With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to start preparing your home for Florida’s rainy season. We have had an especially dry winter and spring, making it even more important to limit water runoff and harvest this natural resource for your lawn and plants. There are quite a few easy ways to improve the water retention for your plants that are easy to implement and will not only help reduce stormwater runoff but also enhance the quality of your landscape.
Gutters are a great way to collect and direct water from the roof of your home to a source that can absorb or store the water. If you already have gutters in place, make sure to clean them out prior to the rainy season, inspect them to make sure they are draining property and into an area away from the foundation of your home. If you are unable to extend your gutter, a rain barrel may be a great way to harvest water to utilize for plants in that area. Rain barrels come in a variety of design options and can make a wonderful corner accent to your outdoor spaces. If your gutters experience an overflow, a low-cost solution could be installing splash guards that extend upward and help prevent water breaches in vulnerable areas. Gutter guards are a way for homeowners to keep out leaves and other debris from clogging the gutter system.
Installing a French Drain to your buried downspout or an area prone to water retention is an option to redirect water from saturated areas. A French drain consists of a perforated pipe under a bed of gravel that will direct water away from oversaturated areas into an area that will allow the water to percolate into the ground. This is a low-cost way to direct water to an area where it will be better utilized and will not contribute to storm water runoff or erosion.
Rain & rock garden additions in low-lying areas are another solution to prevent runoff from entering the stormwater system. Rain gardens are best placed in a depressed area of the landscape that consists of grasses, flower perennials or plants that help water soak into the ground and filter out pollutants. If your area is challenging for plants, a rock garden is another low-maintenance idea that will look aesthetically pleasing that can allow heavy water flow to slowly absorb into the groundwater supply.
Mulch helps retain water and soil moisture and is another inexpensive method to reduce water runoff. Adding mulch to your plants and trees will help them retain water during heavy pours and allow water to sink into the soil slowly. As the mulch decomposes, beneficial nutrients will be released into the ground soil and will increase surrounding plant health. Pine bark mulch is the recommended Florida-Friendly option due to the abundance and benefits to plant life.
Runoff can also be reduced by installing plants or groundcover in bare dirt areas and installing porous surfaces for walkways and driveways. When possible, using flagstone, space bricks or gravel can be used alone or together with groundcover plants that will allow water to seep through the surface and into the ground, slowing soil erosion and reducing runoff.
Creating berms and bioswales can assist in slowing water movement and guiding it to an area to percolate into our groundwater supply. This can be a helpful tip to flood prone properties to create channels for water retention and protect your homesite from water inundation. Wide and gentle sloping ditches can guide water to rain or rock gardens that will allow the water to drain into our underground reservoir rather than our storm drains.
There are many low-cost ways you can help divert water from your structures and into places where the water can be used or slowly filtered back into our underground aquifers. When you reduce water runoff into the storm water system it helps limit algae blooms and severe red tide outbreaks while also helping replenish our natural freshwater for our future generations. If you are experiencing an issue with too much water in areas and are unsure how to correct the problem, reach out to schedule a free consultation on the best options available for your situation.