This project in Northwest Austin employed an ecological solution to stormwater runoff pooling on the front sidewalk, as well as refreshing an aged landscape. A very large Arizona ash tree had died and had been removed, leaving the remaining landscape bare and sunbaked. Some invasive nandina and Ligustrum shrubs had dominated what was left. The clients preferred a native Hill Country look – lush flowering perennials amidst limestone outcrops – and had shared photos that inspired them via Pinterest.
This customer had three main objectives:
1) Come up with a solution to the pooling issue.
2) Update a few points in the landscape that had become overgrown and unsightly
3) Remove turf grass to reduce mowing.
To solve the pooling issue, we excavated two rain garden swales on either side of the front sidewalk. Water from the front downspouts was redirected into the swales, too. This allowed rainwater capture from the front sidewalk as well as the roof. The extra moisture held by the soil in those areas will benefit the plants around them. Hill Country limestone lines the pools, and various stepping-stone paths were placed in the gardens to aid in access. A substantial amount of the turf grass was removed, and beds created and mulched.
By the numbers:
330 sq. ft.: rain garden swale area.
1,905 sq. ft.: St. Augustine turf grass removed.
1,270 gallons: approximate rain garden capacity.
990 gallons: rain captured from impervious surfaces in 1” rain event.
640: new native plants installed.
29: native plant species used.