Sound Native Plants collaborates with Pacific Rim Soil and Water, Inc. to offer site assessment and low impact development (LID) recommendations for new development. Pacific Rim Soil and Water provides soils assessment and Sound Native Plants inventories existing vegetation and hydrologic features. Acting as a team, we identify appropriate sites and develop plans for LID measures such as rain gardens, bioretention ponds and conservation areas.
Rain gardens / Bioretention swales
Rain gardens (aka bioretention swales) use existing or supplemented soil and native vegetation in natural depressions to infiltrate stormwater runoff from surrounding areas. Rain gardens reduce runoff by intercepting, evaporating and infiltrating rainfall, which diminishes erosion and improves water quality. Beautiful and functional, rain gardens can buffer noise, enhance privacy, provide urban wildlife habitat, and add aesthetic value to the landscape. Rain gardens are inexpensive to install and require little maintenance.
Depending on site conditions, rain gardens may be retrofitted in existing developments to augment existing stormwater facilities, help reduce flooding and improve water quality. Soil amendments and excavation may be necessary.
By using native vegetation and soil amendments, bioretention ponds often out-perform traditional stormwater detention systems. Native vegetation reduces stormwater runoff through interception and evaporation. Roots stabilize soil, decrease erosion, absorb soil moisture, improve soil aeration and enhance rainfall infiltration. Stems filter out sediments, and plant tissues immobilize heavy metals and break down organic pollutants, improving water quality. Native vegetation nourishes soil organisms that aid decomposition and improve soil characteristics.
Green roofs are roofs planted with vegetation to reduce runoff. Green roofs that are 6" or less in depth employ lightweight soil mix, a drain layer and native herbaceous plants adapted to harsh conditions. Sound Native Plants provides planting plans for green roofs; we can also supply the plants and install and maintain them. Appropriate species include sedums, strawberries and various grasses, because of their shallow root systems and drought-tolerance. The roofs themselves should be designed by a licensed engineer or architect and constructed by a licensed contractor.