When grass and concrete is a good thing
When you see concrete paving with loads of grass growing through it, it’ll be one of two things: either the paving has failed catastrophically, or you’re looking at something widely referred to as ‘grasscrete’.
For Bob Howden, the casual use of the term ‘grasscrete’ is a frequent cause of frustration. “It’s the Hoover syndrome – people tend to think that everything grass paving is ‘grasscrete’. But it’s not,” he says.
And that’s because Grasscrete is the name of the main product supplied by the company of which he is owner and managing director: Grass Concrete, headquartered in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Howden is keen to get that message out, particularly now, as the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Over the years, Grass Concrete has exported its reinforced concrete paving system all over the world and currently has 30 licensees serving 65 countries.
Grasscrete is widely used in locations where a strong, durable pavement is required but where the harsh, barren appearance of a continuous concrete surface is undesirable – for example, driveways, access roads and car parks.
But it is increasingly valued for its ability to absorb and contain surface water. With the increasing incidence of extreme weather events caused by climate change, run-off from impermeable hard landscaping is a major contributor to flooding and pollution. A paving product that allows rainwater to soak through rather than run straight off into a surcharged drainage system is far preferable.