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I have this area that im working on. Got rid of all the existing soil and will have it replaced with better quality soil. Both clay btw but the other is rock free. The area is 20ft long and 10ft wide. I plan on planting 2 crepe myrtles spaced 10 feet apart from the middle and a few juniper shrubs around the sides and the front. Since I'd be left with a lot of barren space, im thinking about installing pavers. Would that be a good idea? Will it help keep the roots cool in our dry climate or make it worse by restricting water supply to them? I'll be doing this project all by myself so I've got a few questions that need adressing. Should i install the pavers first and then plant my trees and shrubs and How much space should i leave in between for my plants? enter image description here

  • Which variety of Juniper? – Bamboo Mar 5 at 22:46
  • Low growing, ground cover type. Why do you ask? – Hamid Sabir Mar 6 at 21:57
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    Because you asked about how much space to leave between pavers and shrubs... if if they're prostrate, wide spreading junipers, pavers get hot, and they won't appreciate holding their foliage above hot paving slabs. – Bamboo Mar 7 at 12:05
  • Oh i see. Sorry about that. So what other options do i have besides the pavers? We get wet winters here and the area becomes inaccessible cause of all the mud. I was hoping pavers might fix that along with filling in all the barren space. – Hamid Sabir Mar 7 at 18:05
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    Your trench area is 20 feet long by 10 feet wide, yes? If the Junipers you're using are the ones we discussed in a previous question, average spread of those is around 7 feet, so allow for that kind of spread when working out precisely where to plant your myrtles, then work out if/how much space will be left that you can pave. You may just end up with a path about 3 feet wide and 20 feet long in front of the planting, rather than in between the planting, because 3 Junipers (say) will take up about 20 feet of the space eventually (n length);7 feet from front to back leaves 3 feet in front. – Bamboo Mar 7 at 19:34
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It depends on your zone and climate. Where you have sustained periods of hot weather pavers and flag stone heat up, particularly so if they are dark in colour. The pavers radiate that heat and make that area hotter. Grass, shrubs and trees make it cooler by letting water vapour out of their leaves and stems.

You can try this yourself any hot afternoon of a summer day. Step on some grass with bare feet and step on a paving stone. You'll know which is which by temperature alone.

Most interlock companies claim that they allow water to penetrate through the joins but if you want a low maintenance solution you will use polymeric sand which slows water draining through the bricks and increases run off.

There is a product that will do what you want and can be planted with grass or tough groundcovers like creeping thyme or sedum. In my area it is called Turfstone but is sold under other names. Turfstone by Unilock

When installed with a proper base of 6 to 10" of crushed gravel and a layer of stone dust the plants will absorb some water, some will drain through and if properly graded large amounts of water will drain towards the planting bed. This could be a DIY project if you are handy but research what is required in your area for interlock.

I have seen this in use under heavy foot traffic with light vehicle traffic and grass stands up well with a little shade. Full sun would require tougher ground covers

See here for details and here

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  • Thanks for the info and the links that you provided. Regarding turf stone, I fail to understand one thing however. If the idea is to plant grass or other ground covers, then why use turf stone pavers at all? I mean, what benefit is there to it compared to a normal grassy lawn with no pavers in between? – Hamid Sabir Mar 6 at 22:27
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    @HamidSabir This semi permeable interlock allows more water to flow through and will take light vehicle traffic and heavy pedestrian traffic. – kevinsky Mar 7 at 1:15
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In Australia I find pavers very well for preserving soil moisture - provided there isn't concrete between them.

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  • So i should lay them down directy on top of soil? no crushed gravel as base? – Hamid Sabir Mar 5 at 22:01
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    Gravel or sand would be good to let water pass. But no plastic film. Crepe myrtles are very drought resistant , they do well in east TX along roadways with no care/watering. – blacksmith37 Mar 5 at 22:27
  • @blacksmith37_i have a semi arid climate which i believe is similar to what you would in west TX. Are crepe myrtles used commonly in the landscape there aswell? – Hamid Sabir Mar 6 at 21:56
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I opt for a space of at least 3.5 feet from any planting, and geotextile filter fabric of the non woven variety laid above 3 inches of coarse gravel/crushed gravel(i prefer 3/8"chip), and underneath 6 inches of the same, where you can then place larger [spaced] pavers of choice in an arrangement of choice, as heat will radiate out and away due to air cushion of gravel surround. The pavers will easily maintain their level due to size and gravel bed, and water can percolate thru without worry.. the juniper will appreciate the cushion with which to root and shed..most plants need a little of their own leaf litter to decompose in the soil for their systems to be strong. .juniper gets twisty and can push up earth quite well over time. Gravel is easily spread, filled and loose pavers can be rearranged in that circumstance. Edging is helpful to keep gravel in place. Mulch is a good addition to cool the soil as it holds moisture in. Alternatively, my girlfriend lays paper bags under the top layer of soil and in a year its all nutrient rich and cool for many inches below.

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  • Thank you for sharing that. I believe what your girlfriend is doing is called "back to eden gardening" method where you cover the soil with mulch that sits ontop of compost that sits ontop of cardboard cuttings or newspaper. I hear it's very effective. She seems to know what she's doing. – Hamid Sabir Mar 17 at 17:26

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