Maintaining Rain Gardens


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Maintaining Rain Gardens

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Maintaining Rain Gardens

  1. 1. Maintaining Rain-Gardens Lessons Learned from the Kansas State University Stormwater Management Project Lee R. Skabelund, Kansas State UniversityLandscape Architecture / Regional & Community Planning Principal Investigator / Project Manager Konza Prairie near Manhattan, KS Flint Hills Ecoregion
  2. 2. Urban Stormwater ConcernsThroughout Kansas stormwater is typically sent quickly away from developed areas and straight-piped into drainageways, streams, rivers, and ponds. As a result of these and other land-use practices, ecosystems are being severely degraded.Large amounts of water are also sprayed on lawns, gardens, and other landscapes. Often, very little water replenishes Big Blue River underground water reserves. Campus Creek WatershedWhat can we do to correct thesebad habits? Wildcat CreekFirst, we must recognizethe connections! Kansas River
  3. 3. Interweaving Art and ScienceK-State’s International Student Center Rain-Garden The KSU ISC Rain-Garden was constructed by faculty, students and staff in Spring 2007. In Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 Lee Skabelund collaborated with Art students and faculty to create rain-bowls for the ISC Rain-Garden.
  4. 4. ISC Rain-Garden Project 5/22/09• This collaborative design-build project engaged students, faculty, staff, and professionals in the task of considering ecologically sound ways to treat stormwater that falls on the Kansas State University (KSU) campus. In the process, two specific goals were achieved: 1) Designed and created a rain-garden along a selected area of Campus Creek to reduce stormwater run-off and improve water quality. 2) Demonstrated specific ways to address urban stormwater runoff to KSU administrators, staff, faculty, students, and visitors.
  5. 5. Educational Intent of the Project 5/22/09 Engaging KSU administrators, staff, faculty, students, and local planning/design professionals is deemed essential if substantive changes in stormwater management are to occur on campus and in the larger community. This collaborative design/build demonstration project involved key stakeholders at KSU and other communities, raising their awareness of best practices, testing design ideas on the ground, and engaging those who influence stormwater management at KSU and beyond.
  6. 6. Rain-Garden Maintenance:Key Ideas to Remember:1) Rain-Gardens need to be maintained (there is no freelunch when it comes to maintaining gardens and created ordisrupted landscapes).2) Weeding is essential (although a good hardwood mulchcan reduce the number of weeds and make weeding easier).Fertilizing is not needed if you use plants adapted to theregion and site. Pruning is rarely needed, though you willlikely want to clip back perennials before spring (you maywish to transplant and water in seedlings and/or remove moreaggressive perennials if they begin to dominate your garden).3) Watering during the first growing season is vital (try tostrike a balance between providing too much and too littlewater). If you choose plants well-adapted to your eco-region and specific site, no watering should be neededonce the plants are established. Check for exposed soil anderosion, and add an organic weed-free mulch. If too muchsediment is flowing into the garden find the source andstabilize the area (if needed, you may need to reduce thevolume or intensity of stormwater flowing into the garden).4) Draw upon the experience of others, including folks onthe east coast, mid-west, Rocky Mountains & west coast.
  7. 7. Bioregion/Landscape SiteCommunity Context
  8. 8. Integrate Your Rain-Garden into your eco-region and siteKey Ideas to Remember: 1) Create a rain-garden that makes sense for your site (size ofproperty, structures and impermeable surfaces; location; soil andsun/shade conditions; etc.) and your maintenance capabilities. 2) Learn what the “weeds” and invasive species are in your areaand prepare to remove them from your garden as soon as possible. 3) Choose plants that can handle water and drought. In Kansasour native prairie species are typically best and many these perennialplants of these can be obtained from nurseries such as Kaw RiverRestoration Nurseries in Lawrence ( the Prairie & Wetland Center ( For more native plant nursery/supplier options refer to: 4) Learn from others and from your own experiences (think big,think small; be practical, be ambitious, be creative; know your budgetand institutional capacity; have a lot of fun working with soil, water andplants; save water and energy; learn a bunch along the way).
