These workshops will give you an introduction to designing beautiful, functional, and healthy yards that are rain smart and beneficial to nature and people alike. These workshops will focus on rain smart techniques and the best places to integrate them into your outdoor space, including:

  • rain gardens
  • naturalized landscaping
  • infiltration galleries
  • rainwater harvesting
  • permeable pavement
  • other aspects of healthy yards, such as attracting bees and butterflies

Workshop # 1: Healthy Yards 101 | Idea Spark

  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

We will printout an aerial map of your property in advance. After a brief overview, you will be guided through the process of analyzing your property to determine what healthy yard features would work best for your space and lifestyle. We will sketch out your ideas to give you a sense of the size and scope of your project(s).

You will leave the workshop with a basic plan for your yard and additional resources to help implement your healthy yard project. The design sketch can help to facilitate discussion with a contractor or form the basis of the plan to do it yourself. If you want help developing a more detailed plan, register for the next workshop in the series Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden.

Workshop # 2: Healthy Yards 201 | Planning

  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

This workshop is perfect for Do-it-Yourselfers who have an early-stage plan for their healthy yard and desire additional design support to fulfill their vision. We will build upon the concepts and principles learned in Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning and guide you through a more detailed design for your healthy yard project.

The workshop will specifically focus on project planning and planting design for rain gardens and naturalized landscapes, including topics such as:

  • planting for year round interest
  • the best plants for rain gardens
  • materials calculations (i.e. compost, sand, mulch)

Participants will learn how to develop a design for a part (or all) of their yard and create a shopping list for plants and related materials required to implement the project successfully.

Come with a specific gardening project in mind, including its rough size and location. This could possibly be developed during the Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning workshop. We will develop a more detailed drawing of your garden during the workshop to effectively determine the number of plants and other materials you will require, so knowledge of the dimensions, sun exposure, and soil conditions (wet, dry, or moist or sand, silt or clay) will be helpful.

Presenter: Becca Robinson

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR). She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

Funder and Partner Acknowledgement

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

These workshops will give you an introduction to designing beautiful, functional, and healthy yards that are rain smart and beneficial to nature and people alike. These workshops will focus on rain smart techniques and the best places to integrate them into your outdoor space, including:

  • rain gardens
  • naturalized landscaping
  • infiltration galleries
  • rainwater harvesting
  • permeable pavement
  • other aspects of healthy yards, such as attracting bees and butterflies

Workshop # 1: Healthy Yards 101 | Idea Spark

  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

We will printout an aerial map of your property in advance. After a brief overview, you will be guided through the process of analyzing your property to determine what healthy yard features would work best for your space and lifestyle. We will sketch out your ideas to give you a sense of the size and scope of your project(s).

You will leave the workshop with a basic plan for your yard and additional resources to help implement your healthy yard project. The design sketch can help to facilitate discussion with a contractor or form the basis of the plan to do it yourself. If you want help developing a more detailed plan, register for the next workshop in the series Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden.

Workshop # 2: Healthy Yards 201 | Planning

  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

This workshop is perfect for Do-it-Yourselfers who have an early-stage plan for their healthy yard and desire additional design support to fulfill their vision. We will build upon the concepts and principles learned in Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning and guide you through a more detailed design for your healthy yard project.

The workshop will specifically focus on project planning and planting design for rain gardens and naturalized landscapes, including topics such as:

  • planting for year round interest
  • the best plants for rain gardens
  • materials calculations (i.e. compost, sand, mulch)

Participants will learn how to develop a design for a part (or all) of their yard and create a shopping list for plants and related materials required to implement the project successfully.

Come with a specific gardening project in mind, including its rough size and location. This could possibly be developed during the Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning workshop. We will develop a more detailed drawing of your garden during the workshop to effectively determine the number of plants and other materials you will require, so knowledge of the dimensions, sun exposure, and soil conditions (wet, dry, or moist or sand, silt or clay) will be helpful.

Presenter: Becca Robinson

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR). She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

Funder and Partner Acknowledgement

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

EVENT DETAILS

planting a rain garden

Learn ways to add landscape solutions like rain gardens, bioswales, and trees into your yard. See first-hand the gardens at Avenue Road Baptist Church that are designed to soak up and filter stormwater.

Tour the rain garden and row of trees that reduce water runoff into the newly revamped stormwater pond.  We will discuss actions that can reduce runoff from our properties and help to protect our local water ways, such as nearby Shade’s Mills Pond.

