Title:
Method and apparatus for constructing a removable surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for constructing a removable surface includes a plurality of rolls of composite drainage material with overlapped edges. The composite drainage material comprises a layer of a polymeric open mesh core between first and second layers of a non-woven geo-textile fabric having a fibrous outer surface. A closure member secures overlapping edges. The closure member comprises at least one surface of hooks that engages the fibrous outer surface of the fabric to form a hook and loop closure to secure sections of the overlapping longitudinal edge portions together. A method of constructing the removable surface is also provided.



Inventors:
Basil Polivka Jr., A. (Warren, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/862199
Publication Date:
12/16/2004
Filing Date:
06/07/2004
Assignee:
Center West Enterprises
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/46
International Classes:
E01C9/08; E01C11/00; E04H6/10; (IPC1-7): E02B11/00; E03F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ADDIE, RAYMOND W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TAROLLI, SUNDHEIM, COVELL & TUMMINO L.L.P. (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:

Having described the invention, the following is claimed:



1. A method of constructing a removable surface on a land area comprising the steps of: providing a composite drainage material through which water drains, the composite drainage material including a polymeric open mesh core between first and second layers of a non-woven geo-textile fabric having a fibrous outer surface; covering a land area with the composite drainage material by placing rolls of the composite drainage material adjacent one another to form the removable surface; unrolling the rolls of the composite drainage material over the land area so that longitudinal edge portions of adjacent rolls adjoin one another; overlapping a portion of the longitudinal edge portions of the adjacent rolls; and securing the overlapped portions of the longitudinal edge portions of adjacent rolls to each other by applying a closure member comprising at least one surface of hooks onto the fibrous outer surface along the longitudinal edge portions to form a first hook and loop closure between at least one section of the overlapped portions of the longitudinal edge portions to create a gapless and continuous surface of the composite drainage material.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein at least the majority of the land area lies underneath the composite drainage material, the first layer of each of the rolls contacting the land area, the second layer of each of the rolls facing away from the land area and providing the gapless and continuous surface of the composite drainage material; and the composite drainage material directing water which contacts the second layer through the first layer, through the core between the layers, and into the land area covered by the composite drainage material.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said step of overlapping a portion of the longitudinal edge portions comprises overlapping a flap section of the second layer that extends beyond the core of one of the adjacent rolls onto the other of the adjacent rolls.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the closure member comprises a second surface of hooks and wherein said step of securing the overlapped portions of the adjacent rolls comprises the step of applying the layer of closure member to form a second hook and loop closure, opposite the first hook and loop closure, with both sections of the longitudinal edge portions.

5. The method of claim 3 wherein the closure member comprises a second surface opposite the surface with hooks, said step of overlapping a portion of the longitudinal edge portions comprising the step of heat-fusing the flap section and the second surface of the closure member together.

6. An apparatus for removably covering a land area comprising: a plurality of separate rolls of a composite drainage material placed adjacent each other with longitudinal edge portions adjoining and overlapping one another to create a gapless and continuous surface with at least the majority of a land area lying underneath the composite drainage material, the composite drainage material comprising a layer of a polymeric open mesh core between first and second layers of a non-woven geo-textile fabric having a fibrous outer surface; and a layer of a closure member located between the overlapping longitudinal edge portions, the closure member comprising at least one surface of hooks that engage the fibrous outer surface of the composite drainage material to form a first hook and loop closure to secure at least one section of the overlapping longitudinal edge portions together to create a gapless and continuous surface of the composite drainage material.

7. The apparatus according to claim 6 wherein one of the overlapping portions of two adjacent rolls comprises a flap section of the second layer that extends beyond the core onto the second layer of the other of the adjacent rolls.

8. The apparatus according to claim 7 wherein the closure member comprises a second surface of hooks and wherein the overlapped portions of adjacent rolls are secured by forming a second hook and loop closure opposite the first hook and loop closure with both of the overlapped sections of the adjacent rolls.

9. The apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the closure member comprises a second surface opposite the at least one surface of hooks on the closure member, the second surface and the flap section being heat-fused.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/417,831, filed on Apr. 17, 2003, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/156,371, filed May 28, 2002.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention is directed to a method and apparatus for constructing a removable surface for covering a land area.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The transportation industry often requires additional parking areas for automotive vehicle storage prior to vehicle transfer and/or distribution. Such parking areas are typically needed adjacent rail yards and automotive production facilities. These additional parking areas are sometimes only needed for a relatively short period of time, such as two or three months, but can also be used for up to five years. Regardless, it is desirable to minimize the time and expenses associated with constructing the additional parking areas.

[0004] Traditionally, automotive vehicle parking lots are constructed by covering a land area with concrete or asphalt. These traditional construction methods provide a desirable hard surface for automotive vehicles to be driven on, but are time-consuming and expensive. Further, covering the land area with concrete or asphalt can create complications in the project, such as having to construct a retention pond to deal with excess rain water.

[0005] Other less permanent methods for constructing automotive vehicle parking lots are also known. These other methods include covering a land area with gravel, wood chips, or shredded rubber from recycled tires. These non-traditional methods reduce the time and expenses associated with constructing the parking areas. However, these methods do not provide the desired parking surface, and can lead to the automotive vehicles being damaged. Such automotive vehicle damage can range from scratches in a vehicle's paint to extensive body damage caused by vehicles sliding into one another when excessive rain washes away the gravel, wood chips, or shredded rubber, and turns at least a portion of the parking area into a mud pit.

[0006] Many outdoor concerts, weddings, sports events, corporate functions, parties or celebrations do not have any flooring placed over the ground so that patrons, guests or spectators are forced to walk, dance or sit in dirt, grass or sometimes mud.

[0007] On the other hand, outdoor concert venues are typically constructed of concrete which make them permanent fixtures in their outdoor surroundings and they are expensive to build and maintain.

