Restoring the Landscape After a Septic System Installation

Landscape design is an intricate and rewarding process, particularly when the project involves unique constraints. One such project involved the need to work around a septic drain field and an existing slope. Here, we explore the landscape design philosophy, objectives, and challenges, as well as the successes and benefits that resulted from this project.

The primary design objectives for this project were primarily to restore the beauty of their front yard after a recently installed septic system had materially damaged the area. At the same time, our designers looked to create areas to create memories and relaxation by building functional spaces for kids and contemplation. The biggest challenge that the designers faced was the need to work around a septic drain field and an existing slope. To address this challenge, they decided to create multiple functional spaces that would be highly conducive to the objectives of the project.

One of the primary functional spaces created in this project was a lawn space for kids. The lawn space was designed to be safe and enjoyable for kids to play, and it was created using specific grass species that were carefully chosen based on their characteristics. The designers selected a perennial ryegrass blend which is specifically recommended for the climate of the Pacific Northwest to ensure that the lawn was able to withstand the stresses of heavy foot traffic, outperform in cool and damp climate, and that it was aesthetically pleasing as well.

Another important functional space created in this project was the two walking paths, which were designed for both access and contemplation. The location and materials used for the paths were carefully selected to ensure that they blended in seamlessly with the rest of the landscape. The designers chose to use a mix of gravel and stepping stones for the paths, both of which provided a safe and visually appealing means of access.

To address the shady areas of the landscape, the designers decided to practice native forest restoration. The concept of native forest restoration involves planting native trees and shrubs that are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. The designers selected a variety of native tree and shrub species and provided a detailed planting plan to ensure that the area was properly restored to its native state.

Another vital component of the landscape design was the creation of pollinator-friendly meadows. The meadows were designed to provide habitat for pollinators and to contribute to the larger ecosystem. The designers carefully selected a blend of native grass and flower species that were highly attractive to pollinators, including monarch butterflies. They also ensured that the meadows were located in areas where they would receive ample amounts of sunlight and were easy to care for.

Perhaps the most unique component of the landscape design was the moss lawn. The moss lawn was designed to be placed in the wettest and shadiest space, where traditional lawn grasses would not thrive. Moss is a low-maintenance and visually appealing ground cover that provides a unique and peaceful environment. Additionally, it is a common misconception that moss is a sign of poor soil quality; however, when combined with the right plants and soil conditions, it can thrive and provide an excellent ground cover.

In conclusion, this landscape design project was a great success despite the many challenges it presented. The designers were able to incorporate both functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that promote human well-being and ecological health. In particular, the inclusion of native and pollinator-friendly plant palettes and the practice of native forest restoration contributed significantly to the project’s success. Overall, this project showcases how effective and beautiful landscape design can be when designers carefully consider all of the design objectives and constraints.

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