Date/Time: Saturday October 13th, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Location: Avenue Road Baptist Church (465 Avenue Rd, Cambridge, ON N1R 5S4)
Registration: Free (space is limited so reserve your spot)
Light refreshments provided

Presenter: Becca Robinson, RAIN Coach, Reep Green Solutions

Photo of Becca, RAIN CoachBecca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions.  Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR).

She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

Workshop Funders and Partners:

 

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, City of Cambridge and Avenue Road Baptist Church

REGISTRATION

COACH Series

This is a new series of events featuring our resident experts in home energy efficiency, RAIN Smart Homes and waste reduction.

Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden

This workshop is perfect for Do-it-Yourselfers who have an early-stage plan for their healthy yard and desire additional design support to fulfill their vision for a healthy yard. We will build upon the concepts and principles learned in Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning and guide you through a more detailed design for your healthy yard project(s).

Boulevard garden and Little Library

The workshop will focus on planting design and project planning for rain gardens and naturalized landscapes, as well as topics such as:

  • planting for year round interest
  • the best plants for rain gardens
  • harvesting rain to water plants
  • materials calculations (i.e. compost, sand, mulch)

Participants will leave with a planting design for a part (or all) of their yard and a shopping list for plants and related materials required to implement the project successfully.

Come with a specific gardening project in mind, including its size and location. This could possibly be developed during the Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning workshop or through a RAIN Coach consultation. We will develop a scaled drawing of your garden during the workshop to effectively determine the number of plants and other materials you will require, so knowledge of the dimensions, sun exposure, and soil conditions (wet, dry, or moist or sand, silt or clay) will be helpful.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

This workshop is a repeats of the workshop on Saturday Macrh 24. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited

PRESENTED BY OUR RAIN COACH

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design (www.growandgatherdesign.com) and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning

This workshop will give you an introduction to designing beautiful, functional, and healthy yards that are rain smart and beneficial to nature and people alike.

taking notes on rain garden design

The workshop will focus on rain smart techniques and the best places to integrate them into your outdoor space, including:

  • rain gardens
  • naturalized landscaping
  • infiltration galleries
  • rainwater harvesting
  • permeable pavement
  • other aspects of healthy yards, such as attracting bees and butterflies

We will print out an aerial map of your property in advance. After a brief overview, you will be guided through the process of analyzing your property to determine what healthy yard features would work best for your space and lifestyle. We will sketch out your ideas to give you a sense of the size and scope of your project(s). You will leave the workshop with a basic plan for your yard and additional resources to help implement your healthy yard project. The design sketch can help to facilitate discussion with a contractor or form the basis of the plan to do it yourself. If you want help developing a more detailed plan, register for the next workshop in the series Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

This workshop is a repeats of the workshop on Saturday March 17. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited

PRESENTED BY OUR RAIN COACH

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design (www.growandgatherdesign.com) and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

COACH Series

This is a new series of events featuring our resident experts in home energy efficiency, RAIN Smart Homes and waste reduction.

Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden

This workshop is perfect for Do-it-Yourselfers who have an early-stage plan for their healthy yard and desire additional design support to fulfill their vision for a healthy yard.  We will build upon the concepts and principles learned in Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning and guide you through a more detailed design for your healthy yard project(s).

Boulevard garden and Little Library

The workshop will focus on planting design and project planning for rain gardens and naturalized landscapes, as well as topics such as:

  • planting for year round interest
  • the best plants for rain gardens
  • harvesting rain to water plants
  • materials calculations (i.e. compost, sand, mulch)

Participants will leave with a planting design for a part (or all) of their yard and a shopping list for plants and related materials required to implement the project successfully.

Come with a specific gardening project in mind, including its size and location. This could possibly be developed during the Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning workshop or through a RAIN Coach consultation.  We will develop a scaled drawing of your garden during the workshop to effectively determine the number of plants and other materials you will require, so knowledge of the dimensions, sun exposure, and soil conditions (wet, dry, or moist or sand, silt or clay) will be helpful.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 1:30 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 1:50 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Open House: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop repeats on Wednesday April 18 at 7pm. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited

PRESENTED BY OUR RAIN COACH

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design (www.growandgatherdesign.com) and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.  She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

By Sarah Lukaszczyk

On a late spring Saturday morning, I made the walk from my home in Waterloo to the Mount Hope Neighborhood; I was planning to volunteer at a rain barrel fundraiser for a local charity. As I walked I began to notice subtle changes in the landscape. From diverse, grass-free lawns blooming with wildflowers to pollinator-friendly plants, it was easy to see the different ways residents in this neighborhood  were safeguarding the environment and bettering the overall community aesthetic. Peoples’ desire to improve their yards was not limited to their lawns – standard grass boulevards were commonly replaced with an eye-catching arrangement of colourful flowers and other succulents. 

