turf block at menards
“Turfstone” pavers — from the look, I’ll be these are made by Uniblock — at Menard’s

Is there a variety of breeze block that can be used for a driveway or patio? Yes: It’s called turf block or grid block or turfstone, and  I am pretty sure it’s been around for decades. Turf block is an interesting alternative for use in areas where conserving water, reducing the effects of flooding, and minimizing storm flow to municipal drainage systems are concerns — online, I see it written up by some water conservation districts. By its very design, turf block is permeable — some of the rain water can drain into the ground via the open spaces vs. flow off into municipal storm sewers.  Oh — and I think these are cool looking too!

The question — “Can I use breeze blocks to make a patio floor?” — came in on my recent major update 20 companies that sell breeze block — 31 designs. While you could conceivably use decorative breeze blocks to make a walkway, driveway, driveway buffer area, etc., I know that a kissing cousin — called turf blocks or grid blocks — also had been invented with these purposes in mind. When I first saw turf blocks during my breeze block research, I recognized it immediately. Like a flashback to my childhood. Could it be that Grandma had it at her house in California? Maybe that’s where my spark of excitement came from when I first saw it! 

To help readers get started if they wanted to search this out, I jumped online and found at quite a few places to. Honestly: I bet you can get it nationwide, it’s so basic. If my search didn’t turn up your region, I recommend using the search term “turf block” and then your city or state and see what the google turns up.

turf stone
Belgrade’s Turfstone

Note #1 — there are several different designs.

And note #2, as I know this is going to come up in a comment if I don’t say it here: I am not an expert, but it seems like the irregular nature of this as a walking surface could make trips and falls a concern. So: Consult with a pro and consider your options accordingly.

Where to buy turf blocks

#1 — Check your local big box stores and local companies that sell pavers. 

  • I could see them for sale at Menards (operates in only certain regions, I think). 
  • Belgard offers turf blocks and I’m guessing they market to a broad swath of the U.S. 

Southern California:

  • RCP Block has a somewhat different design with their Bella Vista Turf Blocks. They have six retail location in Southern California.
  • Air Vol Block is based in San Luis Obispo, They’ve been in business since 1962 🙂
  • Acker-Stone makes turf block and looks like it serves the Arizona and California markets.

Florida and other markets as far north as Raleigh:

  • Tremron — “Tremron manufacturers and distributes brick pavers, retaining walls, and hardscape products to the Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Daytona, Lakeland, Atlanta, Savannah, Valdosta, Hilton Head, Columbia, Charleston, and Raleigh markets. “
  • A1 Block Corp. — based in Orlando — manufacturers and sells turf block, along with 10 designs of breeze block.
  • Flagstone Pavers of Brooksville makes its own diamond turf block.
  • Carroll’s in St. Pete.

Virginia:

South Carolina:

East Coast, Midwest, and into Ontario:

  • Unilock — Their turf block is called “Turfstone”. They serve a wide swath of the Midwest, East Coast, and into Ontario:

turf block where to buy

Do any readers have turf block driveways, walkways, or patios?

Does this story make you want one?

And, let me know if you find any more manufacturers or retailers!

  1. Melinda says:

    There was a photo of a beautiful turf block driveway filled with succulents in a recent issue of House Beautiful. I never thought of anything other than grass going in the open spaces, but I bet there are a number of tough plants that would be up to the task.

  2. rebecca says:

    I found some photos and I see the grass or I guess rocks could go in the spaces. But beware, weeding in those would be a sisyphean task and weedkillers are dangerous!

    1. CarolK says:

      The House Beautiful article that Melinda cited suggests cutting out strips of sod for the open spaces. It establishes itself quicker than grass seed and helps prevent weeds. You could also use moss, or thyme and one driveway in the article used succulents.

      Also, a neighbor of mine uses vinegar on any weeds in her yard.

  3. John C says:

    This Old House has a video online that demonstrates building a grass driveway with honeycomb pavers. They are plastic grids rather than cast concrete – not sure if they would work well for a walk (tricky for spike heels, I would think.) They are designed for vehicle driveways and parking where pavement is not desired, stormwater management, etc. Search for ‘how-to-build-grass-driveway’.

