Permeable Systems

Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement: A best management practice to control stormwater runoff.

Permeable Paver - BrickstoneBrickstone Permeable

Our Brickstone Permeable paver delivers the look of traditional Brickstone pavers while providing the full advantages of a permeable surface. Brickstone Permeable pavers can be laid in herringbone, basketweave, and running bond patterns alone or with traditional Brickstone pavers—with a seamless transition between permeable and impermeable surfaces. And this paver’s ergonomic proportions make hand-laying a breeze.

Permeable Paver - Aqua-LocAqua-Loc Permeable

Delivering a more contemporary look, Willow Creek Aqua-Loc permeable pavers embody the perfect marriage of form and function. With their signature undulating design, Aqua-Loc pavers’ gently offset pattern creates a dynamic paved surface with a dash of elegance. Diamond-shaped voids between the corners of the pavers enable runoff to drain into below-grade retention areas.


The PermEdge edge restraint system for permeable pavers accommodates straight and curved applications.


Carrying potentially heavy concentrations of pollutants, stormwater runoff poses water quality issues in urban, suburban and rural environments.

Stormwater that flows across fields, yards and paved surfaces carries pesticides, vehicle fluids, fertilizers and other pollutants. These pollutants then become concentrated in lakes and waterways when discharged from storm sewers.  Fortunately, awareness of the problem is growing, and mitigating technologies have become available.

Permeable interlocking concrete pavements (PICP) are among the tools now available to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality.  Because they allow rainwater and snowmelt to infiltrate onsite, through the paved surface and into the subsoil, PICP systems help protect aquatic ecosystems, conserve water resources and mitigate flooding, while supporting vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Willow Creek permeable pavers provide an attractive, high-performance PICP stormwater management option suitable for residential, commercial and public works applications.

NOTE: Guide Specifications for Willow Creek permeable pavers are available HERE.


Winter Weather Advantage

Melting snow drains immediately through permeable pavers, creating sure footing for pedestrians and eliminating the risk of re-freeze. Impervious surfaces hold standing water and slush, creating unsightly obstacles for pedestrians and a safety hazard when water re-freezes.


Permeable pavers made this outdoor living space possible when the regulating municipality wouldn’t allow the homeowner to add more impermeable surfaces. The project used Willow Creek Brickstone permeable pavers with borders, colors and patterns tastefully delineating each space.

Permeable Paver Solutions

         By Brenda Bredahl, Willow Creek Paving Stones

         (from Hardscape magazine, Feb/Mar 2015)


Burt Plett is the go-to guy for permeable pavers at Willow Creek Paving Stones. As more and more communities and homeowners look for water conservation and stormwater management solutions, Burt sees an opportunity for contractors to provide a permeable paver solution.

Why are more homeowners requesting permeable pavers?
Burt: Homeowners might learn about permeable pavers when they want to create a patio, but during the permitting process they discover that their city has an impervious surface limit. These limits are increasingly commonplace. Sometimes homeowners come to a contractor having done some research because they want to be as green as possible in their landscaping. Permeable pavers are often the best solution. Permeables should be considered for situations where water pools or ice builds up, in areas needing high-flow drainage, or near shorelines where runoff or water quality is a concern.
What are some specific examples and solutions that contractors used?
Burt: In an 104-unit, transit-oriented development in Minneapolis called Oaks Station Place, permeable pavers solved several issues in paving 9,000 sf of public walkways and a residential patio.

The first was to minimize stormwater runoff to the nearby Minnehaha Creek Watershed. The second was to make the highly trafficked walkways safer by minimizing ice buildup. Lastly, pavers were preferred because they could be easily removed and reinstalled when sculptures planned for the area were ready for installation.

Ecological Benefits of Permeable Pavers
  • Reduce pollutant runoff into waterways
  • Reduce thermal pollution of waterways
  • Reduce "heat island" effect of paved surfaces
  • Recharge groundwater

Economic Benefits

  • Gain usable space on properties
  • Reduce need for retention ponds
  • Reduce costs of stormwater drainage
  • Earn LEED credits

Performance Benefits

  • Eliminates puddles on pavement
  • Eliminates ice patches by draining snow melt
  • Low maintenance
  • Durable beauty

Another example: Homeowners in suburban St. Paul, MN learned their outdoor living space plans exceeded the municipality’s limit on impermeable surfaces. Their existing non-permeable surfaces – their home, drive and basketball court – had already put them very close to the 30% non-permeable limit for their property.

