With hurricane season still in full swing and Hurricane Harvey dumping thousands of gallons across the southern states, concerned homeowners may be wondering, “How can I protect myself?” The answer, especially when it comes to your yard, is that you can in many ways. Prepping to keep your yard lush and not a swimming pool should start before you’re in the path of a hurricane, especially if your area is wetter than the norm, but here’s some things you can do.
Combine beauty and functionality with highly water tolerant plants. Typically coming in around 50 to 100 square feet, even the smallest rain garden can have a pretty significant effect. Build your garden on a slight grade so that water pools in the center, and throw the most water-loving plants in there. The edges will drain a fair bit quicker, so put slightly drier plants there. Picking native plants will cut down on maintenance and stop you needing to water them between rainfalls.
If you’ve got a big storm water runoff problem, a level spreader can be a great solution. Generally placed alongside ditches, roads, driveways, or other slopes, a level spreader is a small dip with a larger hill the runoff must crest, greatly slowing the velocity of water and making it much more able to be soaked up by soil. Building these in strategic locations and adding plants or large rocks for additional drainage can be so effective, you might qualify for a storm water runoff tax credit from your local government.
A big investment but a worthwhile one if you want to preserve your home in the face of huge storms: porous materials. Most driveways and sidewalks are relatively non-porous concrete, tarmac, or asphalt. Ripping these out and replacing them with water-absorbing alternatives can do wonders for runoff levels. It doesn’t even have to be expensive to replace: opting for a full grass driveway will offer the best water protection and cost nothing but the price of a couple bags of grass seed, or some sod from a company like Westland Turf. For a little more protection for your car, try paving strips, which will take up much less surface area than a full driveway. If you really like the look of a filled in driveway, look into gravel, or a plastic or concrete grid system filled with sand. Any of these choices will still give you a full driveway feel, while soaking up tons of rain.
The ultimate addition if you’re looking to maximize storm water protection, green roofs have been utilized for quite some time, but increasing popularity has made them more affordable than ever. For flat or gently sloped roofs, modular units are available now that greatly lower expense and difficulty of installation. Green roofs add a host of other benefits for your investment, as well, including better insulation, increased roof longevity, and lower heating and cooling costs.
Storm season is intimidating, and you want to make sure your home and yard are as stormproof as possible. These tips are also useful if you live in an area prone to floods and lots of humidity year round. If you keep the moisture at bay, you’ll prevent all kinds of problems, including mold, wood rot, and unnecessary maintenance.