Best practices to mitigate stormwater runoff

 Here is an example of a rain garden that Thomas Angell, of Verdant Enterprises, designed for the Cole Residence.Here is an example of a rain garden that Thomas Angell, of Verdant Enterprises, designed for the Cole Residence.

In David Lauderdale’s interview with Al Segars in last Sunday’s paper, Al said that we need to “go above and beyond. See that your homeowners’ association maintains it stormwater retention ponds so they function as promised.” You can read Lauderdale's article here.

Beaufort County has a stormwater runoff management ordinance for new single family houses in unincorporated areas of the county that are not in an approved community stormwater runoff system and single family houses that are renovated in excess of 50% of the appraised value of the building. The ordinance requires the mitigation of the stormwater within the property limits.

For the rest of us, we should all go above and beyond by reducing the amount of stormwater on our properties that needs to be mitigated. The easiest way to reduce runoff is by reducing the amount of impervious surfaces on the property. This includes: using gravel or pervious pavers for your drive; and limiting the amount of patios and terraces or paving them with pervious pavers. Lowcountry Pavers has some good options for pervious pavers here.

Collecting Rainwater

The best management practice is to collect and store the rainwater for reuse or slow infiltration. There are two options for collecting rainwater; either a rain barrel or a cistern. Both are connected to your gutters and downspouts. A rainbarrel is used to collect water for use in your garden. Be sure that the rainbarrel has a cover so that it is not a mosquito nursery. A cistern is larger and is the storage tank portion in a complete rainwater harvesting system that filters and stores water for any normal household use. If the water is to be used for potable needs it must go through additional filtration and water purification.

Rain Garden

Another option is a rain garden which is a shallow bowl shaped depression of loose absorbent soils that is planted with deep-rooted native perennials and grasses. The runoff slowly soaks into the ground and reduces the amount of runoff entering our marshes and rivers. The design of the rain garden should be incorporated with the entire garden design. According to Garden Design Magazine rain gardens can help reduce stormwater waste by up to 99 percent.

Mitigation Calculations

The county has a very easy to use on-line worksheet that calculates how much runoff needs to be mitigated.  To determine the total excess runoff to be mitigated you will need to know the following information before you begin: the square footage of your roof; the square footage of other impervious areas; the square footage of your lot; your soil type, sandy or clayey; and the area of your lot that is irrigated. You next enter the number and size of storage and reuse systems want to use. The worksheet then computes the natural infiltration capacity of the lot to control runoff. If the first two practices do not control all of the rainwater, the worksheet determines the size of a raingarden to capture all of the runoff.

Summer in the Lowcountry

Summer is probably my favorite season in the Lowcountry (good thing, since its our longest season). Sure, it's hot, muggy and buggy, but with water all around us, it is easy to find relief from the heat.

Hunting Island State Park reopened earlier this month after significant damages from Hurricane Matthew. Hooray!!! Thanks to everyone involved in cleanup and restoration!!

  Hunting Island sunrise over the ocean. Simply gorgeous!  Hunting Island sunrise over the ocean. Simply gorgeous!  Hunting Island may look different than before the hurricane, but that is the nature of a barrier island. It is still a magical and awesome place to visit. Hunting Island may look different than before the hurricane, but that is the nature of a barrier island. It is still a magical and awesome place to visit.

You can find most of our staff on the beach or on the river most every weekend during summer. Our waterways and barrier islands are surely one of the best things about living in Beaufort.

 Michael takes advantage of a high tide to launch his kayak from the backyard for a quick paddle with his granddaughter. Michael takes advantage of a high tide to launch his kayak from the backyard for a quick paddle with his granddaughter.

Beaufort has a temperate climate (we are in Zone 9 of the USDA map) which means lots tropical plants thrive here. I walked around the garden surrounding our office today, and wow!

