratitude than within the calm of nature itself?

 

#4 Sunshine Boosts Immunity

 

Vitamin D is a fantastic immunity booster. Therefore, using outdoor exercise equipment not only makes you healthier by forming stronger muscles and more mobility in your body but getting a touch of sunshine, packed with natural Vitamin D is amazing for your health as well.

 

Just remember to slip, slop, slap before heading to your outdoor exercise session!

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#5 Engage with Your Community at your local outdoor gym

 

The overarching goal of the Balwyn Community Centre is to connect the community with one another. Sometimes, in our fast-paced world, we can get so caught up in our personal goals that we don’t take the time to truly engage with those around us.

Outdoor gym exercise outdoor exercise equipment

Outdoor gym exercise with chest press machine and leg raise. Outdoor gyms are a great way to connect with the community.

With an outdoor exercise and gym facility right at your fingertips, your friends and neighbours can have a healthy reason to connect with one another, whether through a community yoga class in the park or simply through more unplanned interactions during your daily workout.

 

#6 Outdoor Gym Facilities Are Perfect for Social Distancing

 

Let’s face it. The world is radically different than it was just last year and using an outdoor gym will make it easier to stay socially distanced. It’s the perfect way to keep up with your fitness while keeping you and your loved ones as safe as possible.

 

#7 No Need for an Expensive Gym Membership

 

One of the best parts about using your local outdoor gym is that it’s completely free. Many Melbourne gyms can be quite expensive. So, save your money and use the amazing outdoor gym facilities at Balwyn Community Centre and Mill Park Leisure instead.

 

#8 Constructed with High-Quality Materials

 

Outdoor gym designers put a lot of energy and thought into creating the best possible facilities for the community.

 

From the cushioned EPDM wet pour rubber to protect your joints during your high-intensity workouts to the thoughtful placement of trees for shade and ambience, you can rest assured that your local outdoor exercise equipment is of the absolute highest quality and built with intention.

 

#9 Outdoor Gyms Include More Than You’d Expect

 

Not only does your local outdoor gym have easy-to-use workout machines and useful exercise tools, but it also includes amenities like a tennis court, ping pong tables, walking tracks, a designated yoga area, and shaded gazebos to take a break from the sun.

 

No matter how you prefer to exercise, there’s something for everyone at an outdoor gym. From playing sport with your mates to breathing through an outdoor yoga session, you can do it all at this outdoor gym in Balwyn.

Yoga mat near the urban wetlands. Balwyn Community Centre

Yoga mat near the urban wetlands. Balwyn Community Centre

 

Did you know about this incredible outdoor exercise equipment at your local Balwyn Community Centre? Well, now that you do, it’s time to take advantage of everything it has to offer. Put on your runners, slap on a hat, and invite your neighbours to get some exercise at this stunning facility.

 

What’s your favourite way to exercise at an outdoor gym?

A boardwalk runs past the yoga mat and the urban wetlands. Balwyn Community Centre.

A boardwalk runs past the yoga mat and the urban wetlands. Balwyn Community Centre.

Outdoor gym equipment installation

Contact us for equipment and furniture installation installation

 

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil

Balwyn Landscaping – Commercial Project

 

Balwyn Community Center Redevelopment

 

Tennis Court Construction Balwyn Community Centre

 

13 Best Reasons To Preserve Balwyn Urban Wetlands

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

 

References and further reading

 

Citizens Park Richmond

 

Balwyn Community Centre

 

Find your local Outdoor exercise equipment in Melbourne

 

Department of Health and Human Services advice.

 

 

 

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Permeable Concrete -

7 Great Reasons to choose Permeable Concrete

Permeable Concrete or pervious concrete is changing the way public spaces are landscaped.

Concrete is the second most consumed product in the world. And contrary to our belief, its usage is much wider than constructing buildings only. With recent developments in Concrete, it has become an important material for an array of usages. Permeable Concrete is a prime example of development in concrete industry. Although the material itself isn’t new, since it was first used in 1852, it has been attracting renewed attention.

What is Permeable Concrete?

Permeable Concrete is also known as Porous Concrete, Pervious Concrete, Gap Graded Concrete, No-Fines Concrete and Enhanced-Porosity Concrete. Permeable concrete, similar to Normal Concrete, uses a mix of Cement, Water and Coarse Aggregate with little or no sand (Fine Aggregate) in it. The resulting concrete has 15% to 25% voids which ensure a water flow rate of 480 in/hr or more. Although the higher porosity, and lack of mortar paste reduces the strength of pervious concrete as compared to the conventional one but it is sufficient for most of its uses.

 

What are the Applications of Permeable Concrete

Although Pavement Construction is the major application of Pervious Concrete since it reduces the stormwater runoff and adds to the surface water table. In fact, the usage of Permeable Concrete in Pavement Construction is considered as one of the Best Management Practices (BMP) by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The usage of Permeable Concrete in pavements and in other horizontal constructions, depending on the precipitation values of a certain region, can eliminate the need of retention ponds and other precipitation runoff storage facilities. This would result in a more efficient land use especially in urban areas where land is already expensive.