[0008] There is a need for a removable surface for seating or walking or dancing at outdoor events such as concerts, weddings, parties, corporate functions, and sports events. The removable surface should be relatively inexpensive, functional and durable to provide a stable surface which is capable of withstanding heavy loads and/or high traffic. The removable surface should also be capable of being easily rolled up and moved after the event is over. If desired, however, the surface should also be durable enough to be able to become a permanent fixture to the land area for future events.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention provides a method of constructing a removable surface on a land area. According to the method, a composite drainage material is provided through which water drains. The composite drainage material includes a polymeric open mesh core between first and second layers of a non-woven geo-textile fabric having a fibrous outer surface. The land area is covered with the composite drainage material by placing rolls of the composite drainage material adjacent one another to form the removable surface. The rolls of the composite drainage material are unrolled over the land area so that longitudinal edge portions of adjacent rolls adjoin one another. The overlapped portions of the longitudinal edge portions of adjacent rolls are secured to each other by applying a closure member comprising at least one surface of hooks onto the longitudinal edge portions to form a first hook and loop closure between at least one section of the overlapped portions of the longitudinal edge portions to create a gapless and continuous surface of the composite drainage material.

[0010] According to another aspect of the method, at least the majority of the land area lies underneath the composite drainage material and the first layer of each of the rolls contacts the land area and the second layer of each of the rolls faces away from the land area to provide the gapless and continuous surface of the composite drainage material.

[0011] According to another aspect of the method, overlapping a portion of the longitudinal edge portions comprises overlapping a flap section of the second layer that extends beyond the core of one of the adjacent rolls onto the other of the adjacent rolls.

[0012] According to another aspect of the method, the closure material comprises a second surface of hooks and wherein the step of securing the overlapped portions of the adjacent rolls comprises the step of applying the layer of closure material to form a second hook and loop closure, opposite the first hook and loop closure, with both sections of the longitudinal edge portions.

[0013] According to another aspect of the method, the closure material comprises a second surface opposite the surface with hooks and wherein the step of overlapping a portion of the longitudinal edge portions comprises the step of heat-fusing the flap section and the second surface of the closure material together.

[0014] The present invention further provides a removable surface for covering a land area. The removable surface comprises a plurality of separate rolls of a composite drainage material placed adjacent each other. Longitudinal edge portions of the rolls adjoin and overlap one another to create a gapless and continuous surface. At least the majority of a land area lies underneath the composite drainage material. The composite drainage material comprises a layer of a polymeric open mesh core between first and second layers of a non-woven geo-textile fabric having a fibrous outer surface. A layer of a closure member is located between the overlapping longitudinal edge portions. The closure member comprises at least one surface of hooks that engage the fibrous outer surface of the composite drainage material to form a first hook and loop closure to secure at least one section of the overlapping longitudinal edge portions together to create a gapless and continuous surface of the composite drainage material.

[0015] According to another aspect of the invention, one of the overlapping portions of two adjacent rolls comprises a flap section of the second layer that extends beyond the core onto the second layer of the other of the adjacent rolls.

[0016] According to another aspect of the invention, the closure member comprises a second surface of hooks and wherein the overlapped portions of adjacent rolls are secured by forming a second hook and loop closure opposite the first hook and loop closure with both of the overlapped sections of the adjacent rolls.

[0017] According to another aspect of the invention, the closure material comprises a second surface opposite the at least one surface of hooks and wherein the second surface of the closure material and the flap section are heat-fused.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] The foregoing and other features of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which the present invention relates upon reading the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0019] FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a automotive vehicle parking lot constructed in accordance with the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a schematic perspective view of the automotive vehicle parking lot of FIG. 1 during its construction;

[0021] FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view of a portion of the automotive vehicle parking lot shown in FIG. 2 during construction;

[0022] FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3;

[0023] FIG. 5 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating a step in the construction of the automotive vehicle parking lot;

[0024] FIG. 6 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating another step in the construction of the automotive vehicle parking lot;

[0025] FIG. 7 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating a step for constructing a automotive parking lot in accordance with a second method;

[0026] FIG. 8 is a sectional view illustrating another step for constructing the automotive parking lot in accordance with the second method of FIG. 7;

[0027] FIG. 9 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating a step for constructing a automotive parking lot in accordance with a third method;

[0028] FIG. 10 is a sectional view illustrating another step for constructing the automotive parking lot in accordance with the third method of FIG. 9;

[0029] FIG. 11 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating a step for constructing a automotive parking lot in accordance with an fourth method;

[0030] FIG. 12 is a sectional view illustrating another step for constructing the automotive parking lot in accordance with the fourth method of FIG. 12;

[0031] FIG. 13 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 12 illustrating an alternate step for constructing the automotive vehicle parking lot in accordance with the fifth method; and

[0032] FIG. 14 is a sectional view taken along line 14-14 in FIG. 2 illustrating another aspect of the invention;

[0033] FIG. 15 is a schematic perspective view of an automotive vehicle parking lot constructed in accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention;

[0034] FIG. 16 is a sectional view taken along line 16-16 in FIG. 15;

[0035] FIG. 17 is a sectional view taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 15;

[0036] FIG. 18 is a sectional view taken along line 18-18 of FIG. 17 illustrating a step in the construction of the automotive vehicle parking lot;

[0037] FIG. 19 is a sectional view taken along line 19-19 in FIG. 15 illustrating a step for constructing an automotive parking lot in accordance with a fifth method;

[0038] FIG. 20 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 18 illustrating a step for constructing an automotive parking lot in accordance with a sixth method;

[0039] FIG. 21 is a sectional view illustrating another step for constructing the automotive parking lot in accordance with the sixth method of FIG. 20;

[0040] FIG. 22 is an enlarged plan view of a portion of the automotive vehicle parking lot shown in FIG. 15 during construction;

[0041] FIG. 23 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 18 illustrating a step for constructing an automotive parking lot shown in accordance with the fifth method of FIG. 19;

