Solutions for Waterfront and Sloped Residential Homes
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With views of expansive water and lush greenery, homes in the Pacific Northwest offer grand opportunities for gorgeous landscaping.
But the rewards of owning wet properties come with some challenges:
- Water runoff
- Damp walking areas
- Maintaining wet grass
The benefits of living in a natural paradise may make the challenges worth overcoming.
Get the most from your property with a bit of planning (and planting).
Select Trees that Are Adapted to Wet Climates
How wet your yard is year-round will impact what types of trees grow on your property. Trees that perform well in soggy yards in Whatcom, Skagit, and Island Counties include bald cypress, willow, and water birch.
The bald cypress, for example, prefers moist soils that run deep. The leaves are a yellow-green in spring, sage green in the summer, and turn orange to brown in the fall. They’re considered both resilient and easy to care for. If you’re looking for a tree that stands up well to wet properties, this one is a smart choice.
Find a Water Runoff Solution for Wet Properties
Let’s consider how to handle water runoff. If you’re living in a rainy area like Western Washington, rain will fall on your property year round. If you own a sloped yard, as is the case with many homes in Whatcom County, then chances are, your neighbors above you are sending additional water your way.
Install a Swale to Reduce Erosion
A swale is a trench that catches water and directs it underground or to another destination such as a wet garden so that it can be absorbed into the soil. By slowing down the flow of water on your property, a swale can help minimize erosion.
If you’re having problems with surface water in your yard, you may be surprised to discover that a swale may have already been installed on your property. But if it was installed incorrectly, water can become trapped, creating muddy areas on the surface of your yard. Your landscape designer will work with you to decide whether an improved swale system will solve the drainage issue or whether you’ll need an alternative solution.
Use Plants for Natural Irrigation
Wet gardens don’t redirect water, but they do provide a place for it to pool while the soil works to absorb it. Consider installing sedge grass and willow on a wet property, along with perennials like astilbe, hosta, and iris.
Try Permeable Driveways and Walkways for Flat Properties or Properties with Minimal Slopes
Water needs to go somewhere when it rains. Walkways made of gravel and small stones allow water to filter into the ground, and they can be installed above a French drain.
A permeable, quick-draining driveway may encourage drainage on a property where sloping is minimal. For steeper properties, a permeable driveway may not be ideal.
Create an Underground Water Drainage Plan for Standing Water
While planning and installing an underground drainage system is more expensive than some other options, in a rainy area like Western Washington, a site-wide drainage plan might be the most effective solution. A site-wide drainage plan may be especially useful on properties with layers of dense, impermeable soil.
Solutions include underground pipes and sumps. Pipes can be fed water by a catch basin or trench drain. Sumps are created by digging a hole to reach porous soil and then packing the hole with gravel. Water will drain through the gravel into the soil underground.
Create an Elevated Path to Improve Yard Access and Safety
The best solution for navigating a wet property safely may be to install an elevated or stepped path. A variety of materials are available, depending on the curvature of your yard, whether you live on a hill, and the aesthetic you’re after.
For example, a wooden boardwalk can protect your feet from water while offering safe, gradual steps, and it can make your yard look like a park. Stone steps provide sturdy footing while preserving the natural look of a landscape.
Consider Gardens Instead of a Lawn for Easy Maintenance
Mowing a wet lawn can be a challenge, even more so if the lawn is sloped. If you’d rather not deal with the hassle of maintaining a wet lawn, a minimalist approach to landscaping might be right for you.
You can use heavy mulch and shrubs to create a strong curb appeal while eliminating the need to wait for a dry day to mow.
Get a Landscaping Quote for Your Waterfront or Wet Property
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