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.

The RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods Project is nearing the end and we wanted to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the Mt. Hope community. We are hosting a garden tour to showcase the various projects that have been put in the ground over the past two seasons.

Join us to celebrate this momentous occasion by showcasing the success of neighbourhood projects, meeting at the Guelph Street Community Garden around 5pm and looping back around to end at the community garden.

Take a tour with one of our RAIN staff and get to know many of the beautiful garden and stormwater projects throughout the neighborhood. Stop and chat with the homeowners and get some inspiration for your own garden projects.

This event is a great opportunity to showcase the amazing work in the community and celebrate the hard work and dedication each resident has put into their property to make the RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods Project a success.

Date: | Wednesday, August 15

Time | 5pm – 6:30pm

Location | Guelph Street Community Garden (250 Guelph St, Kitchener, ON)

 

The RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods Project is nearing the end and we wanted to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the Lakeside community. We are hosting a garden tour, in collaboration with a placemaking celebration in Lakeside park, to showcase the various projects that have been put in the ground over the past two seasons.

Join us to celebrate the implementation of the park’s new recycling bins and for a tour showcasing the success of neighbourhood projects, beginning at 11am, looping back around to end off at the park.

Take a tour with one of our RAIN staff and get to know many of the beautiful garden and stormwater projects throughout the neighborhood. Stop and chat with the homeowners and get some inspiration for your own garden projects.

This event is a great opportunity to showcase the amazing work in the community and celebrate the hard work and dedication each resident has put into their property to make the RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods Project a success.

Date: | Saturday, July 28

Time | 10am – 12pm

Location | Lakeside Park (Entrance at Lakeside Dr/Gatewood Rd.)

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.

Challenge:
When it rains, stormwater drains rapidly off the Hacienda parking lot eroding the soil at the edges and carries with it oil, and other pollutants to the storm sewer downhill. Hacienda’s owners needed the solution to be both functional and beautiful so as to match with the charm and elegance of the property.
Description:
HaciendaSarria-feature-imageThe intricate Spanish-inspired architecture at Hacienda Sarria make it highly sought after for wedding receptions and corporate events. It’s roots harken back to its days as a sugar beet factory in the early 1900s. On the grounds of the former factory a community garden has been cultivated by volunteers to teach sustainable food production and provide local produce to restaurants and organic grocers.
Solution:                                                               A_buttonPretreatment trench: runoff from the parking lot flows into a long trench filled with stone around its perimeter. The stones help to trap any solids or grit. A perforated pipe running through the trench conveys filtered water to the rain garden.
B_button Riverstone: placed at the inlet to the rain garden spreads the flow and dissipates the energy of the water and prevents erosion.
Rain Garden (10,000L) captures water in a planting mix of topsoil, compost and sand for up to 48 hours. The sandy soil native to Hacienda Sarria helps the water to infiltrate quickly. Micro-organisms in the soil treat pollutants such as oil and gasoline before water percolates into the ground. As the plants grow they will enhance the appeal of the grounds and their deeper roots will increase the efficiency of the rain garden.
10,000 Litre capacity
Project Details:
Location: 1254 Union Street, Kitchener
Maximum Capacity: 10,000L
Estimated Diversion Per Year: 316,000L
Additional stormwater controls at Hacienda Sarria include a 5000L cistern that collects rooftop water to irrigate their garden beds, 2 green roofs, work with a Smart About Salt trained snow removal contractor.

diagram of Hacienda Sarria: Pretreatment trench, Riverstone & Rain Garden

Pretreatment trench and riverstone that treat water before it enters the rain garden.
Pretreatment trench and riverstone that treat water before it enters the rain garden

RAIN Partners & Funders

City of Cambridge logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 28, 2016

Planting rain gardens is the final stage of projects at Hacienda Sarria and Johnsonite Inc.

Waterloo Region – In early May, two RAIN program demonstration projects will be completed when rain gardens are planted at Johnsonite (Canada) in Waterloo and Hacienda Sarria in Kitchener. Both projects showcase methods to clean water and manage it using rain gardens. On Tuesday, May 3 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, the bioswale and rain garden at Johnsonite (Canada) Inc., 560 Weber St N, Waterloo, will be planted. Then on Wednesday, May 4 from 2 to 3 p.m., there will be a rain garden planting at Hacienda Sarria, 1254 Union St, Kitchener.

Johnsonite’s Maintenance Manager, Joe Adam, once considered a career in forestry so he saw the potential outside their Waterloo factory of the open field next to their parking lot. So when he heard about the grants available for creating a RAIN demonstration project, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I wanted to see this field turned from a standard lawn into a tall-grass prairie, a self-sustaining ecosystem,” he says.

