Jul 10, 2017

Practical Solutions

Restaurant & brewery installs permeable patio

The permeable pavement system can withstand the load of weekly grain shipments to the brewery.

Craft beer is thriving in Michigan, with new breweries and tap houses entering the scene almost every month. Axle Brewing’s Livernois Tap and Brewery is one such up-and-coming tap house. The new location in Ferndale, Mich., opened in the spring of 2017.

Axle Brewing is deliberate in its approach to beer, and the brewery’s architectural designers took the same thoughtful approach to the Livernois outdoor patio space. The patio is durable enough to face Michigan’s natural elements and provide amenities to tap house guests. Patrick Thompson Design designed the 24,000-sq-ft patio in partnership with Partners in Architecture. The patio will seat 55 guests. The project began in March 2016.

Patio Pavement

A key component of the patio’s strength and versatility comes from PaveDrain, a permeable articulating concrete block paving surface that allows storm water to infiltrate the ground and return to the Earth’s natural water cycle. The permeable pavement reduces first-flush pollutants.

Storm water ground permeation is an ideal option for businesses in cities like Ferndale, which has a combined sanitary and storm water sewer system that feeds into the George Kuhn Retention Treatment Facility. The Livernois patio diverts storm water from the sewer by infiltrating it into the ground, which can help reduce water treatment fees and stress on the municipal equipment.

The smooth-fitting blocks are safe for strollers and wheelchairs and are not a tripping hazard.

Permeable Benefits

Permeable pavement’s capabilities make it a suitable choice for outdoor spaces such as restaurant patios.

The uncovered patio can absorb rainfall, melting snow and spilled beer. The pavement used in this project is ASTM tested to absorb an average of up to 1,000 in. per ft diameter of rainfall per hour. This quick absorption means Livernois patrons can enjoy the patio quickly after Michigan rainfalls and as soon as the winter snow melts.

Overcoming Michigan’s natural elements responsibly was a key component in choosing permeable pavement. PaveDrain offered Axle Brewing a practical solution to several design obstacles.

Livernois guest safety was a top priority. The smooth-fitting blocks are safe for strollers and wheelchairs. The secure fit ensures they are not a tripping hazard and guests can safely enjoy a cocktail party on the patio. In addition, the quick absorption of rainfall means a faster-drying and slip-free patio surface.

As with any restaurant, the atmosphere sets the tone for guests. Unlike a concrete slab, permeable pavement blocks offer design features and intricate design dynamics. The interlocking design between the permeable blocks creates depth. PaveDrain comes in a variety of colors that can create patterns or work visually on their own.

Livernois brews its own beer. Each week, the tap house receives shipments of grain, which creates an additional requirement for the patio. It had to be strong enough to withstand the weight of trucks and hi-los for delivery. The PaveDrain system meets ASTM D-6684-04 requirements.

The Livernois brewing facility has used locally sourced products wherever possible. In addition to the environmentally responsible nature of green infrastructure, the permeable paving system is manufactured locally, reducing carbon emissions from transport and helping to support the local economy.

Axle Brewing’s responsible and pragmatic approach to its patio will allow it to better serve its guests, while offering a storm water solution. If practical green infrastructure solutions such as permeable pavement can work for a brewery, it also can be a solution for other local companies.  

About the author

James Smits is president of Interface H2O. Smits can be reached at [email protected] or 616.836.3535.