 Hibiscus coccineus, native swamp hibiscus Hibiscus coccineus, native swamp hibiscus  Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' aka variegated ginger Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' aka variegated ginger  Strelitzia, aka Bird of Paradise Strelitzia, aka Bird of Paradise

It's so easy for Beaufortonians to love where we live!

Frederick + Frederick Architects Awarded American Institute of Architect South Carolina 2017 Firm Award

The AIA South Carolina Board of Directors awarded Frederick + Frederick Architects with the 2017 Firm Award at their annual awards banquet on April 21, 2017. The Firm Award is the highest honor that the American Institute of Architects South Carolina Chapter can bestow upon a South Carolina architectural firm. The award is given in recognition of design excellence and contribution to the profession of architecture that has made a lasting influence on the practice of architecture in South Carolina.

Kate Schwennsen, Director + Professor, Clemson School of Architecture, wrote in her nomination letter, “Frederick + Frederick is unquestionably a Small Firm with Big Impact, and a firm that many other firms look to for exemplary practice. The design excellence of their body of work has been widely recognized … But perhaps what is most uniquely important about Frederick + Frederick, the raison d’etre of their success, and the thing from which other firms could learn the most, is their innovative and supportive firm culture. They are a family-owned business that sincerely treats their employees like family. Jane and Michael moved to Beaufort to enjoy the lifestyle there … [and] so they do.”

Principal Jane Frederick said that they are humbled and thrilled to be recognized by their peers. “We would not be where we are today without all the fantastic clients who have made our work possible.” The Firm Award was first conferred in 1993 and Frederick + Frederick Architects is the tenth firm to receive the recognition in the awards 24-year history. Frederick + Frederick is honored and delighted to be the 2017 AIA South Carolina Firm Award Recipient.

Frederick + Frederick Architects specialize in custom homes for hot, humid climates. The Beaufort, South Carolina, firm was established in 1989 by the husband and wife team of Jane and Michael Frederick.

2017 Architect's Tour

The Historic Beaufort Foundation's annual "Architect's Tour" is this Saturday, March 18. We selected this Dataw Island house to be on tour this year. 

See more photos here and join us this weekend to see this special and unique house in person. Visit the Historic Beaufort Foundation for tickets and more information.

Revitalization of Southern towns

Big ideas can transform a city with the right public-private partnership and the commitment of the community and elected officials. Chattanooga’s River City Company transformed a post-industrial downtown full of empty warehouses and factories into a vibrant, pedestrian friendly, destination downtown. It started in 1986 with a 20 year riverfront and downtown redevelopment plan; the first project was a 13-mile linear park that stretches along the Tennessee River. Now 30 years later the vision is realized in successful projects including the Tennessee Aquarium, Nightfall Concert Series, multi-family housing, Creative Discovery Museum, AT&T Field, Bijou Theater, Coolidge Park, new public schools, waterfront redevelopment, and Renaissance Park. The most recent project is the Tomorrow Building, an adaptive reuse of the former Ross Hotel into 39 micro-unit apartments.

One of the most ambitious and exciting projects currently underway is the Atlanta Beltline Project. The first railroad to Atlanta was built in 1845 from Augusta, soon Atlanta became the railway hub of the southeast. As industry grew and warehouses were erected outside of the city center, spur rail lines were built in a circle or belt connecting the many rail lines. Twenty-two miles of railroad were constructed around Atlanta between 1871 and 1908. In the 1970’s the industries along the belt lines closed and the railroad deteriorated. 

In 1999, Ryan Gravel, a Georgia Tech student, envisioned the Atlanta Beltline for his joint master’s thesis in Architecture and City Planning. By 2005, Gravel’s grassroots efforts had grown and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin created the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. Led by the PATH Foundation, the first segment of the West End trail opened in 2008. The PATH Foundation is also heavily involved in The Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort.

