My Creed: New Peace in Paradiseby Kevin Soergel
I believe in well designed, smart landscaping: GREEN landscaping. Sustainable landscaping.
I believe in landscaping with nature: Wildflowers and native plants, natural gardens, replacing mulch with ground covers and flowers, yes, flowers. I believe in reducing maintenance by using the right plants for the job. I believe in water conservation: Rain water harvesting. Storm water management. Smart irrigation. Smart lighting. Smart pumps. Smart, efficient installation and low maintenance landscape designs.
I believe in designs that are beautiful, pleasing, in harmony with nature, water wise and energy smart.
I believe in designing and building places to enjoy family, friends, love and serenity.
I believe in Sustainable Landscaping, gardens that take care of themselves.
Plants that do not need watering to look good or to survive. Lawn alternatives. Shrubs that thrive without irrigation. Designs that look natural without constant pruning. Flowers that survive and thrive and spread without watering and weeding. Flowers that actually choke out the weeds. Ground covers and flowers that replace costly mulch, provide erosion control, insulate other plants, can substitute for lawn, and look better than mulch. I like to over-plant flower gardens and let the strong survive. I like a sequence of flowers for 3 seasons, complimentary to the other plantings. The secret to great landscapes and florascapes is great soil, and I have a secret recipe.
I may use "unconventional" plants; I am a very creative and forward landscaper. I pick the best plants for the job. I laugh when I see what the grass cutters plant in their "landscapes". I consider aesthetics (bloom, color, texture, and form), size and spacing, trimming and watering, horticultural requirements, and deer resistance before picking a plant. I hate to see white pines planted 5' off of the corner of the house, burning bush in front of the windows, and dwarf blue spruce used as a privacy screen. I pick the right plants for the job.
I believe in Water Conservation and landscape accordingly.
I tell my kids not to waste water brushing their teeth just like everyone else. I go beyond. I design landscapes that use less water. I go even farther. I collect rainwater, store it, filter it, and use it for irrigation or to sustain water features and landscapes. I call it Rainwater Harvesting. I didn't invent it, but I do it. What is it and how does it work?
Furthermore, current storm water management practices can benefit from the drip irrigation grid system. Traditional storm water management involves retention ponds at the low point of every new building or development. Forward thinking engineers, landscape architects, and developers are looking for better ways. Many alternatives are being explored. Some of the methods are storing storm water under parking or green space, bio-swales, rain gardens, permeable paving surfaces, and green roofs, among others. I applaud these methods, and have used many of them. I add to these methods a new idea, furthering the green movement and stewardship of the land.
In conjunction with other best practices of storm water management, the drip irrigation grid system can aid groundwater infiltration, freeing up valuable real estate to be developed at a profit. For instance, a project may involve storing storm water under a parking area that is also permeable, using that water for irrigation, dispersal and infiltration, and using the green space for overflow parking. This rainwater harvesting, storm water management, and space efficiency is not only environmentally responsible, it is profitable as well. Space can be developed more efficiently. This is a win win. Good for the environment and developers at the same time.
The Rainwater Harvesting idea is not new. It is thousands of years old. It is time to get back to what works. Water is a precious commodity. Our ecosystem is being abused. We have developed land and lost much of natures filtering and flood protection that God built into the environment. Water runs fast through neighborhoods, down streets, yards and pipes to the stream, to the river, to the sea. Floods are getting worse, and hitting closer to home. We have cut down our protection. But, we can slow the flooding and use the water smartly. By capturing rainwater that would otherwise run off or overflow the storm sewers, we can help our environment, reduce our water consumption and our water bills. The rainwater can help alleviate drought stress and be used for irrigation purposes. Many areas have been hit hard by drought, water restrictions and stiff penalties.
The Rainwater Harvesting System collects water that would be lost, stores it discretely, filters and circulates it through natural waterfalls and aquatic plants, and allows it to be used for irrigation. Storm overflow goes into aquifer recharge and rain gardens, instead of storm sewer systems. We can be self sufficient, reduce water bills and add biodiversity and beauty to our yards, neighborhoods, and regions. A beautiful water feature that is not only self supporting but can save you money, government intrusion and even help to save the earth is a Win, Win!