The project involved installing a bioswale and rain garden to capture and clean runoff from the parking lot. Water is stored so it can slowly percolate back into the ground. A bed of stones placed in front of the bioswale helps to slow the rush of water and remove any large debris and pollutants. With the addidion of native perennials, Joe’s vision is moving closer to reality.

See Johnsonite Case Study

At Hacienda Sarria, Patrick Doyle, the head groundskeeper, was interested in a project that would address soil erosion around their parking lot. When it rained, stormwater ran rapidly off the parking lot, eroding the soil at the edges, carrying with it oil and other pollutants, to the storm sewer downhill. Doyle insisted that any solution be both functional and beautiful to match the charm and elegance of the property.

If you’re worried about how you’re going to go about selling or buying a home, a REALTOR agent can help you. You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Here are some Benefits of realtors.

At the outflow point for their parking lot, a “treatment train” system was designed and installed to remove pollutants and soak up water from a large storm. It does this by mimicking natural processes so water quality improves as it flows through each stage of the “train.” A pretreatment trench helps trap any large debris in the first stage. In the next stage, riverstone placed on the inlet to the rain garden helps spread the flow of run-off to prevent erosion into a rain garden, which allows the water to slowly infiltrate into the ground.

Background

REEP Green Solutions partnered with the City of Kitchener and City of Waterloo to create RAIN program demonstration sites, which promote practices that homeowners and businesses can use to reduce impacts from stormwater on our urban infrastructure and environment. Property owners who install rain gardens are eligible for monthly stormwater credits on their utility bill in Kitchener and Waterloo.

Chosen projects received up to $4,000 per project to offset design and construction costs, as well as mount an interpretive sign. Rain gardens are an important component of green infrastructure, which is recognized by all levels of government as a priority to help cities adapt to climate change.

REEP Green Solutions

REEP Green Solutions is an environmental charity and social enterprise focusing on energy and water sustainability. Created in 1999 by the University of Waterloo and the Elora Environment Centre, REEP exists to empower the community with the practical tools, knowledge and capacity for action to make sustainability the norm.  RAIN: An Ecological Approach to Stormwater Management is a Green Communities Canada program, delivered locally by REEP Green Solutions in partnership with the Cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. The program helps property owners soak up stormwater on their property, qualify for stormwater credits, and protect the Grand River.

Johnsonite (Canada) Inc.

Johnsonite Canada Inc. is a commercial flooring company with facilities across North America. Their parent company Tarkett aspires to make all of their products using circular design principles. All stages of their products’ life cycles are examined for opportunities to reduce environmental impacts and create ‘circles’ where waste is eliminated or re-integrated into new products. As part of this philosophy their Waterloo factory has put in place processes to improve their energy and water efficiency on an ongoing basis.

Hacienda Sarria Inc.

The intricate Spanish-inspired architecture at Hacienda Sarria make it highly sought after for wedding receptions and corporate events. Hacienda Sarria’s roots harken back to its days as a sugar beet factory in the early 1900s. On the grounds of the former factory a community garden has been cultivated by volunteers to teach sustainable food production and provide local produce to restaurants and organic grocers. Hacienda Sarria collects water from its roof in a 5000L cistern for irrigation of its extensive gardens.

-30-

 

2015 Stormwater Management Improvement Award Winner

Here’s the story of one of the 2015 Celebrating Community Action award recipients. Learn about all nine recipients.

Challenge:
Given their commitment to continuous improvement, Maintenance Manager Joe Adam turned his eye to the property outside. When he walks out of their Waterloo factory into the open field next to their parking lot he sees more than just grass. “I’d love to see this field turned into a tall-grass prairie, a self-sustaining ecosystem.” So when he heard about the grants available for creating a RAIN Demonstration Project he jumped at the opportunity. The project evolved out of a desire to capture and clean runoff from the Johnsonite parking lot.
Description:
Johnsonite Canada Inc. is a commercial flooring company with facilities across North America. Their parent company Tarkett aspires to make all of their products using circular design principles. All stages of their products’ life cycles are examined for opportunities to reduce environmental impacts and create ‘circles’ where waste is eliminated or re-integrated into new products. As part of this philosophy their Waterloo factory has put in place processes to improve their energy and water efficiency on an ongoing basis.
Solution:
At the outflow point for their parking lot a ‘treatment train’ system was designed to remove pollutants and soak up water from a large storm (25mm). The treatment train involves mimicking natural processes so that water quality improves as it flows through each stage of the ‘train’.
A_buttonForebay (5,000 L): consisting of a biologically active mixture of compost, sand and topsoil with medium to large stones on the surface to armour against erosion. The system helps to trap debris and filter out oil and grit before the water passes through to the bioswale.
B_button Bioswale (17,000L): a long, dug out trench filled with a similar biologically-active mixture is chosen for its capacity to absorb and retain water. The plants in the bioswale have root systems that maintain the infiltration of stormwater while supporting a diversity of micro-organisms which help to further clean the water before it percolates into the ground. Any water not infiltrated by the bioswale overflows into a rain garden.
Rain Garden (8,000L) captures excess water and allows it to infiltrate and recharge groundwater. In the event of a storm larger than 25mm, water progresses into a swale. A swale meanders around the edge of the property and permits infiltration, evaporation and transpiration of the rainwater by vegetation. Any excess water flows into the storm sewer system where it is channeled towards the Grand River.

