For durability and ease, high-traffic paths, patios, terraces, steps and drives are greatest paved.
But paving does not mean the surface should be impermeable to water. Instead of rain gathering on the surface of being channelled to the stormwater, let it seep into the ground, providing water for plants and soil and filtering out pollutants accumulated around the surface.
A variety of options is present. At the high tech conclusion are hydropavers, which allow water flow throughout their surface; a few trap this water in internal voids, which could then transpire back into the air once the rain has ceased. Other people absorb the water before allowing it to float through the floor beneath.
More conventional options are definitely low-tech but just as powerful in diverting water away from the stormwater.
Flagstones, cobblestones, bricks and concrete pavers could be classed as permeable paving when the distances between them are filled with sand, soil or shingle whereby water will leak. Cementing them in position does not count as permeable, and won’t provide you any environmental cred.
In less-frequented paths use pavers and flagstones as stepping stones, giving a firm surface to stand on but not such a hardcore appearance. Sit in a bed of shingle for a wise result, or to get a softer look in a mattress of groundcover or the daring may favour something taller.
Patios and terraces do not need to be solid sidewalk. A stylish method of titivating these spaces and alleviating unattractive expanses of grey is to remove sets of two or four pavers here and there, then filling the gaps with your favourite flowers or grasses.