[0042] FIG. 24 is a schematic perspective view of a removable surface for an outdoor concert event in accordance with the present invention;

[0043] FIG. 25 is a schematic perspective view of the removable surface for use as a landfill liner in accordance with the present invention;

[0044] FIG. 26 is a schematic perspective view of the removable surface for standing spectators for a golf tournament in accordance with the present invention;

[0045] FIG. 27 is a schematic perspective view of the removable surface of FIGS. 24-26 during its construction;

[0046] FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional view of the removable surface taken along the lines 28-28 of FIG. 27;

[0047] FIG. 29 is a view similar to FIG. 28 of the removable surface during a second method of construction; and

[0048] FIG. 30 is a view similar to FIG. 28 of the removable surface during a third method of construction.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT

[0049] The present invention is directed to a method and apparatus for constructing an automotive vehicle parking lot on a land area. As representative of the present invention, FIG. 1 illustrates an automotive vehicle parking lot 10.

[0050] The parking lot 10 is situated on a land area 12 adjacent railroad tracks 14. The land area 12 has been cleared of any trees and large shrubbery. Thus, the land area 12 comprises soil 16 and has an upper surface 18 (FIG. 2) which may be covered by grass or other vegetation (not shown). Preferably, the land area 12 is relatively flat.

[0051] A composite material 20 through which water can drain is used to construct the parking lot 10 on the land area 12. The composite drainage material 20 comprises a polymeric open mesh core 22 (FIG. 3) between first and second layers 24 and 26 (FIG. 4) of a non-woven geo-textile fabric. The core 22 is 2-8 mm thick and is extruded from polyethylene resin.

[0052] The geo-textile fabric used for the first and second layers 24 and 26 is a continuous layer of a polypropylene material with an additive to help protect the fabric from the effects of ultraviolet light. The first and second layers 24 and 26 are water permeable, but are sufficiently dense to prevent solid matter, such as soil, from penetrating through the layers. Each of the first and second layers 24 and 26 is 2-8 mm thick.

[0053] The polyethylene core 22 is placed between the first and second layers 24 and 26 and the composite drainage material 20 is laminated using a heating process. The heating process fuses both the first and second layers 24 and 26 of the fabric to the core 22 to create the composite drainage material 20. While central portions 25 and 27 (constituting the vast majority) of the first and second layers 24 and 26, respectively, are fused to the core 22, along the outer periphery of the composite drainage material 20, the first and second layers are not fused to the core, as is described further below.

[0054] The composite drainage material 20 is formed in rolls, as shown in FIG. 2, for ease of shipping and installation. The composite drainage material 20 may be 7 to 12 feet wide, and up to 250 feet long when unrolled. Each roll 28 of the composite drainage material 20 includes oppositely disposed first and second longitudinal edges 30 and 40 (FIG. 4).

[0055] The first longitudinal edge 30 is formed by an edge portion 32 of the first layer 24, an edge portion 33 of the core 22, and an edge portion 34 of the second layer 26. As may be seen in FIG. 4, the edge portions 32-34 are flush with one another and are not fused together. The unfused first longitudinal edge 30 extends inward for a length L1 of 6 to 10 inches to the fused central portion 27 of each roll 28.

[0056] The second longitudinal edge 40 is formed by an edge portion 42 of the first layer 24, an edge portion 43 of the core 22, and an edge portion 44 of the second layer 26. As may be seen in FIG. 4, the edge portions 42-44 are flush with one another. The unfused second longitudinal edge 40 extends inward for a length L2 of 6 to 10 inches to the fused central portions 25 and 27 of each roll 28.

[0057] To construct the parking lot 10, several rolls 28 of the composite drainage material 20 are placed on the land area 12 adjacent one another. The rolls 28 of the composite drainage material 20 are then unrolled, as illustrated in FIG. 2, so that the first longitudinal edge 30 of one roll of the composite drainage material adjoins and overlaps, as described further below, the second longitudinal edge 40 of an adjacent roll of the composite drainage material. The first fabric layer 24 of each roll 28 of the composite drainage material 20 contacts the upper surface 18 of the land area 12. The second fabric layer 26 of each roll 28 faces upward, away from the land area 12, and provides a surface 80 on which automotive vehicles 82 (FIG. 1) may be parked.

[0058] As best seen in FIG. 4, the adjoining first and second longitudinal edges 30 and 40 of adjacent rolls 28 are unrolled so that the second longitudinal edge overlaps the first longitudinal edge. Next, the first and second layers 24 and 26 of the second longitudinal edge 40 are pulled back, as shown in FIG. 5, exposing the core 22. More specifically, the edge portion 42 of the first layer 24 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is folded back underneath itself over the land area 12, and the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 of the second longitudinal edge is pulled back to expose the edge portion 43 of the core 22. The edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 of the first longitudinal edge 30 is also pulled back as shown in FIG. 5.

[0059] The edge portion 43 of the core 22 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is then inserted between the edge portion 33 of the core 22 and the edge portion 32 of the first layer 24 of the first longitudinal edge 30. As may be seen in FIG. 5, there is approximately 4 to 8 inches of overlap between the edge portions 33 and 43 of the cores 22.

[0060] Next, the edge portion 43 of the core 22 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is secured to the edge portion 33 of the core 22. The edge portions 33 and 43 of the cores 22 are secured together by looping a plurality of tie members 50, only one of which is shown in FIG. 5, through the edge portions 33 and 43 and tightening. The tie members 50 may be of any known construction and made of either a plastic or a metal. The tie members 50 are then tightened to draw the edge portions 33 and 34 together and thereby secure the longitudinal edges 30 and 40 to each other.

[0061] The next step is to secure the second layer 26 of the two adjoining rolls 28 to each other and form a seam 52 that extends along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40. As shown in FIG. 6, the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 along the second longitudinal edge 40 is laid down over the edge portion 33 of the core 22 of the first longitudinal edge 30. The edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 along the first longitudinal edge 30 is then unfolded and laid down on top of the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 in an overlapping fashion.

