Re-Routing Neighbouring Water Runoff with Naturalization Techniques
The Mitchell Property
This York Region homeowner was troubled with incessant water runoff from a sloping neighbour’s property. Although they got along well with their neighbour, the spring runoff was relentless. During the spring thaw the ground is wet already and the clay soil becomes saturated.
They couldn’t walk on their lawn or cut their grass in the back yard until July. Having compacted builder’s clay soil only deepened the situation. Our design challenges included redirecting the water runoff without flooding other neighbour’s properties so raising the property was not a solution.
Like any type of water related issue there are many different ways to handle the problem. We chose to naturalize the back gardens and dig a long relatively deep French drain to direct the water flow all the way to the forested back lot. The trench or swale was dug to accept the slope. A sleeved weeping tile pipe was laid in the swale. Clear gravel covers the pipe and we zig-zag the gardens to appear as a natural dry river bed. Mr. Mitchell built a small bridge over the river bed to create more ambiences and give him access to his garden shed.
Composted earth was used to build the planting pockets on top of the clay and the beds were designed deep enough to layer the plants for a more naturalized garden design. Shredded pine mulch was applied after planting to a depth of two inches. This will reduce weeds and protect plant roots.
Naturalizing your yard reduces water runoff. A garden with layers of trees, shrubs and perennials slows down the rainfall and absorbs the rain water quicker than just flat grass.
Many of the plants we chose were native which attract more wildlife and grow with less disease and insect problems. They will provide food and habitat for birds, butterflies, and insects including our little hard working honey bees. We planted in collections to maximize the colour for all four seasons.
Property value has increased – the water problem is solved and the homeowners are left with a gorgeous display of interesting colour, fragrance and beauty for all four seasons. Nature abounds and the neighbour property water runs effortlessly through the underground pipes. The grass can now be cut.