Watershed Friendly Landscaping

What is watershed friendly landscaping?

Everyone lives within a watershed and is dependent on watersheds to provide for basic needs of everyday life. A watershed is an area of land draining to a common point, most often a river, lake, or the ocean. We can also think in terms of the Watersheds of a Site, looking at each downspout, driveway, and area of our yards as being it's own mini-watershed. From this perspective we can estimate the amount of runoff that is available from each surface and make decisions about how best to direct and use this valuable runoff water to benefit our plantings and the larger watershed of our community.

Watershed friendly landscaping (WFL) is consciously designing spaces so the ecosystem acts as infrastructure and human stewardship produces a thriving biodiversity and yields for the home economy.  WFL integrates a synergy of strategies to make best use of available water resources in meeting site specific needs. Strategies include property assessment, creating a water budget, land forming (such as swales, rain gardens, and erosion control features), building healthy living soils, selecting micro-climate appropriate plantings, applying mulch, incorporating graywater, installing rainwater catchment systems, using effective irrigation systems, and on-going stewardship and management.

Opportunity awaits to transform our landscapes into places of health, beauty, and functionality. Each site is designed to enhance the unique character of the place in a way that meets the needs of people and community. TerraSophia works closely with you to create cost-effective strategies for maximizing the beneficial outcomes from landscape decisions.

Watershed Friendly Landscape features (Best Management Practices) include :

  • Rain Gardens and water harvesting earthworks designed to protect infrastructure and welcome water into the landscape where it can infiltrate into the soil.  Runoff from buildings, parking lots, driveways, hardscaping and landscaping is directed to appropriately selected and placed water harvesting landscape features combined with appropriate plants, mulch, logs, rocks and art to provide aesthetic habitat that improves water quality and provides useful yields.
  • Multi-functional Plantings selected to thrive in localized micro-climates and providing multifaceted yields to humans from food, medicine, and aesthetics to producing shade, privacy and/or wind breaks, and supporting biodiversity and other beneficial ecosystem functions. Proper plant selection and care can replace the need for purchasing petro-chemical based fertilizers and bio-cides. Edible landscaping, orchards, and vegetable gardens provide nutritious, locally grown food, culinary herbs, and other yields.
  • Building healthy soil, composting, mulching, and brush-chip-mineral treatments cycle on-site " yard waste" into beneficial uses, enhance soil water holding and infiltration capacities, sequester atmospheric carbon, and ultimately support healthy plants. Healthy soil is like a sponge and is the most cost effective place to store stormwater and roofwater runoff.
  • Roof Water Catchment systems collect rainwater from roofs in cisterns to store for later use. Catchment systems help to buffer peak storm events that cause flooding and water quality issues, and water stored in a tank can then be used in dry times for landscape irrigation, emergency supply, wildlife or livestock water supply, fire protection, and/or indoor uses depending on local codes, project goals, and system design.
  • Graywater systems safely distribute household graywater from the shower, bathroom sink, and/or laundry into the landscape where it feeds plantings and decreases strain on other water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Smart irrigation systems deliver remaining landscape water needs in an efficient and effective manor.