[0062] Next, the edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 are sewn together with stitches 54 at or near the terminal end of the edge portion 44. The stitches 54, which are shown schematically in FIG. 6, weave through the edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 and extend along the entire longitudinal edge portions 30 and 40. The stitches 54 may be made of nylon or other suitable material and can have any known stitching pattern. Sewing of the stitches 54 is preferably done by machine.

[0063] The two second layers 26 are then heat-fused together to form the longitudinally extending seam 52. The edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 are fused together near the terminal end of the edge portion 34 using a heat gun 56, a portion of which is shown schematically in FIG. 6. The seam 52 formed by the two second layers 26 extends along the entire longitudinal edge portions 30 and 40.

[0064] A second method for joining the first and second longitudinal edges 30 and 40 of the adjacent rolls 28 is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. In FIG. 7, it can be seen that the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is pulled back to expose the edge portion 43 of the core 22. Similarly, the edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 of the first longitudinal edge 30 is also pulled back to expose the edge portion 33 of the core 22.

[0065] The edge portion 43 of the core 22 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is then inserted between the edge portion 33 of the core 22 and the edge portion 32 of the first layer 24 of the first longitudinal edge 30. As in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-6, there is approximately 4 to 8 inches of overlap between the edge portions 33 and 43 of the cores 22. As shown in FIG. 7, the edge portion 42 of the first layer 24 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is slid under the edge portion 32 of the first layer 24 of the first longitudinal edge 30.

[0066] Next, the edge portions 33 and 43 of the cores 22 are secured together by tie members 50, as described previously with regard to FIG. 5, through the edge portions 33 and 43. As shown in FIG. 7, there may be more than one row of the tie members 50 extending along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40 of the rolls 28.

[0067] The next step is to secure the second layer 26 of the two adjoining rolls 28 to each other and form a seam 58 that extends along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40. As shown in FIG. 8, the edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 along the first longitudinal edge 30 is laid down over the edge portion 33 of the core 22 of the first longitudinal edge 30. The edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 along the second longitudinal edge 40 is then unfolded and laid down on top of the edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 in an overlapping fashion.

[0068] The edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 are sewn together with stitches 54 at or near the terminal end of the edge portion 34. The stitches 54, which are shown schematically in FIG. 8, weave through the edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 and extend along the entire longitudinal edge portions 30 and 40. The stitches 54 may be made of nylon or other suitable material and can have any known stitching pattern. Sewing of the stitches 54 is preferably done by machine.

[0069] The two second layers 26 are then heat-fused together to form the longitudinally extending seam 58. The edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 are fused together near the terminal end of the edge portion 44 using the heat gun 56, shown schematically in FIG. 8. The seam 58 formed by the two second layers 26 extends along the entire longitudinal edge portions 30 and 40.

[0070] A third method for joining the first and second longitudinal edges 30 and 40 of the adjacent rolls 28 is illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. In FIG. 9, it can be seen that the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 of the second longitudinal edge 40 and the edge portion 42 of the first layer 24 of the second longitudinal edge are pulled back to expose the edge portion 43 of the core 22. The edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 of the first longitudinal edge 30 is also pulled back to expose the edge portion 33 of the core 22.

[0071] The edge portion 43 of the core 22 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is then placed on top of the edge portion 33 of the core 22 and the edge portion 32 of the first layer 24 of the first longitudinal edge 30. As in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-6, there is approximately 4 to 8 inches of overlap between the edge portions 33 and 43 of the cores 22. The edge portions 33 and 43 of the cores 22 are then secured together by tie members 50, as described previously with regard to FIG. 5, through the edge portions 33 and 43. It should be understood that there may be more than one row of the tie members 50 extending along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40 of the rolls 28.

[0072] The next step is to secure the second layer 26 of the two adjoining rolls 28 to each other and form a seam 60 that extends along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40. As shown in FIG. 10, the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 along the second longitudinal edge 40 is laid down over the edge portion 33 of the core 22 of the second longitudinal edge. The edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 along the first longitudinal edge 30 is then laid down on top of the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 in an overlapping fashion.

[0073] The edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 are sewn together with stitches 54 at or near the terminal end of the edge portion 44. The stitches 54, which are shown schematically in FIG. 10, weave through the edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 and extend along the entire longitudinal edge portions 30 and 40. The stitches 54 may be made of nylon or other suitable material and can have any known stitching pattern. Sewing of the stitches 54 is preferably done by machine.

[0074] The two second layers 26 are then heat-fused together to form the longitudinally extending seam 60. The edge portions 34 and 44 of the two second layers 26 are fused together near the terminal end of the edge portion 34 using the heat gun 56, shown schematically in FIG. 8. The seam 60 formed by the two second layers 26 extends along the entire longitudinal edge portions 30 and 40.

[0075] Additional methods for securing the second layers 26 together along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40 and forming a seam are illustrated in FIGS. 11-13. In FIG. 11, the edge portion 44 of the second layer 26 of the second longitudinal edge 40 and the edge portion 42 of the first layer 24 of the second longitudinal edge are pulled back to expose the edge portion 43 of the core 22. The edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 of the first longitudinal edge 30 is also pulled back to expose the edge portion 33 of the core 22.

[0076] The edge portion 43 of the core 22 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is then inserted between the edge portion 33 of the core 22 and the edge portion 34 of the second layer 26 of the first longitudinal edge 30. The edge portion 43 of the core 22 overlaps the edge portion 33 of the core 22 over a distance of 4 to 8 inches.

