Design and build urban low-water landscape in Hillcrest, San Diego to improve drainage, promote biodiversity and soil vitality, retain water, and reduce annual maintenance requirements.
10-2021 to 12-2021
Landscape and Surface Drainage Design/Build At Private Residence
Property Drainage Assessment and Improvements
Inspection/Cleaning of roof, gutters, downspouts, and surface drainage. Concentrated flows from the homes caused erosion on the slopes and ponding around the structures. Design new layout for surface drains and subsurface piping to connect downspouts, and divert concentrated surface runoff safely off of the property to prevent erosion and ponding. Trenching, and construction of piping and surface inlets and discharge outlets. The surface drains were placed inside planters slightly lower than the hardscape to allow runoff from the walkway into the planter to give the plants additional water and capture surface runoff. Soil surface modifications included reducing elevation of soil in planter areas and building soil on slopes for back patio construction.
Plant Palate and Design
Hearty, drought tolerant perennials and grasses (and natives!) were incorporated into the design for a landscape that catches the eye and filters runoff water. Pittosporum were used to create height in the design and screening for sight lines between residences. Bougainvillea and Passiflora (red passion flower) provide a pop of color and greenery on CMU wall and older fencing.
The Plant Roster
Salvia Greggi White
Grevillea L Coastal Gem
Bougainvillea San Diego Red
Pittosporum Silver Sheen
Passiflora Vitifolia Staked
Rosmarinus O. Prostratus
Trees that are not maintained and are inappropriate for the space can become hazards to power lines, underground utilities, foundations, and can be a fire hazard. The trees that were removed included eight 50-foot Eugenias, 25 foot tall Pepper Tree, four 20-foot queen palms, and one 20-foot Mexican palm, and two large bougainvillea. Eight stumps were ground out in the driveway to allow paving the area for increased parking. The pepper tree and eugenias in the driveway had grown over and around the overhead SDGE electrical service line to the house, and caused damage to the line. The remaining large eugenias on the side of the ADU/garage had grown around the overhead communication line and around the electrical pole. The five large palm trees were encroaching on the roof of the addition to the house, which was built after the palms were planted. Large trees in general require annual trimming and the existing trees would have cost approximately 2k per year to maintain properly. SDGE tree maintenance contractor inspected and trimmed around the power poles and lines prior to tree removal. SDGE electrical worker also repaired the sagging service electrical line to the house.
Existing fencing was removed, demolished and hauled to the landfill as part of the tree removal scope. New fencing is required to provide each unit on the property with a secure outdoor yard space. Overgrown trees behind the ADU were also trimmed back for fence post installation. Deer fencing along the back of the property allows security for pets, while wooden privacy fence and gated entry to the back yards is stained black to compliment and unify the aesthetic of the units. Existing planters in the driveway were converted to parking areas to increase the number of spaces from three to six, and several trees and stumps were removed in order to pour concrete for parking. During stump removal in front of the house, the pvc water service main broke, which alerted the team to the issue of this fragile infrastructure. Within one day the water main was converted to the appropriate copper pipe, and lowered to a depth of one foot below the surface. An additional water regulator valve was added to the line at the ADU to afford water pressure to both the house and the ADU.
General Site Cleanup
In order to improve the property landscape, access to all areas was required. Side yards were inaccessible due to discarded construction waste, electronics, sports equipment, and fallen leaves from overgrown trees. The side yard debris was removed, sorted for disposal, and the leaves were cleaned out. Miscellaneous discarded items were collected and hauled to the landfill in two loads.
A brick walkway was incorporated into the design to unify the property aesthetic which has existing brick accents around entryways to the main house. Gravel walkways were installed around the side yard to allow additional drainage during rain, and security. Patios were built in the two new back yards for table and chairs.