Written by Sandy Phelps, Garden Design Consultant
Over the past two years, I have collaborated with SOLitude Lake Management to create solutions for wet areas around residential homes and to enhance private and municipal park ponds. Pairing the knowledge of water management with native plantings has resulted in long term solutions to wet areas and eroded areas while, at the same time, returning native flora and fauna to these areas. The key to our successful projects, whether it is a home rain garden or municipal pond, is a long term concept plan.
Long Term Vision
Clients often specify one or more problem areas around an aquatic zone that are of concern to them. However, the entire area or property’s watershed should be viewed as a living organism where each zone interacts with the others. We search for and address the needs of each zone while prioritizing the most urgent ones for immediate work. An overall concept plan will help the client visualize the future of the property as the problem-free and beautiful area it could be.
Customizing the Plan to Meet the Needs of the Individual Space
Think of the concept plan as building a custom house. An overall plan sets the vision of the end product, while still allowing for customization as the plan is implemented. Each zone within the overall space may have different soil types, drainage issues and sun light requirements. The space may be used by people and wildlife in different ways. An overall concept plan will address each issue and space just as a builder would address the needs and uses of each room of a house. Customizing the plan to the specific needs of the human and wildlife community is efficient and economical in the long term.
Returning the Native Flora and Fauna to the area
A well-conceived design plan will incorporate knowledge of how native plants and wildlife interact with the specific requirements of an area. Plants are used that will stabilize a steep embankment, help filter unwanted particulates in rainwater runoff from rushing into a pond and create a beautiful natural setting with less mowing and maintenance. We select native plants that provide food sources and nesting materials to encourage beneficial insects and birds to repopulate the area. By creating a more natural environment, less mowing and overall maintenance is needed to keep the area an attractive space for wildlife and humans to cohabitate.
Meeting Budgetary Needs by Phasing In the Project
Whether you are developing a solution to a home, municipal or commercial project, creating an overall vision of the entire property can actually save money, time and effort in the long run. Cost is often a factor in deciding how large a project area can be installed at one time. You can prioritize any size project into manageable sections and install it in phases. Costs can be contained by using mainly young plants or “plugs.” While small when first planted, plugs will cover a large area quickly, establishing and maturing into full sized plants within three seasons.
A Small Investment Goes a Long Way
SOLitude Lake Management has always been committed to enhancing areas in the most economical, efficient and practical way. They start by accessing the overall needs of the area and create a concept plan that addresses both the short and long term needs. They work within your budget to find manageable solutions and phase in the project area over time if desired, and are able to address your problem areas by constructing a beautiful, natural space that attracts people and wildlife for years to come.
Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Fisheries management consulting and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.
Sandy Phelps is a Garden Design Consultant and a trusted partner of SOLitude Lake Management. To set up a consultation for all of your lake, pond and landscaping needs, Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) or visit www.solitudelakemanagement.com.