  9. 9. Learning from Precedents: water-sensitive site planning/design project DOE-Robb Williamson photoDOE-Robb Williamson photo Excerpted remarks by David W. Orr, Director of Oberlins Environmental Studies Program, in 1999. “Three years ago we began the effort to design a building for the Environmental Studies Program. We intended to create not just a place for classes but rather a building that would help to redefine the relationship between humankind and the environment—one that would expand our sense of ecological possibilities. We began by asking: Is it possible—even in Ohio—to power buildings by current sunlight? Is it possible to create buildings that purify their own wastewater? Is it possible to build without compromising human and environmental heath somewhere else or at some later time?”Sources: NASA (unlabled photos); Oberlin College (text & David Orr photo)
  10. 10. Water-sensitive site Roof water isplanning/design project collected in carved ASLA 2004 award winner stone basins, then drains into a grated channel before cascading over a five-foot stone-faced retaining wall. The learning lab and Design by Jones & Jones – Planners, auditorium buildings Architects & Landscape Architects expand onto the courtyard, which is paved with stone, subtly-colored sandblasted concrete, and tile artifacts (historically manufactured in the watershed). Surrounding forest and meadows are pulled into the courtyard and onto building roofs.Cedar River Watershed Education Center - Seattle, WA Source:
  11. 11. Water-sensitive site A new road revealsplanning/design project previously hidden Andropogon Associates, Ltd. landscapes. A new parking lot integrates multiple functions: parking, water collection, and horticultural display. The lot includes an impervious asphalt roadway, with permeable asphalt parking bays off to the sides. A stormwater recharge bed lies under the entire lot. When it rains, water rapidly disappears through the permeable paving and into the underground basin where it infiltrates Morris Arboretum into the ground. Source:
  12. 12. Water-sensitive site planning/design project Coffee Creek, Chesterton, Indiana Sources: (photos) (text) StreamEmploying Environmental EngineeringRestoration of the Coffee Creek corridor is being implemented with guidance frombiologists who understand the local & regional landscape. Level spreaders andvegetation infiltrate water into the soil. The project employs civil engineering withouttraditional expensive and destructive stormwater drainage systems – and provides awide range of shared community open space within a 167-acre preserve. Level Spreader slows runoff Wetland CellPrairie treats sewage GreenroofRestoring Native Ecosystems and Habitats“Unbuilt areas are being restored to a pre-settlement landscape to minimize soil erosion andrebuild soil integrity, re-establish native plant & animal communities and encourageincreased bio-diversity.”
  13. 13. Q: How do we restore hydrological processes in urban settings? Fall 2004 KSU-LAR Stormwater Management Charrette
  14. 14. Instructive Stormwater Management BMPs in the RegionJackson Street Bioretention Areas,Topeka, KS Discovery Center, Living Machine & Created Wetland Kansas City, MOMize Lake Bioretention Cell andCreated Wetland, Lenexa, KS
  15. 15. Stormwater Management Charrette at Kansas State University Oct. 25-27, 2006Three Guest Speakers/Reviewersand Links to KSU Classes Integrated Teams and Many Design Ideas…Ten Teams; Multiple Sites;Reviews & Open House
  16. 16. Potential Stormwater Management Retrofits near KSU’s Derby Dining Complex Moore Hall/Claflin Rd. ISC/Residence Bioretention Area (Spring ’09?) Hall Raingardens, Amphitheater & Pathways (Fall 2009 charrette; Summer 2010 implementation?) Derby Haymaker & International Green Ford Hall Roof * Student Center Bioretention Raingarden Gardens (Spring 2007) (Spring ’09?) * Collaborative Project with BNIM and other firms West & Ford Hall Parking Retrofit (Fall 2007 Studio Project; (Summer ’09 construction?) includes designing Green Roofs for Seaton Hall and other buildings at KSU; location and construction of a demonstration green Boyd Hall/Old Claflin Rd. roof date TBD) Raingarden (Fall ’08 / Spring ’09 implementation?)
  17. 17. Restoring Hydrologic Processes along Campus CreekThe KSU International Student Center Design/BuildRain-Garden Demonstration Project Project inspired by KSU-LAR Stormwater Management Charrette
  18. 18. Restoring Hydrologic Processes along Campus CreekThe KSU International Student Center Design/BuildRain-Garden Demonstration Project Taiwan Wing Korean Room Planting Plan (Cary Thomsen, KSU-MLA) Planting & Setting Level-Spreader (4/28/07) In-process rain-garden photos taken on 5/16/07, 6/2/07, 6/22/07, and 7/16/07.
  19. 19. Restoring Hydrologic Processes along Campus CreekThe KSU International Student Center Design/BuildRain-Garden Demonstration ProjectISC Staff: Photo taken April 23, 2007
  20. 20. The KSU-ISC Rain-GardenSep. 7, 2007 photo Rain-Garden Sign Sep. 26, 2007 photos
  21. 21. The KSU-ISC Rain-Garden Campus Creek 10/2/07October 2, 2007 - photos taken after a 1.2-inch storm event (approximate).
