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Parkstrip design vs urban runoff (looking for ideas)

 
pollinator
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I really don't know where this would fit, but this seems closest.

I re-did the parkstrips  a year ago and I'm still learning. We had a storm last night and the water flows right past the parkstrips. It was deep enough to go up over the curbs and flow along the sidewalk in several places. We get storms like this maybe 2 or 3 times per year, some larger, mostly in the fall (this one is a month early, which makes me wonder about winter).

So the first two pictures are essentially what I'm working with for this piece. South parkstrip and west parkstrip, which run along two sides of the property. Two streets meet here, so when storms come down we get two streams of water converging. They washed out much of the woodchips in those two corners and along the edges where the turbulence started.

A couple things, if someone can take the time to look at it. I want to keep this water, not divert it, but I also want to keep the woodchips and the landscaping intact. I can put in more ground covers (the water seemed to completely ignore anything growing, just flowing right past or over it without disturbing the woodchips) and I can use the patterns established by this storm, but in what direction?

We live in a desert, so with the problem being the solution, the best solution would be to sink and store the water, but how? Rocks along those edges would create more turbulence unless they're very carefully placed. Groundcovers might keep the woodchips intact but would do little to sink and store the water.

One possibility is digging those denuded corners deeper and creating a sort of riparian garden in that area, but I'm not sure yet. It's a public street and I don't want anyone stumbling into a hole and breaking a leg. As it is, these parkstrips have been watered only once this year and the plants (including watermelon, zucchini and tomatoes) are thriving. So the woodchips are working as designed. Another thought I had was digging the holes, lining the bottom and using layered rocks and woodchips to create a sort of wicking bed that will fill each time it rains. That one will take more consideration and planning.

I'm just brainstorming at the moment, trying to figure out how to use the water to its fullest extent without destroying what I already have.

Any ideas or suggestions?
Parkstrip-west-2018.jpg
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Parkstrip-fall-01.jpg
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2018, south parkstrip
IMG_20190809_121628340.jpg
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The lowest point of the property. The water came up past the 2nd level of blocks
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Roads converge at this corner
IMG_20190809_121615259.jpg
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Debris dam which diverted the streams onto the sidewalk
IMG_20190809_121607813.jpg
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Chips washed away where the current diverted around the rocks
IMG_20190809_121457834.jpg
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Chips completely gone where the two streams converged
 
gardener
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Maybe use the concrete as a backstop for a trench that is tapered back to soil height. Fill it with mulch or rocks. Using just curb (looks like it slopes to curb) or both curb and sidewalk

Picture attached.
20190809_144759-756x1008.jpg
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pollinator
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Here is a resource which might offer some useful information:  https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/street-runoff-harvesting/
 
Lauren Ritz
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Well if nothing else, I do have plenty of rocks!

I'll try that in a small section before the next storm and see how it works. I had originally planned to dig down a foot and have the woodchips 3 inches below the sidewalk level, but I decided that would just be an invitation to someone ignoring everything but their cell phone to break a leg.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Thanks, Tyler. They discuss mostly below grade stuff, which I'd decided against. I can't afford to do curb cuts at this point, although it's planned for later.

A lot of good information here, and I've read the book before.
 
wayne fajkus
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Lauren Ritz wrote:Well if nothing else, I do have plenty of rocks!

I'll try that in a small section before the next storm and see how it works. I had originally planned to dig down a foot and have the woodchips 3 inches below the sidewalk level, but I decided that would just be an invitation to someone ignoring everything but their cell phone to break a leg.



Not sure why it could not be at sidewalk level. The mulch and the voids in the mulch will both hold water that will soak in.
 
wayne fajkus
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Digging in ollas would work. Modified to have a screened top you could walk on.  Something like pictured could be used as is or connected to each other so there is perforated  piping underground connecting several together.
images.jpeg-2.jpg
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Lauren Ritz
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Wayne, I didn't mean it couldn't be at sidewalk level--just that I'd already decided not to go BELOW sidewalk level. I'll go gather some rocks from my rock pile (40 years worth!) and test it out.

Now just need to wait for another storm. :)
 
Lauren Ritz
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So I had another idea (and thank you, Travis, for reminding me that definitions are flexible). I've read the Rainharvesting book a number of times and I realized that nothing has to be below grade, assuming that something can be changed. So rocks...

If I use the rocks I have, I can create a border in the shape of the backwater basins, facing the street, so I won't catch the day to day runoff (pesticides, herbicides, paint and whatever other idiocy people decide to chuck in the gutters upstream) but I would catch the runoff from these major events. Water that fills the section would simply overflow into the next section, and so on. The last section, where the two streams run together, would have a complete wall on the west (against the street) but be open on the east so the calmer water toward the outside of the turbulence could infiltrate there.

Suggestions? Implications I haven't thought of? Contraindications?
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Lauren Ritz
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So the first stage is done. I decided to do a rock "well" in the three corners where the water action was fiercest. There will be groundcovers on the edges so the backwash won't be as destructive. Hopefully. The fourth corner has rocks along the edge. I modified my original design, put in a thick layer of wood chips/leaves and debris, with a screen to hold them down, then rocks over the top. There is a gap at the center of each, currently occupied by zucchini but eventually perennials that need a little more water since these will be the "sink."

Now to wait for a storm!
IMG_20200523_093422775.jpg
By the driveway
By the driveway
IMG_20200523_093434336.jpg
Same location as the previous debris dam
Same location as the previous debris dam
IMG_20200523_093504107.jpg
South west corner
South west corner
IMG_20200523_093513204.jpg
Southwest corner on the steeper slope
Southwest corner on the steeper slope
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