Usually we don’t think of water management as being very exciting. But with the right approach and strategies, designing your landscape for saving water and managing stormwater can be fun.
The practice of harvesting rain has been around for centuries and is widely used in Europe, Australia, India and the Bahamas as well as countries who rely solely on rainwater to fulfill their needs. The trend has really taken hold in the U.S. and it becoming more common to see rainwater barrels on the sides of homes collecting water from roof downspouts. The more simple method involves using water from barrels that have accumulated water from the roof gutter via rain chains (some of which are gorgeous!). More intricate systems involve filtration pumps and storage cisterns. Obviously, the use of the water depends on the degree of filtration, but even the barrel method provides water for landscaping and car washing.
Also known as bio-retention systems, rain gardens mimic natural water retention and serve as stormwater management while providing a beautiful garden. Rain gardens are created in low-lying areas to absorb and filter runoff from roofs and driveways. Planted with native plants adapted for high levels of water, the plants help hold the runoff and filter pollutants while the runoff water slowly soaks into the ground. As for which plants to use, there is a huge selection (too many to list here!) of native shrubs, perennials, ferns and trees that will work for your rain garden.
Permeable paving is hardscaping that allows the movement of stormwater through its surface. In addition to reducing runoff, the pavers effectively trap solids and filter pollutants from the water. These “paving” methods can take any look from flagstone, bricks, cobblestones, cut stone, pea gravel or stepping stones.
Last week we mentioned garden design and grouping plants with similar water needs together. But we can take this much farther by employing strategies such as:
- Planting specific gardens according to the amount of sun needs and availability.
- Working within microclimates, areas on the property that are warmer or cooler because of the house orientation and other plants on the property.
- Locating deciduous trees to provide shade to planting beds and outdoor sitting areas.
- Placing fences and shrubs to provide shade for specific plants and funnel summer breezes toward patios, decks and porches.
We are happy to consult with you on harvesting, rain gardens, pavers, design and even irrigation systems. Call us to find out which strategies are best suited for your landscape.