  22. 22. The KSU International Student Center Rain-Garden Plant List Proposed plants for basins (Feb 2007) Proposed plants for fringe areas (Feb 2007) ISC Rain- Garden Plants (Aug-Sep ’07) 10/29/07
  23. 23. Lessons LearnedResults: participants and visitors recognize the value ofwater and its role in sustaining developed landscapes andnatural ecosystems by considering ways they can harnessrainwater for irrigation and ecological renewal.Assessment:Students learned from one another, faculty, andprofessionals as they collaborated in vertical design teams;presented design ideas to administrators, professionals,faculty & peers; and as they helped implement design ideasat KSU’s International Student Center. They are alsoinvolved in maintenance of the ISC Rain-Garden.12/24/08 5/1/09 Note the water still in the rain-gutter, well after water soaked into heavy clay rain-garden soils 9/17/07
  24. 24. KSU Green Roof Design – Fall 2007Green roof designs wereproposed for a handful ofbuildings on the K-StateCampus in Manhattan,Kansas.Landscape Architecturestudents visited four Project Sitesconstructed green roofsin Kansas City, Missouri; Derby Diningreviewed and discussed Complexthe literature related togreen roof design,construction and Chalmers &management; and then Ackert Hallsselected one or more Seaton Hall (3)rooftops on which todesign a green roof. K-StateThey spent three weeks Unionasking: What if? Whatmight be? If here, how? Three-Week Green Roof Design Project, KSU-LARCP Specialization Studio – Prof. Lee R. Skabelund; Designers – 12 LAR Students.
  25. 25. KSU Green Roof Design – Fall 2007 The Derby green roof would serve as park- like space for walking, reading and studying, conversing and eating, and resting, relaxing and sunbathing.Three-Week Green Roof Design Project, KSU-LARCP Specialization Studio –Prof. Lee R. Skabelund; Designers – Cole Giesler & Katie Sobcynski.
  26. 26. KSU Green Roof Design – Fall 2007These green roofs would serve primarily as a research laboratories to study the value ofliving roofs for energy savings and stormwater management. Three-Week Green Roof Design Project, KSU-LARCP Specialization Studio – Prof. Lee R. Skabelund; Designers – Kris Coen & Daniel Robben.
  27. 27. KSU Green Roof Design – Fall 2007 This green roof would serve as a research laboratory, outdoor reading room, and social gathering space. Three-Week Green Roof Design Project, KSU-LARCP Specialization Studio – Prof. Lee R. Skabelund; Designers - Anthony Fox & Chris Morton.
  28. 28. KSU Green Roof Design – Fall 2007 These green roofs would offer research laboratories and a room with a view. Three-Week Green Roof Design Project, KSU-LARCP Specialization Studio – Prof. Lee R. Skabelund; Designers - Anthony Fox & Chris Morton.
  29. 29. KSU Green Roof Design – Fall 2007 The Union green roof would serve as a space for small social and educational gatherings and for catching a breath of fresh air. Three-Week Green Roof Design Project, KSU-LARCP Specialization Studio – Prof. Lee R. Skabelund; Designer – Lindsey Scheuneman.
  30. 30. Rossville Rain-Garden – Spring 2008Working with Prof. Skabelund, Brett Tagtmeyer & Aarthi Padmanabahn (LAR) designed and helped residents lay out the Rossville Rain-Garden. 10/2/08
  31. 31. Current Projects & Next StepsDuring Spring 2008 interdisciplinarystudent teams developed proposalsfor implementing the first green roofin the Flint Hills Eco-region.Green roof & rain-garden designsare currently being implemented in 5/22/09Manhattan, Kansas.Our goal is to explore community-and-landscape-appropriate ways to addressurban stormwater runoff in manyKansas communities.The WaterLINK program has played apivotal role in allowing us to design andimplement projects by working acrossdisciplines to address stormwatermanagement concerns in the region.Sunset Zoo Prairie & Rain-Garden Design >Contributors: Emily King, Lee Adams, Chris Enroth,and Andrew Schaap
  32. 32. Seaton Hall Green Roof: The first test… Seaton Green Roof exposed upper rooftop Seaton Hall Details prepared by Michael Knapp & Mark Neibling, with guidance from professors Todd Gabbard, Lee Skabelund, KSU Facilities, Greg Pfau (BNIM), and others. Structural calculations by Jessica Wiles and Dr. Sutton Stephens (Arch. Engineering). Monitoring support from Stacy Hutchinson (BAE) and Mary Knapp (Agronomy and KSU Climatologist). Materials and labor donated by KSU-Facilities, Derbigum, Danker Roofing & American Hydrotech. Upper breezeway roof – 300 sf; can hold ~64 lbs/sf Low roofs to east & west – each ~350 sf; can hold ~51 lbs/sf
  33. 33. KSU Seaton Hall Green Roof Demonstration & Research Project 10/3/08 5/18/09 5/19/09 3/25/09 3/30/09 5/21/09
  34. 34. Interweaving Art and ScienceK-State’s International Student Center Rain-Garden 10/3/08