July 8, 2014
Areas with heavy precipitation create some challenges for landscape design. Although most plants need the moisture to thrive, heavy precipitation can cause root problems, foliage damage and a variety of water collection issues that threaten home structures. Thoughtful planning can help to minimize the damage from the abundant moisture and maximize its beneficial effects.
Thoughtful Landscape Design
When designing a property in an area with heavy precipitation, you must consider a number of factors including water runoff, temperature fluctuations, ground elevation and aesthetic outcome. The design should produce a number of beneficial results:
1 – Aid Water Diversion – A good landscape design will utilize gradations in ground elevation to encourage moisture drainage away from the home and important plantings.
2 – Stabilize Ground Soil – Proper landscaping uses plants that help to minimize soil erosion during water runoff. This strategy requires using plants with root systems that can withstand standing water for periods of time.
3 – Good Appearance – Thoughtful landscaping should also provide an appealing visual design that enhances the home and integrates well with the natural features that exist on the property.
4 – Minimal Maintenance – The best landscape designs accomplish these goals in a way that minimizes the amount of maintenance needed on regular basis. This feature can save the homeowner time and money over the long term.
In areas of the country with heavy precipitation, retaining walls are used to stabilize changes in ground elevation to prevent erosion of the soil. Retaining walls can use a variety of materials to create specific effects. Stone, pavers, wood timbers, metal and a number of other materials can help to provide an Old World look, enhance a modern design or blend a property into the surrounding natural environment. Whatever materials are used, proper construction is needed to stabilize the soil within the retaining structure.
One of the most important considerations in landscaping a property in an area with heavy precipitation is the choice of plants. Native species that are accustomed to the wet conditions are the best choice. They will require the least maintenance and be able to withstand sitting in water or under heavy snowfall. When choosing other species, ensure that the plants can survive having wet roots. Many plants will quickly fade if the root system is left standing in water for any length of time.
Although most types of grass will have root problems in wet areas, a few species can survive these conditions. Ryegrass and Bahia grass are two species that will thrive despite constant moisture. Ground covers such as vinca minor, creeping jenny or one of the dwarf grasses can thrive even in the wettest of conditions and provide attractive color and texture for your property.
In areas with heavy precipitation, you can utilize the natural availability of water to create interesting water features that are self-sustaining and help to direct moisture flow area from the home. Creating a small, curving brook on an incline by lining a trench with small rocks and using larger rocks to accent the curves can create a dramatic look for your property.
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