The Q&A Archives: Planting Over Old Asphalt

Question: I have a very large, deteriorated asphalt driveway around my house. The expense of having it removed would be atronomical. Is it possible to break it up a little more and plant grass over it? Possible raised gardens 18" to 24" also?

Answer: I always smile when I see plants poking up through cracks in the sidewalk and road - it reinforces my faith that nature is unstoppable, despite all the havoc we humans wreak on the Earth! You can break up the asphalt and plant over it with deep-rooted perennial grasses that will help it decompose even more. You'll need to crack the asphalt and the soil below enough to allow for decent drainage, or else choose very hardy ornamental grasses and other ornamentals for the beds that will tolerate poor drainage conditions. I also recommend that you contact your state agency of natural resources to see if they have any information on reclamation of such areas - it could save you a lot of experimentation and frustration to tap into their knowledge. I wish you luck, and would love to hear how it works out!

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