Ecoyards provides complete lawn and landscape services with an emphasis on quality customer service and environmental responsibility.

Posts in the category "Seattle Rain Gardens"

Ecoyards Achieves Landscape Industry Certified Status

September 28, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

At Ecoyards, we pride ourselves on our professionalism, knowledge, and high standards in the landscape industry. This year, owner Andy Nicholls took the extra step to become a Landscape Industry Certified Manager through the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). On Sept. 21, PLANET announced that Andy has successfully earned his certification. He is now a nationally-certified landscape manager in Seattle. PLANET is an international association serving lawn care professionals, maintenance contractors, installation/design/build professionals, and interiorscapers.

To get his certification, Andy underwent an exhaustive written examination that tested his knowledge, skills and theory in all aspects of working in the landscape industry. He had to demonstrate mastery of seven topics covering leadership and corporate citizenship; production operations/horticulture; sales and marketing; strategic planning; human resources; risk, law, and contracts; and corporate financial management. The program requires that he maintains certification through mandatory continuing education.

Landscape Industry Certified, Seattle, Ecoyards

For our customers, it means you can expect the same high quality and professionalism that you’ve come to expect from Ecoyards. Andy’s certification, however, means he’s taken the extra step to validate his skills and knowledge in the industry.

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Filed under Seattle Drainage, Seattle Hardscaping, Seattle Irrigation Services, Seattle Landscape Design, Seattle Landscape Maintenance, Seattle Lawn Care, Seattle Rain Gardens, Seattle Water Features · No Comments »

Stormwater runoff article

March 22, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

Ecoyards was recently quoted in an article on Stormwater runoff.  Check it out here —

Filed under Seattle Drainage, Seattle Rain Gardens · 1 Comment »

West Seattle Rain Gardens

February 1, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

You’ve heard us talk a lot about the benefits of Seattle rain gardens. In the coming months, you’ll hear a lot more about rain gardens in West Seattle, as King County embarks on a bold project to control stormwater overflows by using so-called green infrastructure such as rain gardens, plantings, trees and other vegetative areas.

In December 2010, the county recommended a stormwater control project for the Barton basin that calls for rain gardens between sidewalks and curbs in a 66-block area in the Sunrise Heights and Westwood neighborhoods in West Seattle. Rain gardens use the natural properties of vegetation and soil to help soak up excess stormwater runoff that would otherwise end up in Puget Sound.

The Green Stormwater Infrastructure project is the first such “green” project for the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which is responsible for wastewater treatment for Seattle and 16 other cities. The goal of the project is to reduce overflows from the Barton Pump Station near Seattle’s Lincoln Park. During times of heavy rains, pipes that carry both stormwater and wastewater get overwhelmed. Instead of sending water to the wastewater treatment plant, untreated water flows directly into Puget Sound near Lincoln Park. The county says this happens about four times a year.

In public meetings, many West Seattle residents told the county planners that they wanted a green solution to the problem of combined sewer overflows. The county is beginning its environmental project review in coming months, and says construction is expected to begin no later than December 2013 and take two years.

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Disconnecting downspouts

January 29, 2011 @ 10:16 am

One of the easiest ways to curb stormwater runoff pollution is to disconnect downspouts from the local sewer system. Chances are most Seattle and King County residents have rain downspouts that run directly into a combined sewer overflow system. (Ecoyards can help you figure out whether you’re one of those.)

Why is this a problem? In most parts of Seattle, Burien, Normandy Park and other cities in King County, stormwater (rain that falls onto roofs and driveways) mixes with wastewater (the stuff that flushes down toilets, sinks, and dishwashers) and is carried into the sewage treatment plant. When we have periods of heavy rain, that combined sewer system overflows — it happens a lot — sending unfiltered pollutants into our waterways. Downspouts that are connected to this combined sewer system can contribute to the problem because it increases the volume of this overflow.

A downspout connected to a combined sewer system.

Disconnecting downspouts from the sewer system can help reduce these overflows and protect our waterways. Homeowners need to do it properly, otherwise you may get other headaches, like wet basements, leaky foundations or flood redirected at your neighbors or down your street.

There are different, safe options for disconnecting downspouts. One option is to run the downspout through underground piping and into a dry well. This works only if your property has well-draining soil and the right topography. You can also run the downspout through underground piping that daylights to a hillside, but again, this requires the right topography. There are a lot of other things to keep in mind, like making sure you’re not disconnecting downspouts too close to steep slopes or redirecting those downspouts to one spot. Ecoyards can help you decide whether it’s appropriate to disconnect your spouts, and where to send that rainwater.

One of the best options in disconnecting downspouts is to redirect that stormwater into a rain garden. We’ve previously written about the benefits of Seattle rain gardens. Very simply, rain gardens are shallow depressions that hold and filter rainwater; they can be designed to fit your needs and can also be attractive additions to your landscapes. The city of Seattle currently provides a generous rebate for qualifying homeowners who install rain gardens on their property. Ecoyards is a licensed contractor with the city’s RainWise program.

Filed under Seattle Drainage, Seattle Rain Gardens · 1 Comment »

Seattle cisterns

November 15, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

By now, most of us probably have a rain barrel or two that we use to catch rainwater from our roof. These red 50-gallon barrels have become common features around Seattle, Burien, Normandy Park and other cities, especially because you can get them at a nice reasonable price and they’re easy to set up. We currently have three of them at our house, and we’re able to use the water that we catch to irrigate our trees, container plants and lots more. But as many of you know, the barrels fill up quickly during a rain event. So what to do if you want to harvest more rainwater?