The Atlanta BeltLine project has become a comprehensive transportation and economic development project for the city. It will ultimately connect 45 in-town neighborhoods, create new in-town housing, both affordable and market rate, parks, public spaces, and a light rail line. Currently 4 trail segments and 6 new parks are open. The work will continue in phases with completion planned for 2030. The Atlanta BeltLine is building community by connecting neighborhoods that were previously segregated and isolated from each other.
Another southern city, Greenville, South Carolina began their revitalization in the mid-1980s when the Carolina Foothills Garden Club initiated the idea of removing the Camperdown Bridge that crossed the Reedy River directly over the falls. In 2002, the bridge finally came down and the 20 acre Falls Park was constructed. The park was the catalyst that has changed Greenville’s downtown from abandoned storefronts to a thriving central business district.
In planning our future – let’s think big!


Friday Fun!

Every Friday afternoon, we spend a hour or so on a fun activity or project around the office or community. Sometimes we provide community service, sometimes we sketch around town, or tour a museum....sometimes we play Pokemon Go! ;)

Angie`s Birthday!

Last Friday was Angie's birthday. We celebrated with a Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake, party hats and party horns! It was a gorgeous day to sit outside and enjoy the view.

Spanish Moss Trail Cleanup

The Spanish Moss Trail is a great asset to our community. All of us in the office use it frequently for running, biking and walking. There are a number of people that use the path to commute to work by bike. After Hurricane Matthew, the trail was littered with downed trees, marsh grass, sand, and trash. Many areas were not safe to bike on or impassable. We spent a couple hours with rakes, shovels and brooms and cleared a section of the trail. 

Thanks to Kim Gundler and David Gorzynski for leading the effort, and to Carl, who was biking by and stopped to help!

Factory Creek Fishing Pier 

A few weeks ago, we walked down to the Factory Creek Fishing Pier and picked up all the trash in the Open Land Trust Park. We really know how to have fun!

Benjie is pleased with the result! A clean park for us all to enjoy!

Stay tuned to see what fun activity we come up with next! We are always open to suggestions too.

Park Design

10 Parks That Changed America, A new documentary will air on PBS starting April 12th. The parks were chosen by a panel of experts and according to Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) “The parks were all created to solve complex environmental, social, or economic problems.” Somerville commented on the Squares of Savannah, “Savannah’s squares were created with the belief that everyone should have access to a park. Today, we see the same ideas underlying the environmental justice movement and the quest for clean air and clean water for everyone.”

The City of Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is at the top of the list of parks that have changed Beaufort County. The seven acre park became a focal point for downtown Beaufort when it replaced dilapidated docks in 1979. Beaufort County has conserved over 12,000 acres of land and is in the process of determining what kind of parks we want with the help of The Beaufort County Open Land Trust. As the county moves forward in planning the future parks that can change Beaufort County, we should consider The Trust for Public Land seven measures of an excellent park system.

1.        A clear expression of purpose – The citizenry must clearly set forth in writing the purpose of the park system and a mandate for the park department.

2.       Ongoing planning and community involvement – The park system needs a master plan that include an inventory of natural, recreational, historical and cultural resources, a needs analysis, analysis of connectivity and gaps, an implementation strategy, a budget and an annual evaluation of the plan.

3.       Sufficient assets in land, staffing, and equipment to meet the system’s goals – Excellent park departments not only receive adequate funding, but also spend their money wisely and commit themselves to effective stewardship.

4.       Equitable access – The excellent park system is accessible to everyone regardless of residence, physical abilities, or financial resources. Parks should be easily reachable form every neighborhood, usable by the handicapped and challenged, and available to low-income residents.

5.       User satisfaction –Having high use is the ultimate validation that it is attractive and that it meets people’s needs.

6.       Safety from physical hazards and crime – To be successful, a park system should be safe, free both of crime and of unreasonable physical hazards, from sidewalk potholes to rotten branches overhead.

7.       Benefits for the city beyond the boundaries of the parks – The park system is a form of natural infrastructure that provides many good including; cleaner air, cleaner water, reduced health costs from sedentary syndromes, increased tourism and increased business vitality.

For more information on parks visit the American Society of Landscape Architects and The Trust for Public Land