Permeable-Concrete

Figure 1 Pervious Concrete Pavement (Divya Bhavana et al., 2017)

 

Below are some of the many applications in modern landscaping;

  • Residential Roads and Driveways
  • Parking Lots
  • Pavements with low traffic volume
  • Tennis Courts
  • Sub-base for conventional concrete pavements
  • Artificial Reefs
  • Well Linings
  • Slope Stabilisation
  • Swimming Pool Decks
  • Pavement Edge Drains

Production of Pervious Concrete

Production of Permeable Concrete is very similar to Normal Concrete since it uses the same ingredients. However, the amount of ingredients differ. Pervious Concrete is also mix designed and therefore should be designed for the desired purpose.
A general guideline is enlisted in the table.
Table 1 Typical Mix Proportion for Pervious Concrete (Divya Bhavana et al., 2017)

 

Material Quantity (kg/cubic metre)
Cement 270 to 415
Aggregate (Coarse and Fine) 1190 to 1480
Water to Cement Ratio (by mass) 0.27 to 0.34
Aggregate to Cement Ratio (by mass) 4 to 4.5
Fine to Coarse Aggregate Ratio (by mass) 0 to 1

 

This typical guideline is for information only and therefore a trial mix should always be prepared and checked for the desired purpose. Apart from the usual materials, Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM) and chemical admixtures are also used as per their dosage mentioned by the manufactures.

Water to Cement Ratio

A lower water to cement ratio is used since higher water to cement ratios would affect the compressive strength of concrete. If desired for a purpose where compressive strength is of no importance, a higher water to cement ratio can be used.
Usage of Fine Aggregate would reduce the permeability of concrete and make it less porous, however the compressive strength would be improved.
Lightweight aggregate, recycled aggregate and other types of aggregate or other techniques like fly ash geopolymer concrete have also been utilized to make Permeable Concrete.

Characteristics of the Concrete

Although it is similar to Normal Concrete in terms of its ingredients, it has a plethora of characteristics that make this concrete different. Enlisted are some characteristics of Hardened and Green (Fresh) Permeable Concrete.
The Permeable Concrete has a textured surface after placement.
In-place densities are usually 1600 kg/m^3 to 2000 kg/m^3
Due to low or no mortar content, Permeable Concrete renders a lower slump value and a stiffer consistency. Slump values are usually less than 20 mm (0.75 inches).
In spite of higher void percentage the Permeable Concrete can render a compressive strength of 3.5 MPa to 28 MPa (500 psi to 4000 psi). Typical values are about 17 MPa (2500 psi).
No Darby, Trowel or Bullfloat is used since they tend to seal the surface of concrete.

Permeable Concrete -

I.Idro Drain – Heidelberg cement (Photo – Italcementi a division of Heidelberg cement.)

 

7 Benefits of using Pervious Concrete in Commercial Landscaping.

Permeable Concrete is much more than a way to reduce the stormwater runoff in urban areas. Listed below are some benefits of using Permeable Concrete.
It reduces the pollution by allowing the water to percolate in the ground. The sand chemistry and biology are allowed to treat the water naturally.
Allowing the rainfall to percolate, it recharges ground water and aquifers.
It improves the land use especially in Urban Areas
The light colour of Concrete and relatively open pore structure absorb and store less heat respectively when compared to Normal Concrete. This helps in lowering heat in urban areas.
It is difficult for trees planted in parking lots and sidewalks to grow in impervious concrete environments since it makes it difficult for water to reach the roots. Trees benefit from Permeable concrete and further reduce the heat in urban areas.
It eliminates the risk of ponding over the roads over a longer periods of time as observed in some developing countries after rainfall.
The pervious concrete can absorb the noise of the vehicles on the road creating a pleasant environment.
In rainy days, pervious concrete pavements do not have splashes which glisten at night and are dangerous for drivers.
As per recent researches, the permeable concrete can also be used for the purification of sea water.

 

 

Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil Melbourne

3 Best Types of Concrete Retaining Wall

 

Concrete – 9 things you need to know for better concreting.

 

7 things you need to know about exposed aggregate concrete paths

 

Concrete Architecture in Landscaping

 

In-situ Concrete

 

© 2020 Reds Landscaping and Civil quality commercial landscaping Melbourne

 

References and Further Reading

Draining Concrete Bike Path

 

Draining Outdoor Flooring

 

Paver reduce Pollutioni

 

Divya Bhavana, T., Koushik, S., Uday Mani Kumar, K., & Srinath, R. (2017). Pervious concrete pavement. In International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (Vol. 8, Issue 4). https://doi.org/10.3141/2113-02
Park, S. B., Lee, B., Lee, J., & Jang, Y. Il. (2010). A study on the seawater purification characteristics of water-permeable concrete using recycled aggregate. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 54(10), 658–665. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2009.11.006
Yang, J., & Jiang, G. (2003). Experimental study on properties of pervious concrete pavement materials. Cement and Concrete Research, 33(3), 381–386. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0008-8846(02)00966-3

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Euroclay tennis court Balwyn Community Centre

Tennis Court Construction Balwyn Community Centre

Tennis court construction requires attention to detail and a very solid foundation.  First of all, the area must be excavated to a good depth. Any organic material under the tennis court will eventually rot away leaving a void under the tennis court. This could lead to an eventual low point and spoil the playing surface. After clearing the organic matter, the sub-grade below the tennis court is flattened. Ideally the court should be designed with a North – south orientation, but this is not always possible in residential home tennis courts.

