As Australian travel restrictions gradually lift, there is still a realistic potential for overnight border closures. Arguably the preference for holiday-makers as we approach Christmas is still to look at places to visit within our home states.
“When coronavirus hit.. we thought, why not trade Brazil for Betoota on an 8,000 kilometre adventure through Queensland?” – ABC news, Nov.
One New South Wales regional centre that can expect to benefit from the ‘Staycation effect’ is Narrabri, a pastoral and agricultural hub located in the beautiful north west plains of NSW.
Renowned for its rich history in cotton farming, and its importance to the states economy in Agribusiness, the region has made national headlines recently due to the controversial proposed SANTOs gas project, which has naturally caused tensions within region as to the economical merits and environmental threats to the largely farming based community.
outdoor paving gets hot
Its thirsty work being a tree in a hard paved area.. Like these below in the beautifully landscaped Beer Garden of Narrabri’s Crossroads Hotel.
Hard surface paving reflects sunlight and behaves a bit like metal – heating and cooling rapidly, not buffering the sun’s energy in any way. This is of course, what leads to the urban heat island effect in cities mostly paved with asphalt roads and concrete buildings
Soft-scaped or more ‘natural’ areas like bodies of water buffer the heat well. Landscaping with grass is ideal as this uses the sun for photosynthesis and this absorbs energy, making the surrounding area cooler.
Its certainly rigorous work involved in keeping farms running, particularly as now the region is affected by an ongoing drought, that has just last week necessitated a visit by Operation Drought relief.
Thats why its all the more important for the local ‘watering hole’ beer garden to provide natural shade, from a tree species that has a broad leaf, is tough and hardy to take the occasional knock, and is quick growing so it can be planted and reach maturity within a year.
The photos below show the previous state of tree pits, filled with loose-fill bark mulch. This constantly needed sweeping back after big nights in a busy courtyard.
Tree surrounds vital
Its thirsty work being a tree in a hard paved area, thats why the original tree surrounds (above) were a loose-fill bark mulch. Commercial builders and landscapers know the problems that can result when installing something not designed to last.
Of course, loose fill bark became quite impractical – when the beer garden filled with patrons, the mulch got kicked around. The tree pits ended up making a mess and causing trip hazards especially for those who already had a few drinks under the belt.
Typically, the species of trees chosen for indoor courtyards are evergreen (rather than deciduous species that lose their leaves in winter) so that the pleasant look of the natural leaves appear in the space all year around.
This means they need lots of water, all year round, not only to grow, but just to remain healthy. The porous tree surround needed a form of permeable paving just to intake the sheer amount of moisture these broad leafed trees are losing to the sun each day.
Porous Paving the answer!
Thankfully, a local landscaper had the answer for the publican – a form of resin bound stone paving which is often know in the industry as Terrabond. Looking the material up, the landscaper found StoneSet DIY kits!
Resin bound stone was the perfect solution to solve multiple numbers of problems, with added benefits that were not even expected by the client.
- Natural stone look with no loose stone
- No more trip hazards or maintenance replacing loose fill bark mulch
- Expanded foot traffic surface in a limited space courtyard
- Slip resistant – R11 rating (suitable for public area ramps)
- No puddles after drinks were spilt slip – drains rapidly during rain
- Drainage for Pressure washing courtyard the next morning
In the end, unfortunately some of the trees also had to be removed. This was to allow for more space with sit down dining during the day. The porous pads were installed in these spots regardless, so that in future a small tree could be replanted by coring out the middle of the pad.
Given the regional location of the Hotel, it also made a big difference that StoneSets resin bound stone product was available in DIY kits. Typically StoneSet is installed by a team of local tradesmen trained and approved in mixing the polyurethane resin technology.
However StoneSet DIY kits employ a single part polyurethane binder which is mixed at a rate of 1kg to every 20kg bag of natural stone. This one-to-one ratio makes the use of DIY kits for smaller sized areas possible (areas over 50sqm require a mechanical mixer and the two-part polyurethane system which must be installed by an approved installer)
Set and forget paving!
So thanks to a proactive publican, an experienced landscaper and a novel DIY product like StoneSet DIY kits, tourists and hard working locals at the Crossroads Hotel can now walk safely with a full tray of beers!
Better than that they can relax at the beer garden under the generous natural shade of healthy trees. All the while knowing that even in the midst of drought, Trees are quenching their thirst with StoneSet whilst patrons do the same with a few beers.