...and all I got is dirty looks by the neighbors.
August 28, 2012 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Other than grass, what can I plant in my pervious concrete paver driveway in Seattle, WA?

About a month ago, there was grass with associated clover & dandelion weeds. The grass died when we failed to water it while we were out of town, but that was likely exacerbated pavers getting very, very hot when in the sun and burning the plants (our backyard grass fared just fine during this time).

Following the instructions on my grass seeds, I removed all the dead grass and roots from the squares between the pavers – yup, all ~400 of them. The previously rocky and sandy soil has been replaced with topsoil & fertilizer now, but I haven't planted anything yet.

Plants will be driven over 2-4 times a day to get into and out of the garage. I'm okay with committing to regularly water the driveway. The driveway gets morning sun and again, the pavers get hot in the summer.

What else besides grass would make sense there, look good, and is likely to survive for a while?
posted by halogen to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would think about sturdy herbs, like thyme. It can take heat and abuse.
posted by OrangeDisk at 12:23 PM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I love those driveways. Any of the creeping thymes would be good, they're heat-tolerant and your driveway must be well-drained. I was going to say irish moss when I read Seattle, but it sounds like your driveway doesn't stay wet enough. Even a low-growing dianthus would work, I bet. Or a little bitty sedum, if you're not going to walk barefoot on it.

I've used Stepables before, but you can just use their site for a guide for what might work and fine the same thing cheaper locally.
posted by mgar at 12:53 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's pretty, low growing, likes cool and damp and doesn't require mowing. It's considred a weed here in the south, but it was our lawn in Northern California.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:53 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding thyme; I have it in one of my rocky treelawns and it smells marvelous.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:56 PM on August 28, 2012

I wonder if mint would work. In Seattle, it grows like a weed. If you wanted to get fancy, each couple of spots in your driveway could get its own variety: spearmint, chocolate mint, Kentucky mint, apple mint, etc. You could have a mint julep party at your house in the summer! How Martha Stewart!

Only problem is that it might grow taller than your pavers, and you'd have ugly brown stalks in the summer.
posted by molybdenum at 1:33 PM on August 28, 2012

Could you plant different plants outside of the two rows where the tires roll? I'd say go durable there, like grass or some such, and something more herb-ish outside those zones.

Mint grows like a weed anywhere I've had it here in the south or in Kentucky even. Use with caution.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:36 PM on August 28, 2012

Best answer: nthing thyme, or chamomile. both will smell delicious when your tires roll over them.
posted by spinturtle at 1:48 PM on August 28, 2012

Dichondra is good, though it's not high traffic, however it would probably stay below the rim so wouldn't be badly affected by tyres, as long as you didn't overfill the soil.
posted by wilful at 6:15 PM on August 28, 2012

Wooly thyme or Blue Star creeper. Thyme being a bit more resilient but taking longer to fill in.
posted by artdrectr at 9:38 PM on August 28, 2012

Irish Moss?
posted by amanda at 10:12 PM on August 28, 2012

I've never seen a mint low enough to make a good walk-on-me carpet - and the plants will get walked on. None I know are particularly resilient to this kind of stress.

My go-to is thyme.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:20 AM on August 30, 2012

Response by poster: I went with elfin thyme. I'm not quite done planting it yet as it's super time consuming to plant 800 squares of it (the 400 count left out all the diagonally offset squares, as in half of them) and I am lazy, but should look great once the plants take off in the spring.
posted by halogen at 11:33 AM on December 6, 2012

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