[0077] Next, the edge portion 43 of the core 22 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is secured to the edge portion 33 of the core 22. The edge portions 33 and 43 of the cores 22 are secured together by looping a plurality of tie members 50, only one of which is shown in FIG. 11, through the edge portions 33 and 34 and tightening. The tie members 50 are then tightened to draw the edge portions 33 and 34 together and thereby secure the longitudinal edge 30 and 40 to each other.

[0078] The next step is to secure the second layer 26 of the two adjoining rolls 28 to each other and form a seam 62 that extends along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40. This may be done in a couple of different manners. One process for securing the two second layers 26 together is illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12. As shown in FIG. 11, an end section 46 of the edge portion 44 of the second longitudinal edge 40 is trimmed off using a sharp blade or utility knife 64. The end section 46 is trimmed off at a location such that, when the edge portion 34 of the first longitudinal edge 30 is unfolded and laid down next to the now-cut edge portion 44, a butt joint 66 (FIG. 12) is created between the second layer 26 of the first longitudinal edge and the second layer 26 of the second longitudinal edge 40. The two second layers 26 are then heat-fused together along the butt joint 66 of the adjoining edge portions 34 and 44 to form the longitudinally extending seam 62.

[0079] An alternate method for securing the second layers 26 together along the longitudinal edges 30 and 40 and forming a seam is illustrated in FIG. 13. In FIG. 13, the edge portion 34 of the first longitudinal edge 30 and the edge portion 44 of the second longitudinal edge 40 are brought together in an abutting fashion. The edge portions 34 and 44 are then sewn together using stitches 68, such as the stitches previously described, to form a longitudinally extending seam 70. Depending on their size, excess sections 72 of the edge portions 34 and 44 that extend beyond the stitching may either be trimmed off or left attached to the edge portions.

[0080] With the adjoining longitudinal edges 30 and 40 of adjacent rolls 20 secured together using either of the aforementioned methods, a continuous and gapless surface 84 of the composite drainage material 20 is created on which the automotive vehicles 80 can be parked.

[0081] FIG. 14 is a sectional view through a portion of FIG. 2 and illustrates another step in the process for constructing the automotive parking lot 10. This step comprises anchoring peripheral sections 90 of a portion of the rolls 28 that define the outer periphery of the automotive parking lot 10 to the land area 12. The peripheral sections 90 are anchored by being buried in the land area 12. First, trenches 92, only one of which is shown in FIG. 14, are dug in the soil 16 underneath the peripheral sections 90. The trenches 92 are one to four feet wide and one to three feet deep. Next, the peripheral sections 90 are placed into the trenches 92, forming a lining inside each trench. Finally, the trenches 92 are filled with the soil 16 previously removed, covering over the peripheral sections 90 and thereby anchoring the peripheral sections to the land area 12.

[0082] Finally, to complete the automotive parking lot 10, lines 100 (FIG. 1) are painted on the surface 80 on the second fabric layer 24 of the rolls 28 of the composite drainage material 20 to indicate a plurality of parking places for the automotive vehicles 82.

[0083] As shown by the arrows in FIGS. 6, 8, 10, and 12 the composite drainage material 20 directs water, such as rain, which contacts the surface 80 through the composite drainage material and into the soil 16 of the land area 12. The water flows through the second fabric layer 26, through the core 22, and through the first fabric layer 24. The combination of the core 22 and the fabric layers 24 and 26 function to disperse the water across a large section of the land area 12 so that normal ground water flow for the land area is maintained. This dispersion of the water obviates the need for a retention pond.

[0084] The core 22 in the composite drainage material 20 provides a sufficiently hard surface for the automotive vehicles 82 to be driven on. Further, the heat fusion of the fabric layers 24 and 26 to the core 22 allows the composite drainage material 20 to withstand vehicle traffic, including turning of vehicle wheels, without the fabric layers becoming detached from the core. The geo-textile fabric of the first and second layers 24 and 26 stabilizes the soil 14 and traps the soil underneath the composite drainage material 20 to prevent large amounts of dirt and/or mud from penetrating to the upper surface 80 of the composite drainage material. Further, the continuous and gapless surface 84 formed by the overlapping junction between the adjacent rolls 28 of the composite drainage material 20 also prevents dirt and/or mud from penetrating to the surface 80 between adjacent rolls. The composite drainage material 20 is reusable and has a useful life of up to five years. Finally, the composite drainage material 20 is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and install.

[0085] FIG. 15 illustrates an automotive vehicle parking lot 10a constructed in accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention. The parking lot 10a is similar to the parking lot in FIG. 1 and parts that are the same or similar are given the same reference numerals with the suffix “a” attached.

[0086] The parking lot 10a is situated on a relatively flat land area 12a. The parking lot 10a is made of a composite drainage material 20a which is identical to the composite drainage material 20 illustrated in FIG. 3 and described below.

[0087] The parking lot 10a is made of a plurality of rolls 28a of the three layer composite drainage material 20a that are secured together. The parking lot 10a in FIG. 15 includes a main drive 110 and a plurality of drive lanes 112 intersecting the main drive. The main drive 110 bisects the parking lot 10a. The main drive 110 and drive lanes 112 provide a navigation route for the vehicles to follow when they are parked on the parking lot.

[0088] Portions of the land area 12a underneath the area where the main drive 110 and drive lanes 112 are to be located are prepared before the rolls 28a of composite drainage material 20a are laid on the land area surface 18a. Referring now to FIG. 17, to prepare the land area 12a for the main drive 110, approximately 6-8 inches of land 16a are excavated over a width of approximately 22 feet to form a trench. A layer of filter material 114 comprising a non-woven geo-textile fabric identical to the first or second layer of composite drainage material 20a is placed in the trench. A 6 inch layer of stones or gravel is placed onto the layer of filter material 114 in the trench.

[0089] Referring now to FIG. 16, to prepare the land area 12a for the drive lanes 112, approximately 2-4 inches of land 16a is excavated over a width of approximately 22 feet to form a trench. A layer of filter material 114 is placed in the trench. A 2 inch layer of stones or gravel is placed onto the layer of filter material 114 in the trench.

