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Ask the Pros: Landscape Architecture

Advice on designing a landscape by the bay

How do you typically address floodplain and sloping issues when landscaping on the water?
The place where land meets water is ecologically sensitive and has the potential to be brimming with life—so protecting this area is very important. When landscaping on the water, we look at the site from its highest point, as well as at the ecosystem that exists below the water’s surface. To ensure that loose soil doesn’t erode and damage the waterline, we figure out how both the residence and the surrounding land channel rainwater and design the landscape with these factors in mind.

The process of filtering and slowing the movement of water in a landscape can be a practical design intervention. But it’s also an opportunity to display plantings and art and to enhance the beauty of this natural system. Elements such as rain gardens, biofiltration, planters, infiltration basins and designed natural-water features all become part of this process. —Jordan Loch Crabtree, PLA, ASLA, LOCH Collective

When designing a landscape for a contemporary home on the Tred Avon River in Easton, Maryland, Annapolis-based LOCH Collective devised a system for filtering rainwater through layers of plantings. The rain flows through dense beds that are contained within a sequence of Corten steel walls, then across lawn terraces and finally into a reestablished native meadow—all before it enters the river.  Architecture: Martins Grehl Architects, Brooklyn, New York.

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