Shaping Earth, Planting Streams

At a small residential property in Beacon, we extensively regraded a backyard slope to protect the home from stormwater, then transformed the yard into a stormwater stream and a low-maintenance, native-planted hillside. Working quickly and efficiently with construction machinery, we were able to push the backyard slope away from the house, and regrade the area directly around the house to slope away from the foundation, thus creating a small depression to collect rain water and use beneficially for plants. The depression, or swale, leads to a collection wetland filled with native wetland plants such as swamp rose mallow, sandbar willow, and blue flag iris. After pushing the slope back, we seeded the topside with white clover instead of grass to reduce future mowing and maintenance. We also planted native wildflowers such as foxglove and edible plants like raspberry. Lastly, we installed a temporary drip irrigation system to further reduce maintenance requirements, and properly provide hydration to installed plants. The transformation from a backyard lawn to a hillside and stream filled with native flowers and shrubs greatly increased functional ecological space and aesthetic value.