30,000 Litre capacity

Project Details:
Location: 560 Weber Street North, Waterloo
Maximum Capacity: 30,000L
Estimated Diversion Per Year: 2,617,000L
Stormwater Credit: 23%
Awards and Certifications:

  • ISO 9001
  • ISO 140001
  • OHSAS 18001
  • 2015 RAIN Improvement Award

Diagram of the Johnsonite Demo Project

RAIN Partners & Funders

City of Cambridge logo
Challenge: Lori had been having problems with water making its way into her basement. After speaking with her landscaper it became apparent that the culprit was the downspout, opposite the driveway, that let out at the corner of her house next to her foundation. She also wanted to update the look of her front yard, so she decided it was time to replace the shrubs with a garden that would better complement her home and attract butterflies and pollinators.
Lori's shrubs before the rain garden.

Solution: After removing the boxwood shrubs at the front of her yard, that area was excavated down into a bowl. The bowl is filled with a porous mixture of sand, compost and soil and mulch. This mixture helps to soak up water that fills up the bowl and allows it to slowly percolate into the ground. Lori has extended her downspout 8 feet away from the foundation so that water from her rooftop is directed down a slope and into the rain garden. For this, Lori received the maximum 45% stormwater credit from the City Kitchener. She receives lots of compliments from her neighbours on the new look, and is already planning similar projects in her backyard.

Construction and enjoyment

Storm-Proof Your Home

Storm clouds overhead

Workshop Summary

Date/Time: Saturday November 7, 2pm to 3pm
Location: Idea Exchange, Queen’s Square, 1 North Square, Cambridge
Cost: Free.
Parking: Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the venue between George St. and Grand Avenue with main entrance off of the parking lot.
Registration: Please call 519-621-0460 to register in advance.

Intense rainfalls, heavy winds, ice storms, snap winter thaws… These unpredictable events put our homes at risk of damp, flooded basements, backyard ponding, tree damage and winter slips & falls. Small improvements to your home can provide peace of mind that your home can weather any storm!

Learn about storm-proofing home improvements such as rain gardens, permeable pavement, and backwater valves as well as best practices for maintaining sump pumps, rain barrels and trees. This workshop will help you to understand the work you can do yourself and what is best left to the pros.

Funder and partner acknowledgement

REEP, RAIN, Green Communities Canada, Idea Exchange in partnership with the Cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge

City of Cambridge logo

Idea Exchange logo

Storm-Proof Your Home

Storm clouds overhead

Date/Time: Saturday Oct 24, 1 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: REEP House for Sustainable Living, 20 Mill Street, Kitchener
Cost: Free.
Parking: Schneider Haus Green – accessible by entering the Joseph Schneider Haus Parking Lot at Mill & Queen and driving on to the grass.
Registration Required (space is limited)

Workshop Summary

Intense rainfalls, heavy winds, ice storms, snap winter thaws… These unpredictable events put our homes at risk for damp, flooded basements, backyard ponding, tree damage and winter slips & falls. Small improvements to your home can provide the peace of mind that your home can weather any storm!

Join us for an interactive tour of REEP House for Sustainable Living where you will learn the simple steps to protect your home from water and wind damage. Certified RAIN Home Visit Guide Brendan Schaefer will demonstrate preventive storm-proofing through the use of rain gardens and permeable pavement as well as best practices for maintaining sump pumps, rain barrels, trees and backwater valves. This tour will help you to understand the work you can do yourself and what is best left to the pros. Find out which storm-proofing improvements can qualify for stormwater utility credits in Kitchener and Waterloo.

Workshop includes
  • Introduction to RAIN program
  • Introduction to stormwater utility credits at City of Kitchener and Waterloo
  • Interactive tour of storm-proof features of REEP House
  • ‘Storm-Proof Home Checklist’ to take home
  • Local service providers list
Presenters

Cheryl Evans, RAIN Program Manager, REEP Green Solutions
Brendan Schaefer, Certified RAIN Guide, REEP Green Solutions

Funder and partner acknowledgement
City of Cambridge logo

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
Twitter

© Copyright REEP Green Solutions. All rights reserved.