    1. Mary Elizabeth says:

      Any of these applications would make walking in high heels dangerous, I would think. At least it would for me, who am a klutz with weak ankles and avoids high heels anyway. 🙂

      1. Pam Kueber says:

        Anyone concerned about slips and falls as an issue with flooring surfaces should consult with pros! As I get older — and my bones get more brittle — it’s a subject on my radar, personally. You know I don’t like readers giving safety advice — get with pros!

  4. Dan ODay says:

    CarolK is right – straight vinegar sprayed on weeds does work, though not as quickly as things like RoundUp, and it may take more applications. Still, much safer and cheaper.
    These blocks are not particularly good for patios or walkways. No matter what you put in the openings, they will still catch furniture legs and some shoe heels. They are designed mostly for driveways.

  5. Allison says:

    For a driveway or parking area, I believe these would typically be laid on a sand bed with weed block fabric underneath, much like you’d lay a loose brick patio or walkway.

    A neighbor had a pair of tire-width trails (don’t know how to describe it) of these driveway blocks laid through his lawn for all-weather access to the back yard. They looked nice.

  6. Jennifer Kepesh says:

    We just made a parking patio with these blocks, specifically to be better stewards of water. They look great. You can fill the holes with gravel or with hardy groundcover (we’re trying that).

  7. Dave says:

    Where I’m from we call these this grasscrete which is also a brand name. Most people don’t install this alone without also planting grass in between. The main reason I see it used for is if you need an auxiliary parking area or emergency vehicle access but you don’t want to put in a hard material like concrete because you can’t put in more concrete for code reasons or you don’t like the aesthetics of concrete. Sometimes people also use it for a softer driveway application. The trick is if you don’t do the foundation right or plan the drainage correctly it can get buckled and hard to correct it. But if done right it can look great, especially if the grass is grown so that it slightly hides the concrete grid. http://www.27east.com/assets/Article/437180/Turfstone_Pewter__.jpg

  8. tdemonti says:

    We purchased a mid-70’s split level that has these turf blocks inside and outside of a gate in a heavily shaded area. Moss grows in between. I do see a small apartment building with turf blocks as the driveway and small parking area.

    I’d love to have these for a driveway but hubby thinks they’d become uneven and difficult to shove snow.

  9. Dee says:

    I have never heard of turf block, but I’m currently smack dab in the middle of converting part of my backyard into a screen block patio. I’ve given up trying to grow a lawn on it, as it gets too much son and I don’t have in-ground sprinklers.

    As it happened, I needed to have part of my old cast iron drain pipe replaced in that same backyard, so while they were going to tear up my yard anyway, I asked the owner of the company if his guys could scrape off enough of my topsoil to be able to put sand, landscape cloth, and screen blocks there instead. They just did it a few days ago!

    I’ve been collecting screen blocks for a couple of years from our local building materials re-use center. Most are the cloverleaf design, as that seems to be the main style for sale here in Montana. But, they aren’t all the same color, at least, and I do have a few single blocks in interesting designs. I’ve seen a variety of designs in the landscaping around mid-century homes in town, so there was more variety around here at some point in the past.

    I’m going to plant drought-tolerant, “lawn-replacement” plants like sedum in the “holes.” If I don’t have enough screen blocks, I might have to fill in with solid pavers, but hopefully, not too many.

  10. Linda Fry says:

    Hi Kate- I wanted to let you know, I removed my wood deck (wood falling apart/critters like to nest under the desk) and underneath is a brick herringbone patio!! My deck was installed in 2006 (it came with the house). My house is a 65 ranch – I’ve always wonder what was underneath the deck – and it is a nice brick patio! I’m taking pics and will send your way – Yahoo! Renovate Safe!
    I might have to purchase some of these other blocks to make it a patio garden.

  11. VH says:

    The state Fish and Wildlife agency bought a run -down cattle ranch down the highway from my place. They opened up the salvage rights on the buildings to bidding and I got in for just $15. While salvaging in the house I noticed breeze block overgrown with weeds and began pulling it up. I kept on digging up long-forgotten blocks until I had 650 of them. Each of them needed to be cleared of hard packed soil and roots. It was a hard job but well worth it. I made a patio and walkways, solving the dust, mud and drainage problems around my house. I did not use a weed barrier. I used sand to level, and then filled the holes with gravel. I planted Woolly thyme here and there to soften the look.

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