Not many projects bring in so many elements onto one property. This was an ambitious project and one that checks a lot of boxes by integrating stormwater management and permaculture guilds with traditional landscaping elements!
Permaculture design provides a wonderful toolbox to integrate all of these elements into one cohesive design.
In the first part of this project summary, we'll focus on the slope and stormwater issues.
|Overlooking this new productive and relaxing backyard space
The site had a very challenging slope that was difficult to enjoy and dangerous to mow. Also, poor soil quality and grading caused erosion issues and soggy areas in the yard. Discussions started last fall, and we were able to finish this amazing residential project earlier this year.
|Enhanced rain garden near the top of the watershed captures runoff from
the homeowners' roof as well as the problematic runoff from the neighboring
yard which is captured and routed by the dry stream.
A water feature was a must have, with the sound of flowing water the space becomes a feast for all the senses. Although actually separate from the stormwater solution, the waterfall is situated to appear as part of the stream system that includes the rain garden and final swale. Bordering the patio, it muffles traffic noise and provides visual and audible appeal.
|The swale running along the center path above the apple guild
and last-minute addition of footbridge on the top right
The apple guild includes this swale on contour, which captures runoff from above hydrating the plants below; and will also act as a pathway for excess runoff during major rain events. The access paths (dark mulch) also follow the contour preventing erosion. Also keeping them on contour makes them easier to navigate.
|Final spillway for the rain garden, stream and swale system
The other side of the house was even steeper and more dangerous to mow. It got a native planting makeover with more pollinator habitat and less mowing on the steep grade. Boulder retaining walls with limestone stairs make accessing the backyard easy from this side, too.