Landscape Planning and Design in Mountain Environments IS Different! - Part Four

Kings Canyon National Park | Photo by Robie Litchfield
Kings Canyon National Park | Photo by Robie Litchfield

In some ways Landscape Design in warmer climates is similar, but in many ways, it is VERY Different!  A number of factors play into the planning and design of mountain landscaping.  Following are areas where the differences affect design and planning so that Mountain Landscape Projects can not only survive but thrive. 

In Part Four we discuss what Sustainable Design in mountain environments and special considerations for a healthy native landscape.

Can I have a Sustainably Designed Landscape?

Why is Stormwater Management Important?

example of soil erosion
Example of soil erosion – unchecked stormwater breaks down slopes and streambanks and sweeps away soils, compromises plant stability and sediment carried by the water chokes fish and other aquatic life essential for a balanced ecosystem

A stabilized streambank using gabions
A stabilized streambank using gabions, one of many methods, constructed of wire cages and native rock, provides a solid base for plants to take hold and eventually provide habitat for fish, and a clean, healthy living environment for other aquatic species

Best Management Practices
Best Management Practices (BMP) manage the movement of stormwater before and after construction.  These straw waddles collect sediment suspended in stormwater in the swale and the straw mats at the top of the picture hold soil in place before it can enter the swale.

Pervious Pavement
Three LID features are at work here:
The Pervious Pavement absorbs water to allow infiltration of water captured in galleries right beneath the paving.  Excess water sheet drains across a filtering strip of grass that picks up sediment and, chemicals and slows flow to a bioretention basin/swale where water can infiltrate into local aquifers or be conveyed to other infiltration facilities.  This application can be used varied site scales from smaller residential settings as well as larger commercial and public locations.

Surface flow diverters
Surface flow diverters capture, slow and direct stormwater to bioretention facilities.  This is an example of a feature that is designed for function and aesthetic quality

Why Protect Fragile Nearby Waterbodies?

Big Wood River from River Run Sun Valley
Big Wood River from River Run Sun Valley – Photo by Robie Litchfield

people conducting river restoration
Local groups like these mentioned above also conduct river restoration days – pictured here a group of volunteers working on a streambank stabilization project at Prosser Creek during the 2015 annual Truckee River Day –– photo Robie Litchfield

Why is having Healthy Soil Important?

hand holding soil

Coming up, Part Five explores some of the more fun sides of creating our unique place in the Mountain Environment