Don’t get your hopes up, the sound isn’t Santa’s reindeer coming for an early surprise, but a long anticipated visit from Mr. Rain.
The drought has caused a lot of concern among Bay Area residents. We are very proud of our eco-centric community, bombarding the xeriscape section at Home Depot, replacing roses with agaves, opting for artificial turf as opposed to tradition sod lawns. We have come a long way!
Now, let’s completely switch gears for a moment (literally a moment). This winter’s rain will help, but it will only put a damper on the devastating drought we’ve been experiencing for years. But in the meantime, what do we do with all this water???
Do these scenes look familiar to you?

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If so, you are not alone. These images are pretty typical this time of year, especially when you’ve got a 50-year storm on your hands. Yes, plants need water but sitting in water can be just as bad if not worse than lack of water.
Soooo…. What can you do?
There are plenty of ways to combat this issue. We’ll limit it to just a few steps and design alternatives to get your garden winter ready!
First things first: notice how your property naturally drains. Is it all channeling out to a single corner? Draining onto your neighbor’s property? Or creating a giant puddle smack-dab in the middle of your native garden, which has temporarily turned into a wetland.
What to do?

1.) Create a swale
So you’ve got rivers running through your yard, well why not embrace it? You can have your own little moat protecting your family’s fortress.
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There are specific water-loving plants that thrive in bioswale environments, while also fending well during the non-winter months
Bioswales are designed to help recharge the groundwater table and direct excess water to a designated area, thereby helping to avoid oversaturating your planting areas and allowing your bioswale plants, like juncus and carex, drink up all the water that would have drowned your succulents.

2.) Rainwater harvesting
Is all your rooftop water is draining to a puddle on the side of your home and just getting bigger and bigger?
Once again, let’s embrace it! Fill it up with layers of sand, gravel, and river rock to allow optimal drainage and fill it in with some water loving bioswale plants.

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3.) Good Drainage = Happy Succulents
Succulents have most definitely been in vogue for the past few years, which comes as no surprise given their architectural style, extreme low maintenance, and being the pack leaders in the xeriscaping brigade.

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But if not given the proper drainage, these beautiful succulents can wither away with this rain.
The secret is to percolate the water down through the soil away from the succulents’ roots, thereby feeding the water table and not drowning your aloes.
To do this layers of sand, gravel, and rocks are set when the succulent is initially planted. Clay based, or fine grained soils are the main cause of ‘puddles’ in the landscape. The larger the gain of sediments the more space is offered for the water for escape.

Are you prepared?
Call us- we love to tromp around the puddles in our Wellies!
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by Amanda