[0090] The land area 12a, underneath where the main drive 110 is to be located, is constructed to have six inches of gravel because this is the most heavily navigated area of the parking lot 10a. The gravel provides a sturdier foundation underneath the main drive 110 because the gravel and the filter material 114 act as a filter to channel water from the surface 80a of the parking lot 10a to help extend the life of the composite drainage material 200 along the main drive 110.

[0091] The land area 12a underneath where the drive lanes 112 are to be located is constructed to have two inches of gravel because this is also a heavily navigate area of the parking lot 10a, albeit not as heavily navigated as the main drive 110. The gravel provides a sturdier foundation underneath the drive lanes because the gravel and the filter material act as a filter to channel water from the surface 80a of the parking lot 10a to help extend the life of the composite drainage material 20a along the drive lanes 112.

[0092] A space of approximately 72 feet or so separates each pair of drive lanes 112 in the parking lot 10a. The 72 foot wide space separating each drive lane 112 is for a plurality of parking spaces 100a for the vehicles.

[0093] The vehicle parking lot 10a illustrated in FIG. 15 occupies a land area of approximately 42 acres and includes approximately 6700 parking spaces. The size of the parking lot 10a can vary from much smaller to much larger than these approximate measurements and are provided as an example only.

[0094] The parking lot 10a is constructed similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Several rolls 28a (FIG. 18) of the composite drainage material 20a are placed on the land area 12a adjacent one another. The rolls 28a of the composite drainage material 20a are then unrolled, in a manner similar to as illustrated in FIG. 2, so that the first longitudinal edge 30a of one roll 28a of the composite drainage material adjoins and overlaps the second longitudinal edge 40a of an adjacent roll 28a of the composite drainage material. The first fabric layer 24a of each roll 28a of the composite drainage material 20a contacts the upper surface 18a of the land area 12a. The second fabric layer 26a of each roll 28a faces upward, away from the land area 12a, and provides a surface 80a on which automotive vehicles 82a may be parked.

[0095] The adjoining first and second longitudinal edges 30a, 40a of adjacent rolls 28a are unrolled so that the second longitudinal edge 40aoverlaps the first longitudinal edge 30a. The rolls 28a are manufactured so that the second layer 26a extends approximately 4-6 inches farther than the core 22a and the first layer 24a to form a flap section. As best illustrated in FIG. 18, the 4-6 inch extension of the second layer 26a of the second longitudinal edge 40a is secured to the second layer 26a of the first longitudinal edge 30a by heat-fusing using a heat gun 56a.

[0096] The parking lot according to FIG. 15 illustrates areas of the parking lot 10`a in bold lines 93 and in a grid pattern. The bold lines 93 schematically represent adjacent edges 30a, 40a of rolls 28a of the composite drainage material have been secured to each other in a manner illustrated in FIG. 19.

[0097] FIG. 19 is a sectional view through a portion of FIG. 15 and illustrates another step in the process for constructing the parking lot 10a. This step is similar to the step illustrated in FIG. 14. This step comprises excavating a portion of the land 16a underneath the first longitudinal edge 30a of a roll 28a of composite drainage material to form a trench 92a. The first longitudinal edge 30a of a roll 28a of composite drainage material 20a is placed into the trench and buried with the excavated land 16a and secured in place, or anchored, by the land 16a.

[0098] Next, the second longitudinal edge 40a of an adjacent roll 28a of composite drainage material 20a is placed over the land 16a and over a portion of the second layer 26a of a portion adjacent the first longitudinal edge 30a which is not buried under the land. In the same manner as illustrated in FIG. 18, the second layer 26a of the second longitudinal edge 40a is secured to the portion of the second layer 26a adjacent the first longitudinal edge 30a using the heat gun 56a.

[0099] Specifically, the flap section of the second layer 26a of the second longitudinal edge 40a is secured to the second layer 26a of the first longitudinal edge 30a by heat-fusing with the heat gun 56a.

[0100] An alternative method for securing together adjacent longitudinal edges 30a, 40a of composite drainage material is illustrated in FIGS. 20 and 21. First, the first and second layers 24a, 26a of the second longitudinal edge 40a are pulled back, as shown in FIG. 20, exposing the core 22a. More specifically, the edge portion 42a of the first layer 24a of the second longitudinal edge 40a is folded back underneath itself over the land area and the edge portion 44a of the second layer 26a of the second longitudinal edge 40a is pulled back to expose the edge portion 43a of the core 22a. Next, the edge portion 34a of the second layer 26a of the first longitudinal edge 30a is pulled back as shown in FIG. 20.

[0101] Next, the edge portion 43a of the core 22a of the second longitudinal edge 40a is inserted between the edge portion 33a of the core 22a and the edge portion 32a of the first layer 24a of the first longitudinal edge 30a. As may be seen in FIG. 20, there is approximately 4 to eight inches of overlap between the edge portions 33a, 43a of the cores 22a.

[0102] Next, the edge portion 43a of the core 22a of the second longitudinal edge 40a is secured to the edge portion 33a of the core 22a of the first longitudinal edge 30a by melting a portion of a polyethylene filler rod 57 over the overlapped edge portions 33a, 43a of the cores 22a with the heat gun 56a. The melted polyethylene filler rod 57 seeps into the overlapped cores 22a and hardens on the core 22a upon cooling to form a joint 59.

[0103] As best illustrated in FIG. 21, the next step is to secure the second layer 26a of the two adjoining rolls 28a to each other and form an outer seam 61 that extends along the longitudinal edges. The edge portion 44aof the second layer 26a along the second longitudinal edge 40a is laid down over the edge portion 33a of the core 22a of the first longitudinal edge 30a. The edge portion 34a of the second layer 26a along the first longitudinal edge 30a is then unfolded and laid down on top of the edge portion 44a of the second layer 26a of the second longitudinal edge 40a in an overlapping fashion.