Sport facilities construction and repair Balwyn

Tennis court construction Balwyn

The geotextile layer for your tennis court

A geotextile layer is laid over the sub-grade to block any root growth from nearby trees and ensure the subgrade does not affect drainage of the road base by oozing up and filling the voids.

 

Tennis Court Solid Road Base Foundation

The road base material spread evenly over the area followed by even more flattening. It is essential that a robust foundation is created to maintain the stability of the playing surface. The thick layer of road base should be at lease 150mm after it has been flattened and compressed to ensure a stable foundation for the tennis court.

Tennis Court Construction Layers

Typical Tennis Court Construction Layers

 

Tennis Court Asphalting

Ideally, two different layers of Asphalt should be used in the tennis court base with two different specifications. The lower layer of asphalt is a thicker, courser asphalt with the upper layer much finer. The fine upper layer needs to be as flat as possible. The court is constructed to shed water in two planes and it is essential that puddles do not form on the surface.

 

Tennis Court Cushioning layer

The optional cushioning layer is an ideal choice for residential and club tennis courts. The cushioning layer reduces impact on a tennis player’s feet, ankles and knees. By providing a small amount of flexibility, it also makes the upper playing surface more durable. The playing surface is much less likely to crack and peel if it is bonded to a surface with a little bit of “give”. The Australian open surface uses Plexicushion.

 

The Playing Surface

Modern material technology has given the customer a wide range of choices for the playing surface itself. Many people will remember the when the Australian Open was played at Kooyong on grass surfaces. Grass courts are still common to tennis tournaments in Great Britain and most notably Wimbledon. In the countries in continental Europe, clay courts are often use a clay system known as “en tout cas” meaning “in any case”. Although this is a French phrase, the company, En tout cas,is British. They came up with a clever solution to the problems caused by water on clay tennis surfaces. The solution is to use crushed brick which greatly improves drainage.  Most clay courts today use crushed brick as the main constituent of the surface.

Table Tennis Table with bespoke surface treatment.

Landscaping the public space around the tennis court.

 

Balwyn Community Centre Tennis Court

Tennis courts in public spaces like the Balwyn Community Centre need to be low maintenance and durable. The landscape architects, ACLA, wisely chose Euroclay for the playing surface. This is a surface that provides all of the features of a clay tennis surface with very low maintenance. It even looks and plays like en tout cas, but notes not require rolling or watering. Even better, tennis can still be played in wet conditions. Ideal for the diehard tennis enthusiast home owner.

 

Tennis Court Repair

The landscaping project at Balwyn Community Centre also involved making repairs to an adjoining court. A large tree near the tennis court had caused damage dur to the tree root growing into the court. It was necessary to dig a trench between the tree and the court to install a root barrier to prevent further damage. All of the roots under the court had to be removed as organic material rotting away under a court can lead to further damage in the future.

Outdoor Sports facilities Balwyn Community Centre

Court Construction Balwyn Community Centre

 

What is Euroclay?

Euroclay is a UV stabilised polyethylene carpet with a sand infill. Polyethylene is a very tough material that is also very stain resistant. It is also relatively inexpensive, so using this type of construction will save money in both construction and maintenance.

 

Other types of construction

There are of course, other types of court construction techniques. The lower layers can be concrete or can be permeable materials with drainage systems. The goal in all of these is to provide a playing surface that is durable, even, well drained, and provides a fair game to all players.

 

Landscaping Tennis Courts

The courts need to be designed and constructed with a slight fall to shed water. It is essential that the water can drain to the outside of the court and into the surrounding area. It is important that any gardens near the courts are designed and constructed so that material from the gardens cannot wash onto the court playing surface.

Tennis Court Landscaping

Tennis Court Landscaping at Balwyn Community Centre.

Consideration should also be given player safety with any garden edging or branches near the court. Tennis players often need to go into the nearby gardens to retrieve tennis balls, so this should also be considered? For some privacy around a residential tennis court some fast growing climbing plants would be a good option.

 

Contact Red’s Landscaping for an integrated Tennis Court and Landscaping package.

 

Related Landscaping ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil

 

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Balwyn Community Center Redevelopment

 

Balwyn Landscaping – Commercial Project

 

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More information

 

Comparison of court Surfaces

 

The health benefits of Tennis

 

 

Read more