I noticed these neighbourhood improvements following my opportunity earlier that week to interview Mount Hope resident Stephen Barath, who recently installed a rain garden. In our interview, Stephen made me acutely aware of the neighborhood’s heightened conservation ethic. However, it was not until I saw the gradual transition from grass lawns to little forests during my walk that I felt like I was entering a little utopia.

As part of Reep’s RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods project, and under the watchful eye of his wife and two young daughters,  Stephen installed a rain garden on one of his rental properties. Digging holes and choosing native plants was rewarding, Stephen explained, a sense that was increasingly evident to me over the course of our interview.  As a daughter of a professional landscaper myself, it was invigorating to see the enjoyment and pride Stephen had towards his garden. It warmed my heart further to hear that his two-year-old daughter even got her hands dirty to help her Dad dig holes. That evoked memories of time spent with my own Dad as a child. Stephen’s understanding of the importance (and fun, as he reminded me repeatedly) of these projects to safeguarding our water and beautifying the community left a lasting impression, as he has already decided to build another rain garden on a different property.

Not entirely convinced it was all fun and games, I challenged Stephen to tell me something unexpected he had experienced while building the rain garden. He explained that in jest neighbours would stop and say things like ‘Did the water main break?’ while only one neighbour was able to correctly identify what Stephen was actually up to. A little girl who was walking home with her grandmother after school even exclaimed, “Look Grandma that man is still digging holes.” After describing them, Stephen went on to say that these exchanges with his neighbours were always welcome so he had a reason to take a break from digging and chat about the wider benefits of rain gardens for the community.

For his tenants the rain garden removes almost all the grass on the property. There is no longer a need to mow and Stephen imagines this could be seen as an added benefit for the renter and the landlord. Although, based on my brief time in the community, initiatives such as these are not merely done for the sake of convenience but also for their environmental benefit.

Being that Father’s Day had recently past, Stephen’s father came for a visit and while in town the two made time to see the new rain garden. Stephen admitted to me that while the garden didn’t look like much at present, his father observed that, “Like the acorns they used to plant together when Stephen was young, the garden will begin to bloom in due time.” And just as Stephen’s father continued to point out the different trees the two had planted in his youth, I imagine Stephen would likewise do the same with his own daughters in the years to come. Thanks to the help of Reep’s RAIN Coach, the family had resources that helped them to identify which native species were best suited for the area and whether they should be placed in the shade or sun.

Overall, my greatest take away from meeting Stephen and his family is that while fun, you don’t start these projects – especially the do-it-yourself ones – simply for yourself. These spaces are created to be shared, whether that be with the little girl and her grandma who live in the neighborhood, the Environmental studies student casually strolling by one Saturday morning or the busy bees and butterflies attracted by your hard work. It’s all worth it for the joy your rain garden brings to all who see it.

Visit Reep Green Solutions’ RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods web page to learn mo re information build your own rain garden and incentives available residents of Mount Hope on a first come, first served basis.

Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning

This workshop will give you an introduction to designing beautiful, functional, and healthy yards that are rain smart and beneficial to nature and people alike.

taking notes on rain garden design

The workshop will focus on rain smart techniques and the best places to integrate them into your outdoor space, including:

  • rain gardens
  • naturalized landscaping
  • infiltration galleries
  • rainwater harvesting
  • permeable pavement
  • other aspects of healthy yards, such as attracting bees and butterflies

We will print out an aerial map of your property in advance. After a brief overview, you will be guided through the process of analyzing your property to determine what healthy yard features would work best for your space and lifestyle. We will sketch out your ideas to give you a sense of the size and scope of your project(s). You will leave the workshop with a basic plan for your yard and additional resources to help implement your healthy yard project. The design sketch can help to facilitate discussion with a contractor or form the basis of the plan to do it yourself. If you want help developing a more detailed plan, register for the next workshop in the series Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 1:30 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 1:50 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Open House: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop repeats on Wednesday April 11 at 7pm. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited

PRESENTED BY OUR RAIN COACH

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design (www.growandgatherdesign.com) and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.  She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 20, 2017

Reep Green Solutions receives three awards from Green Communities Canada

Kitchener – Mary Jane Patterson, executive director of Reep Green Solutions received the environmental lifetime achievement award on Monday from Green Communities Canada as part of its Annual General Meeting. Also recognized with awards were board chair Tania Del Matto as an outstanding board person and the innovation award went to the organization’s Home Energy and Rain Coaching services.