[0104] The two second layers 26a are then heat-fused together to form the longitudinally extending outer seam 61 using the heat gun 56a. The edge portions 34a, 44a of the two second layers 26a are fused together near the terminal end of the edge portion 34a using the heat gun 56a. The seam 61 formed by the two second layers 26a extends along the entire longitudinal edge portions 30a, 40a.

[0105] FIG. 22 illustrates a composite drainage material 20b used to construct the parking lot 10a according to the present invention. The composite drainage material 20b is similar to the composite drainage material 20a and parts that are the same or similar are given the same reference numerals with the suffix “b” attached.

[0106] The composite drainage material 20b comprises a polymeric open mesh core 22b between first and second layers 24b and 26b of a non-woven geo-textile fabric. The core 22b is 2-8 mm thick and is extruded from polyethylene resin. The composite drainage material 20b includes a fourth layer 119 on top of the second layer 26b.

[0107] The geo-textile fabric used for the first and second layers 24band 26b is a continuous layer of a polypropylene material with an additive to help protect the fabric from the effects of ultraviolet light. The first and second layers 24b and 26b are water permeable, but are sufficiently dense to prevent solid matter, such as soil, from penetrating through the layers. Each of the first and second layers 24b and 26b is 2-8 mm thick.

[0108] In the composite drainage material 20b according to FIG. 22, the polyethylene core 22b is placed between the first and second layers 24b, 26b and the fourth layer 119 is placed on top of the second layer 26b and the composite drainage material 20b is fused to the second layer using a heating process. The heating process fuses both the fourth layer 119 to the second layer 26b of fabric and fuses the first and second layers 24b, 26b of the fabric to the core 22b to create the composite drainage material 20b. While central portions (constituting the vast majority) of the first and second layers 24b and 26b are fused to the core 22b, along the outer periphery of the composite drainage material 20b, so that the fourth layer 119 includes a flap section of approximately 4-6 inches in length. The fourth layer 119 is not fused to the second layer 26b.

[0109] Similar to the core layer 22b, the fourth layer 119 is extruded from polyethylene resin and is 2-8 mm thick. The fourth layer 119 is shown in FIG. 22 as a solid piece of polyethylene resin with circular holes. However, the fourth layer 119 is schematically illustrated only in FIG. 22 and can have any similar construction such as a lattice design.

[0110] The parking lot of FIG. 15 can alternatively be constructed using the composite drainage material 20b of FIG. 22. FIG. 23 illustrates a method of securing two overlapping edges of two adjacent rolls of composite drainage material of 20b while constructing the parking lot 10a.

[0111] Several rolls 28b of the composite drainage material 20b are placed on the land area 16b adjacent one another. The rolls 28b of the composite drainage material 20b are then unrolled, in a manner similar to as illustrated in FIG. 23, so that the first longitudinal edge 30b of one roll 28b of the composite drainage material 20b adjoins and overlaps, the second longitudinal edge 40b of an adjacent roll 28b of the composite drainage material. The first fabric layer 24b contacts the upper surface of the land area 16b. The fourth layer 119 of each roll 28b faces upward, away from the land area 16b, and provides a surface 80b on which automotive vehicles may be parked.

[0112] The adjoining first and second longitudinal edges 30b and 40b of adjacent rolls 28b are unrolled so that the second longitudinal edge 40b overlaps the first longitudinal edge 30b. The flap section of the fourth layer 119 of the second longitudinal edge 40b is secured to the fourth layer 119 of the first longitudinal edge 30b by heat-fusing using the heat gun 56b. Heat-fusing the fourth layers 119 of the first and second longitudinal edges 40b, 30b, melts the polyethylene resin of each of the fourth layers 119 onto each other to form a seam 120.

[0113] The method of heat-fusing the fourth layers 119 of the first and second longitudinal edges 30b, 40b of two adjacent rolls 28b of the composite drainage material 20b according to FIG. 23, provides a secure connection since the melted polyethylene resin from each layer 119 of overlapping fourth layers 119 binds the two layers 119 together when cooled.

[0114] The composite drainage material 20b also advantageously provides a sturdier surface for the vehicles 82 when navigating in the parking lot 10a and can make navigation easier on the parking lot 10a during inclement weather conditions.

[0115] The present invention is also directed to a method and apparatus for constructing a removable surface 200 for covering a land area. The removable surface 200 has a variety of applications other than a parking surface.

[0116] FIG. 24 is a schematic perspective view of a removable surface 200 for seating for an outdoor concert constructed in accordance with the present invention. The removable surface 200 is situated on a land area 202 adjacent a stage 204.

[0117] FIG. 25 is a schematic perspective view of a removable surface 200 used as a landfill liner constructed in accordance with the present invention. The removable surface 200 is placed into a deep hole in the land area 202 and lines the hole. Garbage 206 is placed over the removable surface 200. As the garbage decays and decomposes, the byproducts of recycling are permitted to drain through the removable surface 200 into the land. The removable surface 200 promotes recycling in the landfill and is environmentally friendly.

[0118] FIG. 26 is a schematic perspective view of a removable surface 200 for standing spectators for a golf tournament constructed in accordance with the present invention. The removable surface 200 is situated on the land area adjacent a golf green 208.

[0119] In all of the illustrated applications of FIGS. 24, 25, 26, the land area 202 has been cleared of any trees and large shrubbery. Thus, the land area 202 comprises soil and has an upper surface which may be covered by grass or other vegetation. Preferably the land area 202 is relatively flat.

[0120] Other applications for the removable surface 200 not illustrated in the drawings may include other outdoor events such flooring for an outdoor wedding, corporate event, or graduation ceremony.

[0121] FIG. 27 is a schematic perspective view of the removable surface 200 of FIGS. 24-26 during its construction. FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional view of the removable surface of FIG. 27 taking along the lines 28-28. The removable surface 200 constructed in the various applications illustrated in the drawings is made of a composite drainage material 210. The composite drainage material 210 is similar to the composite drainage material 20 previously described.

