Stormwater management can be achieved through a variety of methods, including many innovative landscaping techniques. Some of these are more practical than others. Green roofs, for example, while beautiful and exceptionally good at filtering stormwater and slowing down flow, are pricey and outside the scope of what most landscape contractors are willing to handle. However, nearly every contractor is likely to find at least a few stormwater management solutions that fall within their areas of expertise. Often, they welcome the creative challenges and possibilities that present themselves.
Some of the most common approaches include:
1. Rainwater catchment or harvesting. This includes disconnecting downspouts from city storm-drain systems and redirecting the flow of water to rain barrels, cisterns or other containers.
2. Rainwater irrigation systems. With proper filtration and pumping, water collected from roofs and other impervious areas can be used to water lawns and beds.
3. Temporary containment of water to slow or absorb runoff. Many types of holding methods and devices—including terraces, retaining walls, rain gardens, dry wells, mulches and bioswales—will achieve this aim.
4. Constructed wetlands. In addition to addressing runoff issues, man-made retaining ponds and wetlands are often used to effectively treat grey water and provide habitat to migratory waterfowl and other wildlife.
5. Permeable pavements. Water-permeable asphalt, concrete and concrete pavers allow a significant amount of rainfall on trafficked areas to remain on-site.
6. Green roofs. These “living roofs” represent a true integration of landscape with the built environment. Rooftop gardens can soak up huge amounts of rainfall that otherwise would have fallen on impervious roofing material.
Read more: Rooftop Escapes
7. Traditional storm-drain construction. Any runoff that occurs during periods of heavy rainfall needs to be carefully directed to prevent erosion and minimize flooding. Culverts and other conventional water-control devices will always play an important role in stormwater management.