TRENDS IN BACKYARD LANDSCAPING #3 - WATER MANAGEMENT
The benefits of hiring a pro to achieve the ideal outdoor living space
Drainage is one of the top landscape design criteria and one that should be addressed first when developing your backyard landscaping project. Water must be managed so it does not negatively impact the buildings on your property or be allowed to negatively impact neighbouring lots.
Increased density (i.e. smaller lots) exacerbate this issue as does the effects of climate change such as storms of greater duration and intensity that have been occurring in recent years. In response to this, there is a growing interest in a variety of water management methods. For example, rain gardens are being used to provide a place for water to collect and slowly—over a period of 24 to 48 hours—percolate into the ground and back into the water table.
The increasing trend of using permeable pavers, asphalt, and other engineered materials for hardscaping on commercial sites have made their way into residential landscaping projects. These materials allow water to percolate back into the ground and, eventually, the water table. On some sites, drywells, French drains, and other infrastructure are necessary to manage water on the site.
WHY HIRE A PRO?
Drainage concerns, regardless of the project size, must be addressed early in the design process, as it will influence how your landscape functions. When mishandled, or taken for granted, water can be very destructive; therefore, it is important you get it right. For instance, siting something as straightforward as a rain garden incorrectly could direct water into the ground too close to a foundation.
A rain garden is slightly more expensive to install than a conventional garden, as there is more earthwork and planning required. Permeable pavers cost more than conventional pavers because the former are typically only available in 80 mm (3.15 in.) thick units to withstand the traffic requirements of commercial sites. Residential sites can generally be built with 60-mm (2.36-in.) pavers. There are also specific base requirements for permeable surfaces, often requiring the services of an engineer to study the site and provide specifications for the grading and base preparation.
Originally published in Pools, Spas & Patios - 2017 Annual Issue.
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