Dramatic Stairway with Purpose
Stairs & Terraces with Built-in Drainage Solve Water Management Issues
"British Columbia might be the greenest place on the planet", says the Allan Block sales representative from Expocrete (formerly CCI Industries). "And it could also be one of the wettest. We had 45 consecutive rain days here recently, and more is on the way".
With that kind of weather, water management is always a key to good landscaping. "As I explain in the classes I teach, the best time to do an estimate is when it rains, because then the contractor will see the existing drainage patterns at the site. Understanding where the surface water goes and how the contractor can eliminate potential problems is half the battle when building retaining walls in British Columbia", said Hughes.
Retaining walls frame the walkways to help hold the water in the drain field, and to transition the slopes of the yard.
The yard is surrounded by other properties, so a gravel path was installed that doubled as a drain field.
The contractors for this project followed the Plan, Design, Build process. At their first meeting with the clients they visualized what the homeowners, the Koes, described as their perfect landscape. "We wanted to develop the entire backyard into a fully landscaped space", said Mrs Koe. Using their notes from the site visit and their many years of experience, the contractors prepared a detailed site plan. Water management details were incorporated into the plans.
The challenge at the site was water management. The Koes wanted a large paved area immediately off the back of the house. The run-off from the roof would drop onto the new paved patio. All this water had to go somewhere and could not be diverted off their property.
The yard is surrounded by other properties, and draining the run-off into their yards would create problems too. The answer was a gravel path that doubled as a drain field. The paved surfaces were gently sloped towards the walkways. Stepping stones were set into the gravel bed for walking. And low-profile AB Junior retaining walls frame the walkways to help hold the water in the drain field, and to transition the slopes of the yard. This allows water runoff to flow to the lowest point in the landscape, where a catch basin was installed with connecting drains to route the water away.
The overall effect is a graceful, terraced backyard with built-in water management. Good planning and a thoughtful design have the homeowners delighted. "We haven't had any water or drainage problems since the project was completed, and we love the overall design", said Mrs. Koe. The design of this project really flows and because of some good planning, run-off from the heavy rains of the Pacific Northwest does too.
Excerpt from Landscape Newsletter Issue #10