The following is how Green Communities Canada officially announced the recipient of the environmental lifetime achievement award.

Environmental Lifetime Achievement Award: Mary Jane Patterson, Reep Green Solutions
This award is for an individual who demonstrates through work and achievements a lifetime contribution to improving the environment.

Mary Jane is an effective environmental champion committed to creating environmental impact in Waterloo Region and beyond.

Mary Jane’s leadership in residential energy evaluations and low-income retrofits has resulted in annual reductions of over 30,000 tonnes of CO2 in the Waterloo region and she was one of the key architects of Region of Waterloo’s Climate Plan.

In 1999, Mary Jane Patterson was one of two founding staff members of the organization now called Reep Green Solutions and has served as its Executive Director since 2001. Mary Jane has led the organization in its delivery of over 15,000 residential energy evaluations and over 5,000 low-income retrofits in Waterloo Region. The result is documented annual reductions of over 30,000 tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. She was one of the key architects behind the sponsoring partnership and development of A Climate Action Plan for Waterloo Region. She has played a leading national role as Chair of the Board of Green Communities Canada.

According to Associate Director Dave Blake, Mary Jane is a model for sustainable living, “Her home is a model of what is possible for homeowners in Waterloo Region. Her rain barrel installation and her recent installation of an air source heat pump water heater are two examples of how she lives her life. She lives without owning her own car and regularly rides her bike around town, to the office and to meetings with our partner organizations. Even when we go out for a team lunch, she brings her own reusable containers in order to minimize the impact of leftovers.”

Paul Parker, co-founder of Reep Green Solutions, said, “Mary Jane is dedicated to enabling our local community and communities across the country to improve environmental performance.”

Reep Green Solutions is an environmental charity that helps people to live sustainably. Programs and services focus on residential energy efficiency, managing storm water, water conservation and waste reduction. It co-leads ClimateActionWR with Sustainable Waterloo Region. The Reep House for Sustainable Living is a model home with a variety of environmentally friendly features and often hosts workshops and presentations.

The following is how Green Communities Canada announced the other two awards

Innovation Award – Home Energy & RAIN Coaching Services
This award is for an organization that demonstrates innovation in programming, partnerships, marketing and events.

Reep Green Solution created the Home Energy Coach concept to help homeowners reduce their environmental impact and adopt sustainable practices. The coaches provide guidance, advice and support people interested in adopting more sustainable living practices. The Energy Coach works with homeowners on energy efficiency improvements. The RAIN Coach works with homeowners to find ways to beautify their landscape while managing rain on their properties.

Coaching services exemplify Reep Green Solutions core values of innovation and impact by finding ways to help people live sustainably by addressing barriers and enabling action.

Outstanding Board Person: Tania Del Matto
This award is for a board member who has demonstrated through his/her work and achievements the strongest commitment to a Green Community providing exceptional stewardship to the organization.

Tania has been a member of Reep Green Solutions’ Board of Directors for three years, and Chair of the Board for the past year. Her commitment to the health and good management of the organization and the sustainability of her community are evident in everything she does.

Tania brings a fresh perspective from her day job as the Director of St. Paul’s GreenHouse, a unique live-in campus-linked accelerator for social innovation and entrepreneurship. She helps Reep Green Solutions make connections with people and organizations that enhance its work and broaden its reach.

– 30 –

Alexis and the RAIN Smart House: Chapter 4

This post is the fourth in a series about how Alexis is working towards a RAIN Smart Home.

by Daniel Jordan, RAIN Program Volunteer

As the winner of the RAIN Smart Front Yard Makeover contest Alexis Motuz receives $10,000 to spend on a Front Yard Makeover that will both enhance her property and reduce the amount of stormwater running off her property and directly into the storm sewer.

The prize included a consultation by our RAIN Coach to assess her home and provide some ideas of how best to manage water on her property. The Coach then turned those ideas into an appealing design for Alexis’ outdoor space.

