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Blacktop – The Newest in Garden Hardscape

April 01, 2013

Not long ago I came across an unusual application for blacktop in the garden – as hardscape. And, boy would I love to meet the genius who innovated using this hot stuff for sidewalks and patios — in Atlanta, no less. Not only does this richly black surface absorb heat to keep your bare feet well-toasted in summer, but it must also off-gas some pretty amazing toxins to really beat back nearby pollinators and make your plants want to tear up roots and run. And let’s not forget how all that dark material must be helping build up heat islands in already too-warm cities. Plus, it might just be helping develop more non-permeable hardscape surface run-off issues.

Bee on Zinnia over blacktop

Bumble bee on Zinnia over blacktop patio

How does that song go? Something about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot….?

Well, right on! That’s exactly what each of us wants to do in our gardens. Screw having a place where we can recharge in nature. Instead, give us a place where we can fry a egg in summer and boil another one in winter. (Assuming our chickens are able to lay after they broil hot-footing it across the blackened earth pathways in this kind of garden.)

So, if you’re on the lookout for something rarely used in residential — or even commercial — hardscapes (aka patios & pathways), don’t overlook the potential of oily, black asphalt. Apparently, it’s an up & coming trend in the gardening world.

Just think: you might not be the first to do it, but maybe you can be the last!

Blacktop sidewalk & lots of lawn

Blacktop sidewalk & lots of lawn

Oh yeah…and happy April Fool’s Day!

4 Comments

  1. Cat says:

    HA! I thought you had been kidnapped by aliens and forced to say strange things!

  2. What? You don’t want an I-5 style patio in your new garden Cat? (Honestly, neither do I!)

  3. I don’t like it! I hope it’s just a fad! Never like black on my side walk!

    Rose

  4. Joy Buslaff says:

    Never say never. Nature centers, like our local Retzer Nature Center, have paved asphalt pathways so those who must travel on wheels can enter a bit of forest and prairiescape that would otherwise be inaccessible. Another instance: Our home is a 146-year-old schoolhouse. As part of our restoration quest, we had the playground repaved last year for multiple reasons, including providing a “canvas” for the hopscotches I’ll be painting into the positions they held 50 years ago. What we changed, however, is some of the grading. The asphalt now drains toward a new swale to be populated by native plants.

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