The second part of a two-part series. We discussed the watershed approach in the last article: How to Design Sustainable Patios and Walkways. But what exactly is the watershed approach? To understand this concept, let’s reverse the terms. We approach our outdoor landscapes as a natural watershed, which it is. The old concept of draining excess water directly to the gutter is archaic in California, replaced with the idea that we need to save this valuable resource and use it when we can, allowing it to sink into the soil and nourish plants rather than sending it to storm drains. It’s not only ethical, it’s practical and will save money on the water bill.
How does the hardscape play a role with the watershed approach? As explained in Part One, hard or impermeable surfaces need to be minimized but that does not necessarily translate to less patio and walkway surface overall. We just need to use our design skills to allow areas for water to runoff and pool, then pick the right materials that are conducive to our goals. Here are a few tips.