Rebecca Robinson – RAIN Coach

Alexis and her family already use their yard heavily and she had some great ideas for how it could be improved. Having two young kids, she wanted to maintain some open space for play. She also wanted to have raised beds for growing vegetables.

Alexis and I sat down and in a very short time, we were able to take these priorities and build them into something that will increase the environmental sustainability of the space and enhance its functionality for her and her family.

Alexis

landscape design featuresWorking with a designer was a lot of fun. I had already sketched out some ideas, but the designer was able to take those ideas and really make the most of the space that I have. I wanted to keep an open space for my kids to play, but I also wanted to keep the vegetable garden and direct water into it.

Rebecca helped me come up with a design for the yard that maximizes play space while allowing me to keep my vegetable garden and reduce the amount of time I spend watering.

I really look forward to seeing how my family uses the space differently when it is finished, and I am excited that the design is both environmentally sustainable and has elements that can leverage the skills of artists and businesses in the neighbourhood.

In the end, Rebecca and I decided on a kid-friendly strawberry patch and allium garden at the front of the yard—something Dr. Seuss-ish. This will be planted overtop of storm water crates (B) that will redirect a significant amount of water from the roof that is currently running onto the driveway and street into the storm sewer.

In the back of the yard, we decided to use a cistern to collect water from the roof (D). We will then hook it up to weeping hoses and use this for irrigating the vegetable garden boxes. Although it may seem like a small gain to some, I am so excited not to have to water every evening and to move away from using municipal water.

We also decided to move the apple tree into the side yard because it is not flourishing out front, and we are going to install a second large rain barrel on the other side of the house (C) so that I can collect water to use for the front garden and raspberry boxes.

There were some design challenges that required me to keep an open mind. When the design first suggested moving the garden boxes in front of the deck so that we could do the passive irrigation (4), I thought this would look strange. I took some time to think about it more, though, and as I walked my yard, the idea grew on me. It is a something I would never have thought of myself, but I’m excited to see how it turns out.

Before meeting with Rebecca, I had thought about redoing the driveway in permeable pavers. While these are very effective at soaking up rainwater and they look fantastic, they are pricey and I wouldn’t have been able to develop my yard into the garden/play space that will be of much more benefit in the long term.

Finally, I had originally thought a rain garden might work on my property but between keeping an open play space, moving the apple tree, and the proximity to my foundations, it seemed the stormwater crates would be a better solution. So there was a lot to learn through this process and I had to keep an open mind. It’s been a wonderfully collaborative process with lots of back and forth, and I am happy to be adopting new design ideas and rain management systems in my yard.

RAIN Smart design solutions used

Here’s a closer look at some of the features included in this RAIN Smart Home.

design diagram of RAIN smart featuresA – Replace rain barrel

B – Infiltration gallery/basin

Alexis is also going to use an underground infiltration gallery to allow more water to soak down into the soil. Traditionally, infiltration galleries are made by digging a hole and filling it with rock or sand. Or as used at Alexis’ home, specially designed crates are placed into a hole and covered. It is recommended that infiltration galleries be professionally installed.

C – Added rain barrel

D – Cistern

Alexis has decided to use a cistern to capture the rain from her roof and use it as a resource for her vegetable garden. A cistern is essentially a larger version of a rain barrel. It is usually made of a heavy-duty plastic or concrete. Cisterns are sometimes buried underground, but in Alexis case, the cistern is kept above ground and raised slightly, which allows her to use gravity to passively water the plants in her garden. Cisterns can vary widely in size from between approximately 350-5200 litres of water.

Native plants

Although Alexis had hoped to plant a rain garden, she ultimately went with the infiltration gallery to maximize usable play space for her kids.  As an alternative, she intends to use native plants above the infiltration gallery and in the garden beds surrounding her yard. Native plants are being used because they are well suited to the local soil and sunlight conditions.

To learn about other RAIN Smart techniques, you are invited to visit the Reep  House for Sustainable Living at 20 Mill Street, Kitchener to see these techniques in action. We also invite you to sign up for our newsletter and learn more at one of our upcoming events.


Upcoming Events

  1. First Steps to Improving your Home

    March 23 | 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  2. Trees In The City: Growing Forests In The Concrete Jungle

    April 6 | 2:30 pm - 3:15 pm
  3. Healthy Yards: Idea Spark 101 | RAIN Coach

    May 1 | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  4. Healthy Yards: Planning 201 | RAIN Coach

    May 8 | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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