Managing water


1. Water travelling fast will go exactly where it wants to go.

2. Fast water is like a person in crisis, or an angry toddler trying to go where they want: de-escalate, don’t try to contain. You can build dams and barriers, but with a big-enough storm the water will burst through, and you’ll find yourself with a bigger mess (think tantrum!).

3. This means figuring out where the water is coming from and where it wants to go, and trying to slow it down so it will not take everything around it down in the process.

4. Erosion is all about speed, not just volume. A tiny crevice will allow water to funnel and gain speed and can make a giant crevasse.

5. Catch it gently and calm it down before it gets out of hand. Think texture: slow the water down physically with round rocks and river stone. Do this much further upstream/uphill than you would think you would need to.

6. Use oblique angles and wide swales (or ditches) to guide the water gently away, before it can gather momentum. Look at the ski slopes: they put “water bars” draining off to the sides to catch water and carry it left and right, before it becomes a problem. The steeper the hill, the more water bars are necessary.

7. A good landscaper will get the angles right. A barely visible slope away, all around your project, is ideal. If that is not possible (for instance, on many of our steep Laurentian building sites), make sure the person doing your excavation and landscaping knows what to do with the water, be it snow melt, a spring, or just plain old rain, not to mention our sometimes-violent thunderstorms.

8. Same goes for your driveway. Always convex, never concave.

9. Put in eavestroughs and downspouts and keep them clean. Hook them up to drains that lead away from your foundation. Consider running heating wires from the beginning, to avoid winter ice blockage.

10. Water will always, always win. Get ahead of it and cooperate with it for a better outcome.


More from this author by clicking on her photo below.

Laura Scully


Laura Scully64 Posts

Diplômée de l’Université de Guelph en horticulture, Laura Scully est cofondatrice et copropriétaire de Northland, entreprise tremblantoise d'aménagement paysager maintes fois primée. Elle partage son savoir horticole avec les lecteurs du Tremblant Express depuis 2009. / A University of Guelph graduate in horticulture, Laura Scully is the cofounder and co-owner of Northland, the Mont-Tremblant landscaping company that has won so many titles and awards. She has been sharing her knowhow with Tremblant Express readers since 2009.


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