- 1. an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas.
- 2. an event or period marking a turning point in a course of action or state of affairs.
What is a watershed approach to landscaping? Simply put, a watershed approach considers every landscape should hold on to or clean all of the water that falls on it and nurture a diverse habitat of plants and insects. The landscape’s owner(s) then acts as a steward of this defined area to manage the area sustainably for their benefit and their communities benefit. The Watershed approach builds upon sustainable practices with a focus on retaining water on site and percolating into the aquifer below. The movement of this water through the soil profile acts to clean it as it moves through.
On a watershed based residential property in Sonoma County, the rain water that hits the roof is channeled to the edges of the roof into gutter drains and then into down spouts where the water can then escape onto the ground, into dry wells, into retention swales or rain gardens and or dry stream beds, where it is slowed down and hopefully allowed to infiltrate into the soil profile before making its way down into the aquifer. Rain water can also be harvested or captured for future use on site.
The result is that any contaminants, pollution or chemicals picked up in this journey are filtered out during the movement into the aquifer. In the past, this water was channeled to the downspouts into a solid drain and then allowed to run into the street gutter, storm drains, local creeks and eventually into the ocean carrying all manner of contaminants natural or otherwise. “Not good for children and other living things” as the saying goes.
As you can imagine, soil health and knowledge is a critical component of the watershed approach. So also is the minimization of chemicals used outside our homes as well as efficient irrigation practices and proper plant selection. Remember the cleaner the water is moving into the soil, the less work is needed to purify the water as it moves down the soil profile.
Finally, as the definition above also states, watershed also means the marking of a turning point in a course of action. In this case, the movement from over managed, over watered, chemically enhanced and lawn centric landscapes into those that require fewer inputs, attract wildlife, the soil is nurtured and plant material thrives to its mature size.
Here are some suggestions when you plan your next garden:
- Shop locally
- Send less to the landfill
- Nurture the soil
- Conserve water
- Conserve energy
- Protect water and air quality
- Create and protect wildlife habitat
Please visit www.rrwatershed.org for more specific information about the watershed approach and low impact landscaping.
You can also contact Gardenworks Inc to learn more about and or request a quote to convert your property via the watershed approach.