Some projects come along and are thoroughly enjoyable. One of these was working on a sustainable residential landscape. The owner had rain barrels but now wanted a rain garden, a vegetable garden, and new connecting walk to a sun room.
After the summer that we have had in Louisville, Kentucky it has really hammered home that rain gardens are not wetlands or pond projects. The nature of the rain garden’s depression and the plant choices are really designed to be in a dry condition 95 percent of the time. They need to be well-drained planting beds. Tying a rain garden to rain barrels may seem counter-intuitive, but again when things are dry, it’s good to hold onto the rain water we do get for use at a later time. So it’s really a matter of thinking through how many different solutions can become a more complete answer: growing one’s food, using rain water (stored and infiltrated on site) to water the landscape, and minimizing impervious areas like rooftops and pavement. These goals hold true for the homeowner, an institution, public lands and whole communities.
3D modeling is a helpful way to show what a new landscape will look like before making a dramatic change. It also allows the owner to participate in the design review so the new landscape is as specific to the place and the client as possible. Involvement breeds commitment, so an involved owner will stay committed to maintaining sustainable landscape from the design phase through enjoying the final product.
Feel free to contact us if I can help you on your next sustainable project.
John Pacyga, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP
Verdant Design LLC