Photo of cistern from city of Seattle Rain Wise program

Enter the cistern. These larger containers can store hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water at a time, which conserve water and improve drainage issues at your property. Think: no more soggy lawn always getting flooded with inches of water when it rains! Because cisterns hold water during a rain, storm or snow event, less water rushes into our streets, drains and sewer systems. That means fewer sewer overflow problems and fewer pollutants washing unfiltered into our creeks, rivers and Puget Sound.

Cisterns aren’t much different from rain barrels. They’re just much larger. Home cisterns can capture anywhere from 200 to 1,000 gallons of water. They can look attractive, too, and blend in with your landscape. Unlike rain barrels, cisterns require a bit more planning and installation. Because they’re considerably larger than rain barrels — and will be heavier because of all the water they’ll hold — you’ll need a good foundation for it. Ecoyards is a licensed contractor registered with the city of Seattle RainWise program. We’re also licensed by the state, of course, but this program registration allows us to install cisterns, or rain gardens, at certain homes that are eligible for city rebates under the RainWise program. (Read more about the rebate program for rain gardens in our previous post).

Whether or not you’re eligible for a rebate, we’re happy to help you sort out all the details. If you’re interested in installing a cistern but don’t want to tackle it yourself, we can help you calculate how much rainwater can be harvested off your roof and then recommend a good size, shape and foundation for it. We’ll figure it all out for you, from pipes and connectors to the right Northwest native plants for your site. Cisterns can be made of many materials, such as plastic, sheet metal, wood or even concrete. You can install them underground, partially underground or above ground. (Check out this slideshow to get an idea for what some large-scale cisterns look like). For those who are in the Ballard neighborhood, and eligible for a city rebate, we also can help you navigate the rules and requirements. Give us a call at 206-770-7879 or email us and we’ll help you figure it out.

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Rain Gardens in Action

November 11, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

Our neighbors to the south in the city of Portland are doing some great things with rain gardens as well. Seattle has led the way, but other cities have been doing their part as well in stormwater controls. The Portland Tribune has this cool feature explaining how one couple in Portland, Ore. save money on their utility bill with their three rain gardens.

Rain gardens — essentially sunken areas filled with plants to collect surface water — absorb rainfall coming off the roof of the Hubatches’ one-story home.

That eases the burden on Portland’s oft-overloaded sewer system. As a result, the couple get a discount on the storm water management portion of their water and sewer bill.

The article lists some great ways that homeowners can help manage rainwater runoff, including installing rain barrels or cisterns to capture and hold rain for later reuse. In an earlier blog post, we explained how Seattle rain gardens can help keep pollutants out of Puget Sound. We can help you design, install and maintain your own rain garden. Give us a call at 206-770-7879 or email us.

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Rain Gardens

November 9, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

There are many landscape tools homeowners can use to control stormwater runoff, considered the largest source of pollution in Puget Sound. From planting trees to installing a rain garden or large cisterns, you can help minimize the excess rainwater runoff that washes toxic pollutants into Puget Sound each year. Every time it rains, water falling onto roofs, parking lots, driveways or hard-packed soil washes unfiltered into storm drains and directly into our streams, creeks, rivers and sound. The stormwater carries grease, oils, heavy metals, PCBs, flame retardants and other toxic pollutants into waterways. The excess runoff also causes flooding in streets and sewer systems to backup.

What exactly is a rain garden and how do they help pollution? Rain gardens allow you to redirect rain from your roof into a shallow depression that filters, holds and absorbs water. By holding and infiltrating rainwater, rain gardens help protect our waterways and reduce flooding. These gardens can be shaped and sized to fit your yard. They also can be attractive landscape features, filled with native plants or other shrubs, trees and plantings that fit your soil, sun conditions and surroundings.

Seattle Rain Garden, RainWise Program, Ecoyards

Typical rain garden layout in Seattle, Ecoyards LLC.

Ecoyards can help you through the entire process, from designing a rain garden to constructing it to helping you maintain it. Our experienced staff will find the best spot for your garden, suggest the best plants for it and recommend ways to maintain it. Rain gardens are ideal for many properties that are fairly level (up to about 5 percent slope). There should be a way for roof or driveway runoff to flow to the rain garden, whether over the yard or through a pipe or rock-filled ditch. We can help you determine where to install the garden and how big it should be.

Ecoyards is a licensed landscape contractor with the city of Seattle’s Rainwise Rebate program. That innovative program will pay most of the cost of installing rain gardens and cisterns for eligible residents in Ballard, depending on how many square feet of roof runoff is controlled. (Check this map for the qualifying area). Residents can get rebates up to $4 per square foot of area that contributes to retaining runoff. The pilot rain garden rebate program was launched earlier this year in the Ballard neighborhood. You must hire a licensed contractor, such as Ecoyards, to do the work; the city isn’t currently giving rebates if homeowners do the work themselves. A Seattle Public Utilities inspector will do a pre- and post-inspection on site, and you must fill out the rebate form and send it in within 90 days of completion. Don’t worry, give us a call at 206-770-7879 or email us and we’ll help you figure it out.

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Japanese maple and sedum, West Seattle, Ecoyards. Landscaping projects by Ecoyards, photographed on Saturday, April 18, 2009. (Photo by Dan DeLong) Old Dominion paver walkway, Seattle - Ecoyards NW manhole feature in circular paver

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