Water-Wise Landscape for the Northeast
This Earth-friendly exterior design conserves and recycles rainwater.
Use this landscape plan to accent your home's entranceway, reduce the amount of ground devoted to turfgrass and make the most of the rain that falls. An artful rain chain and rock-filled basin help slow runoff from the roof and direct water into a dry creek bed. Plants in the stream bed are moisture-tolerant; those outside are drought-tolerant. Here, you'll find it sized to a 27'-wide planting area, and also a 50'-wide site.
This to-do list will help you install this plan's key features:
- Replace the gutter downspout with a decorative rain chain.
- Create a depression at the base of rain chain, lined with locally available rocks or decorative gravel to slow water and encourage infiltration on site.
- Using flagstone or pavers allows more rain to enter the soil beneath than would a concrete walkway; seek out porous pavement options if a more uniform surface is desired.
- Choose plants well adapted to site, soil and moisture levels (drought-tolerant on higher ground, moisture-tolerant in dry creek bed.
- Mulch with a generous layer of locally available organic mulch (shredded bark instead of gravel) to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Other ways to conserve water:
A. New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Alternative: Shrubby St. John's wort (Hypericum prolificum), bushy St. John's wort (Hypericum densiflorum) or other medium shrub 3 to 5 feet tall
B. Adam's needle (Yucca filamentosa)
Alternative: Other evergreen, drought-tolerant accent shrub
C. Palm sedge (Carex muskingumensis)
Alternative: Other ornamental grass or grass-like plant, 1 to 2 feet tall
D. Rose tickseed (Coreopsis rosea)
Alternative: Other flowering herbaceous plant, 2 to 3 feet tall
E. Downy phlox (Phlox pilosa)
Alternative: Other flowering herbaceous plant, 1 to 2 feet tall
F. Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
Alternative: Rose verbena (Verbena canadensis) or other flowering groundcover, 6 to 12 inches tall
G. Blue flag iris (Iris versicolor)
Alternative: Virginia iris (Iris virginica) or other tough, small groundcover, 2 to 4 inches tall
H. Green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)
Alternative: Field pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) or other moisture-tolerant herbaceous plant
1. Stepping stone
3. Rain chain
4. Dry-stream bed
5. Rock/small boulder
6. Rock-lined basin or depression
Landscape plan by Leah Gardner
Illustrations by Simutis Illustrations