Green In Between – Permeable Hardscapes

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When you live in Colorado, outdoor living space is not an extra amenity – it’s a necessity. But beauty and sustainability are valued just as high here, and it’s these factors that make permeable hardscapes such a wonderful option for Colorado landscapes.

Gravel or broken-up pavers can create permeable surfaces that can still be outfitted with outdoor furniture while also avoiding a monotonous aesthetic and urban runoff. And as TreePeople explains, “This practice also helps reduce the heat island effect (an increase in ambient temperature from heat-retaining buildings and paved surfaces). These methods will lower the surrounding temperature and reduce the need for air conditioning.”

Plus, I think we can all agree that there are prettier things to look at than pure pavement, so let’s look at a few ways to achieve beautiful, permeable hardscapes for sustainable Colorado landscapes.


The broken stone or concrete approach with grass in between always creates a cool visual effect.

hardscape designs
Source: Windsor Companies via Houzz

And an alternative to grass is dymondia, which is a drought-tolerant ground cover that can grow beautifully between broken slabs of stone or concrete.

hardscape designs
Source: Shirley Bovshow via Houzz

But if you rather some solid surfaces, create multiple paver platforms with green in between.

denver landscape design
Source: FormLA Landscaping via Houzz

Don’t let the gray tones fool you. Gravel can actually look great, especially when you play with the borders and plantings that surround.

landscapers denver
Source: Debora Carl Landscape Design via Houzz

Here’s an interesting permeable hardscape design that exemplifies the infinite design possibilities with gravel.

colorado landscape design
Source: Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture via Houzz

If you are working with difficult soil that doesn’t lend itself to green in between, trying combining the broken paver and gravel approach. Gravel between pavers can create a nice contrast.

hardscapes denver
Source: Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture via Houzz

If you are looking to achieve a beautiful and sustainable Colorado landscape that allows you to enjoy year-round outdoor living, contact the landscape architecture professionals at Lifescape.