Archive for the ‘Pervious, Permeable, Porous Concrete’ Category

Pervious Concrete at Lyngso

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Don’t tell anyone, but Lyngso Garden Materials in Redwood City, CA can make pervious concrete!  We just helped them to make a yard of pervious concrete out of their little batch plant and it worked great.  We put it in the back of one of their special concrete dump trucks, drove around for awhile and emptied it out over a half hour later and it was still nice and wet and fresh.

After placing Lyngso’s pervious concrete, naturally we placed our PerkTop™ on top.


PerkTop™ up close:


PerkGrout Installation

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

We just saved our 4th client in less than a year from the mess between their flagstones!  These are all ‘retrofits’ from previous jobs and the clients were fed up with the messy fines.  We’ve also installed at least 4 jobs using our grout for our own new flagstone set in sand installations over the last year as well.

This job was particularly easy since almost enough of the fines had already washed out from between the stones and we pretty much just had to sweep out a bit, blow and we were ready to install PerkGrout. The contractor who originally installed this flagstone in sand patio did a very good job, note the nice large stones and the tight, consistent joints. Because of this we were able to get very good coverage with our grout, about 1/3 lb/square foot.


Close-up of PerkGrout:



Sunday, February 27th, 2011

My apologies for not posting in awhile, but I have been focused on trying to get one of our pervious concrete products out to market.  I am happy to report that ‘PerkGrout’ is now available to be purchased at Lyngso in bags!

PerkGrout is a solution that our clients regularly choose for filling the joints of their flagstone set in sand.   The typical solutions of fines or gravel are messy and hard to maintain.  And the other flagstone joint solutions that are on the market today are either impervious or aren’t very durable.

Our solution adds a little to the costs of installing a flagstone in sand patio or path, but considering that it makes maintaining it so much easier, one will recoup their investment in no time.


Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Porous concrete has been a passion of mine ever since the second job we did with it failed in 2006.  The surface had raveled, it became loose like gravel, starting a couple of months after it was installed.  At the time I was unaware just how sensitive this product can be.  I take some comfort these days now knowing that I wasn’t alone in my underestimation of how tricky pervious concrete is to install.  As it turns out around 50% of pervious / porous / permeable concrete installations are considered failures.  This is true in spite of the fact that it has been used in the U.S. for over 30 years now.

Since that initial failure I have dedicated myself to making our porous concrete installations more reliable.  We certainly can’t afford to go replacing half of our jobs.  In the process too, I decided it should be better looking.  Regular pervious concrete with its chunky, rice crispy treat looking appearance may be acceptable for certain industrial applications, but it isn’t a realistic aesthetic option for most of our residential clients.

The result of this dedication incorporating years of research & product testing, is what I call’PrettyPervious’.  PerkTop™ is more of a process than an actual product.  The process has to do with overlaying a thin layer of a finer, colored pervious concrete over regular pervious concrete, as it is being laid and is still in its plastic state.  The aggregate in PerkTop™ is so fine that from just a short distance the concrete looks like regular concrete and it certainly doesn’t look like it has the permeability that it has.  Our clients are always surprised at how much water just flows right through that tight, smooth surface.  Sometimes they even break out their 9″ stiletto high heels and parade around on it or don their roller skates and glide across it, because they can do these activities on our very ADA compliant version of pervious concrete!

By the way, the job that failed, we were able to make good on.  In the process of creating PerkTop™, we discovered that we could also make a version of it that was capable of overlaying on cured pervious concrete.  Therefore we removed the loose, raveled stone to get to the solid base and applied our modified PerkTop™ on top.  We now have a solid, attractive expanse of pervious concrete, without having had to remove and replace all that material.


How to make porous / pervious concrete for homeowners.

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

If you are a homeowner and you’d like to do a little area of pervious concrete, aka porous or permeable concrete, you are going to have to make your own mix, because pervious concrete is not typically available in bags.  Fortunately the basic ingredients for pervious concrete are simple.  They are the same as regular concrete, rock, sand, cement & water, but minus the sand.

The basic pervious concrete mix is:

3 parts rock

1 part loose cement

just enough water

UPDATE:  We finally did a video for this and it does a great job showing how to get the just the right amount of water in your pervious concrete!

how to make pervious concrete video


The rock is generally a 3/8″ pea gravel that should be readily available from your local rockery.  But really almost any rock will do as long as it is clean, meaning no or little dirt or fine sand is in it.  Round or angular rocks are both okay.  For aesthetic purposes the smaller the rock  the nicer the final product will look.  Though a word of caution here, because the smaller your rock is, the more angular and/or uniform in size it needs to be or your concrete won’t be pervious.  We have mastered this process with our PerkTop™.

The cement portion refers to any type of Portland cement, type I-II, type III-V, etc.  Get whatever they have at your rockery or local hardware store.  When you are filling your container, do not pack the cement or you will end up with too much in your mix as cement does compact quite a bit.

The water portion is the trickiest part of your pervious concrete mix to get right.  Don’t feel bad if it takes you a couple tries to get the hang of the what the right amount of water is, because even the professionals have a hard time with this one.  Unlike regular concrete, the correct amount of water to add to pervious concrete lies within a very narrow range, if you add a little too much you could end up with impervious concrete and if you add too little you might get raveling (loose rocks on the surface) later.  The general rule of thumb to know if the water amount is correct is to make a ball (wearing gloves of course) and the ball should hold together and have a nice shine to it.   Note: If your rock is pretty wet to begin with, you probably will need to add very little water to the mix.

When we mix our pervious concrete by hand, I like to always be in the shade.  Pervious concrete is very moisture sensitive and once you’ve worked so hard to get that moisture just right, you don’t want it drying out before you have a chance to finish placing it.  Again pervious concrete is not like regular concrete, pervious concrete will dry out very fast and you generally can’t retemper it (add water) to bring it back like you might for regular concrete.

Now that you know how to make your own porous / pervious / permeable concrete, whatever you want to call the stuff, check back in later to find out how to place and cure it.


Bay-Friendly Landscaping Conference

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

EarthCare Landscaping will be present for the Bay-Friendly Landscaping Conference on Sept. 17 at St. Mary’s Event Center in San Francisco.

This Conference / Trade-Show is the place to go for all serious environmental landscape professionals.

It is a very well organized and run event. There will be over 400 attendees which directly relate to EarthCare Landscaping’s pervious services.

“We at EarthCare Landscaping want to introduce to the greater community our amazing aesthetic accomplishments with pervious concrete,” said Ryan Marlinghaus, president of EarthCare landscaping.

Mr. Marlinghaus will be attending the conference and will be available to personally answer all questions related to pervious concrete in general and describe our unique solutions.

Marlinghaus added that, “making pervious concrete beautiful has been a passion of mine for over 3 years now.  I have invested a tremendous amount of time and resources into this.  We have been keeping a low profile while we perfected our mix and techniques, now I can’t wait to introduce our results to a broader audience!”

“Transforming Urban Landscapes to Protect Our Water Resources” is the theme of this event and pervious concrete is a well-recognized practice in achieving this.