Villa Landscapes of St. Paul provided an attractive solution with permeable pavers. They made it possible to add the dining, grilling and additional parking areas the homeowners wanted.

Last example: Several years ago MRG Tool & Die in Faribault, MN had also reached their municipality’s impervious surface limit. But they needed to expand their parking lot to accommodate growth. Engineer HR Green solved the problem with 18,000 sf of permeable pavers machine-installed by contractor JD Rynders. The parking lot looks so good they hold a classic car show on it every year.

What are some examples of permeables addressing water quality/conservation issues?
Burt: A Minneapolis park district was impressed by the permeable paver system’s ability to replenish groundwater, reduce thermal pollution and protect watersheds from runoff. That’s why it commissioned SEH Inc. and contractor Glacial Ridge to install 19,000 sf of permeable paver parking pads at Fish Lake Park.

The soil was heavily clay and drained poorly, so a drain system of perforated pipe was added beneath the permeable paver installation to direct excess water into a storm sewer to a detention pond. The permeable parking pads also provide drainage for runoff from the asphalt driving lanes located between the pads.

In urban areas, the heat island effect and stormwater management are of great concern as is the watering of urban trees. In a mile-long stretch of sidewalk on Marquette Street in Minneapolis, a permeable installation has achieved those goals including reducing stormwater runoff from more than 50,000 sf of surrounding impermeable pavements.

A support structure manufactured by DeepRoot was installed beneath the pavers. It works something like a pedestal paver system. But the voids around the support structure were filled with bio-infiltration soil mix. The structure was covered with geotextile, layers of drainage aggregate and the pavers.

This system filters pollutants from the stormwater and prevents compaction so water can infiltrate down to the tree roots, reducing the need for irrigation. It can handle 21,600 cf of stormwater from each rain event.

Burt Plett, at left, was part of the team that developed the stormwater management system for Maplewood Mall near St. Paul, MN. The system incorporates permeable pavers, rain gardens, infiltration basins, tree trenches, and water features that collect and direct roof runoff to the permeable pavement areas. The project reduced the overall phosphorus load from the site by at least 60% and sediment by 90% to nearby Kohlman Lake.

How can contractors learn more about permeable pavers?
Burt: The best way to learn more about permeable pavers is to take advantage of training and resources provided by permeable paver manufacturers like Willow Creek and trade groups like the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute. Because permeable paving stones work as a system that is specific to site and soil conditions, the contractor needs to be able to properly assess the site. The Willow Creek website offers a wealth of information, such as case studies, technical bulletins and installation tips.

Permeable pavers can solve many landscaping and water concerns. They are also beautiful, durable and low maintenance. Take the time to educate yourself and your customers on permeable pavers. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Burt Plett is product manager of Willow Creek Paving Stones. Based in Minnesota, Willow Creek offers Brickstone and Aqua-Loc permeable paving stones through a distributor network in 8 states.




Using a Willow Creek PICP system could qualify your building project for credits under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

LEED-certified facilities will experience reduced maintenance and life-cycle operation costs. Recognizing that, many specifiers for building projects are beginning to write LEED certification requirements into bid specifications. And LEED points can be decisive in getting your projects approved by regulatory agencies in environmentally sensitive areas.That’s where permeable pavers can help. Willow Creek permeable pavers can earn LEED credits in several categories:

  • STORMWATER RUNOFF REDUCTION (SS CREDITS 6.1, 6.2) One point can be earned for building on sites where the existing impervious area is greater than 50 percent and the rate and quantity of runoff is reduced by at least 25 percent. Permeable interlocking concrete pavements can reduce runoff to zero for typical storms.
  • LOCAL MATERIALS (MR CREDITS 5.1, 5.2) One to two points can be earned for using local materials: a minimum of 10 to 20 percent of building materials manufactured within a radius of 800 km (500 miles). An additional point is earned if 50 percent of the regionally manufactured materials are extracted, harvested or recovered within this same radius.
  • HEAT ISLAND REDUCTION (SS Credit 7.1) One point can be earned for heat island reduction. An option for meeting this requirement is to use light-colored materials, including pavers, with a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of at least 29 for 50 percent of the site's non-roof impervious surfaces.


For more information on the LEED program, contact the U.S. Green Building Council at (800) 795-1747, or visit

Let Willow Creek permeable pavers help green up your next building project!                                

Willow Creek permeable pavers are available in three attractive colors—Slate, Sandstone and Sedona. Willow Creek permeable pavers are available exclusively at Willow Creek distributors in the nine-state Midwest area.