[0122] The composite drainage material 210 comprises a polymeric open mesh core 212 (FIGS. 28 and 30) between first and second layers 214 and 216 of a non-woven geo-textile fabric. The core 212 is 2-8 mm thick and is extruded from polyethylene resin.

[0123] The geo-textile fabric used for the first and second layers 214 and 216 is a continuous layer of a polyurethane material with an additive to help protect the fabric from the effects of ultraviolet light. Polyurethane is a biodegradable plastic that is environmentally friendly. The first and second layers 214 and 216 are water permeable, but are sufficiently dense to prevent solid matter, such as soil, from penetrating through the layers. Each of the first and second layers 214 and 216 is 2-8 mm thick.

[0124] The polyethylene core 212 is placed between the first and second layers 214 and 216 and the composite drainage material 210 is laminated using a heating process. The heating process fuses both the first and second layers 214 and 216 of the fabric to the core 212 to create the composite drainage material 210.

[0125] The composite drainage material 210 is formed in rolls 218 (FIG. 27) for ease of shipping and installation. The composite drainage material 210 may be 7 to 12 feet wide, and up to 250 feet long when unrolled. Each roll 218 of the composite drainage material 210 includes oppositely disposed first and second longitudinal edges 230 and 240 (FIGS. 27-30).

[0126] The first longitudinal edge 230 is formed by an edge portion 232 of the first layer 214, an edge portion 233 of the core 212, and an edge portion 234 of the second layer 216. The edge portion 232 of the first layer 214 extends approximately one inch beyond the edge portion 233 of the core 212 and the edge portion 234 of the second layer 216 in the manner of a flap.

[0127] The second longitudinal edge 240 is formed by an edge portion 242 of the first layer 214, an edge portion 243 of the core 212, and an edge portion 244 of the second layer 216. As may be seen in FIGS. 28 and 29, the edge portions 242, 243 and 244 are flush with one another, although it should be understood that one or more of the edge portions could also extend in the manner of a flap.

[0128] To construct the removable surface 200, several rolls 218 of the composite drainage material 210 are placed on the land area 202 adjacent one another. The rolls 218 of the composite drainage material 210 are then unrolled, as illustrated in FIG. 27, so that the first longitudinal edge 230 of one roll 218 of the composite drainage material 210 adjoins and overlaps, as described further below, the second longitudinal edge 240 of an adjacent roll 218 of the composite drainage material.

[0129] The second fabric layer 216 of each roll 218 of the composite drainage material 210 contacts the upper surface of the land area 202. The first fabric layer 214 of each roll faces upward, away from the land area 202 and provides the uppermost surface of the removable surface 200.

[0130] As best illustrated in FIG. 28 the edge portion 234 of the second layer 216 and the edge portion 232 of the first layer 214 are secured to the first layer 214 of the longitudinal edge 240 by a closure member 250. The closure member 250 is approximately five inches in width and has a length equal to the length of the longitudinal edges 230, 240 of the rolls 218 of composite drainage material 210.

[0131] The closure member 250 is a generally flat piece of hard plastic comprising two opposite surfaces 252, 254. In the embodiment according to FIG. 28, a plurality of hooks 256 protrude from the surfaces 252, 254. The geo-textile fabric used for the first and second layers 214 and 216 of the composite drainage material 210 has a fibrous outer surface 258. The fibrous outer surface 258 of the composite drainage material 210 is sufficiently coarse to function as a plurality of loop members. The hooks 256 engage into the fibrous outer surface 258 of the first and second layers 214 and 216 of the composite drainage material 210 to form a hook-and-loop closure to secure the overlapped longitudinal edges 230, 240 together.

[0132] FIG. 29 is a view similar to FIG. 28 of the removable surface 200 during a second method of construction. The removable surface 200 comprises the same composite drainage material 210 as in the previous embodiment, however, the longitudinal edges 230 and 240 are secured together by a closure member 270.

[0133] The closure member 270 in FIG. 29 is a strip of plastic approximately five inches in width and has a length equal to the length of the longitudinal edges 230, 240 of the rolls of composite drainage material 210.

[0134] The closure member 270 is a generally flat piece of hard plastic comprising lower and upper surfaces 272, 274. Hooks 256 protrude from only the lower surface 272 of the closure member 270. The upper surface 274 of the closure member 270 is generally flat and does not have hooks.

[0135] The end portion 234 of the second layer 216 and the edge portion 232 of the first layer 214 of the first longitudinal edge 230 are secured to the flat surface 274 of the closure member 270 by heat fusing the material of the closure member to the longitudinal edge 230 with a heat gun 300. The hooks 256 then engage into the fibrous outer surface 258 of the first layer 214 of the composite drainage material 210 to form a hook-and-loop closure to secure the overlapped longitudinal edges 230, 240 together.

[0136] FIG. 30 is a view similar to FIG. 28 of the removable surface during a third method of construction. The removable surface 200 comprises the same composite drainage material 210 and the same closure member 270 as in FIG. 29.

[0137] However, in the embodiment of FIG. 30, instead of heat fusing the edge portion 234 and the edge portion 232 of the first longitudinal edge 230 to the surface 274 of the closure member 270, the edge portion 234 and the edge portion 232 are glued to the surface of the closure member with an adhesive 400. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the edge portion 234 and the edge portion 232 of the first longitudinal edge 230 may be sewn to the closure member 270.

[0138] From the above description of the invention, those skilled in the art will perceive improvements, changes and modifications. For example, it should be understood that, instead of the hooks 256 being located on the lower surface 272 of the closure member 270, the hooks could instead be located on the upper surface 274 and the lower surface 272 could be glued or sewn. Such improvements, changes and modifications within the skill of the art are intended to be covered by the appended claims.