News Articles

City of Toronto Boulevard – Permeable Alternative to Grass in Cities

January 27, 2022

permeable tree surround

In this installation approx 800 square feet of Stormflow Surfacing was installed in a boulevard area of a busy downtown residential street in Toronto. It replaced mulch and grass that was an eyesore with multiple pedestrians and pets using the space. Grass does not stand up to heavy usage and mulch often washes away with rain and snow removal. Stormflow Surfacing was a great alternative option with the added benefit that 300 tires are saved from landfill for every 1,000 square feet installed

The City of Toronto wanted a hard surface that was also permeable for the trees. Permeable surfaces in cities allow stormwater to infiltrate to the base layer and subsoil versus running directly into undersized stormwater drains. Hard surfaces such as asphalt and concrete cause all rainwater to run quickly into stormwater drains. As cities grapple with climate change which includes significant rain events, this is becoming even more important. Approximately 23% of the City of Toronto has combined sewers (1 pipe for both sewage and stormwater).

These combined sewers empty into Lake Ontario during heavy rainfalls. Stormflow Surfacing is helping reduce the strain on stormwater systems with residential applications like driveways, and also with municipal boulevards and tree surrounds such as this one. It is located on Stewart Street between Bathurst and Portland streets

permeable tree surround

City of Toronto Tree Surround and Boulevard

This area now allows dogs to urinate and this will wash down to the stone and soil below. Pedestrians can utilize the space and not risk a trip hazard (Stormflow Surfacing is actually slip resistant because of the rubber content). The large trees in the boulevard also benefit from a permeable surfacing material that allows water and air to infiltrate to the roots. Using Stormflow Surfacing for tree surrounds has many additional benefits.