Using smart controllers and sensors that adjust and conserve is a step in the right direction. I believe strongly in switching from pop up spray irrigation to drip irrigation. Low pressure and drip irrigation is much friendlier to the environment and our water supplies. Pop up irrigation is very wasteful. Drive through any neighborhood and you will see sprinklers running for hours, in the rain, spraying the sidewalks and the street, and running into the street drain. Step into the lush green irrigated grass and you may lose a shoe in the mud. Even well maintained pop up irrigation systems, running at their best, use more water by high pressure atomizing, and needing to spread more water to hit all the surface area.
Proper landscape design and intelligent irrigation design should go hand in hand. Using plants that thrive in the region without irrigation, or with minimal irrigation and still look good is an art and a science. It takes real skill. So does good irrigation. It may not be conventional, but drip is smart. The government, in many areas, and in more areas every year, is restricting irrigation usage. It is coming. Low pressure and drip irrigation uses less water than conventional pop up spray irrigation.
Irrigation is the number 1 use of public water, using more than the bathroom. Public water supply is strained in many areas due to increased development, increased population, and irrigation. Collecting rainwater for irrigation purposes, as well as storm water relief, is just smart. We should have thought of it before. We will use less water, lower our water bills, relieve public water demand and storm water overload, and be able to irrigate without restriction. We must use the water wisely. It would be a waste of effort to collect rainwater, store and filter it, and then waste it over-watering with conventional pop up irrigation. A smarter way to irrigate is lower pressure, low volume, or "drip" irrigation.
Drip irrigation is not new, and up until now, not without problems. Low pressure drip systems are subject to clogging and uneven watering rates due to gravity. Also, drip emitters must be placed at the base of each plant and sized according to the plants needs. This can be complicated and hard to get right. It can also be unsightly with the maze of small tubing and connectors. These tubes are frequently damaged in the garden, rendering the system obsolete; all the water will leak out of the damaged tube and not reach the other plants. Drip emitters can't be used on lawn and ground cover areas. Drip emitters are best suited to individual plants or containers, usually one or more per plant depending on size. Pressurized drip irrigation systems work much better. Clogs are eliminated, and low and high elevations are compensated. By pressurizing drip systems the water is evenly distributed, with no waste.
I HAVE A SOLUTION.
I have a patent pending idea to combine 2 existing products in a novel way to create a new use that answers the aforementioned problems and simplifies drip irrigation installation. My invention combines drip irrigation tubing with 3 dimensional turf reinforcing grid. The tubes are spaced in the grid to meet the needs of the intended plantings (lawn, ground covers, and flowers. 24", 18", or 12" spacing.) The grid is a large roll that is unrolled onto the surface to be planted, connected, covered with soil and planting medium, screeded and planted. The irrigation system is installed that simply. The tubes are protected by the turf reinforcing grid. The grid is designed and used to stabilize lawn areas that are high traffic, prevent settling, puddling, erosion, and rutting. Currently the grids are used primarily in public parks and for green roads and parking areas. These areas are currently irrigated with the more wasteful pop up irrigation systems. Many times where turf reinforcing grid is used in conjunction with pop up irrigation, the higher traffic loads damages the pop up apparatus. The new Drip irrigation grid will alleviate this problem as well.
The drip irrigation grid uses less water and operates at lower pressure than conventional pop up irrigation, protects and covers the irrigation system, protects the lawn or planted area, and simplifies installation. The system can easily be retrofitted over existing lawns and attached to existing irrigation systems.
I have been using LED lighting on my landscapes and water features, and retrofitting LED lights for the old 12 volt systems. LED uses D.C. at up to 75% lower wattage, and lasts up to 10 times the bulb life of 12 volt halogen incandescent lights. You can save a lot of money with LED. I am also using new generation pumps from Aquascapes that use a fraction of the electricity and last longer than the old pumps. These new pumps have a 3 year warranty. I am trying to be energy efficient in my own home, business, and on my jobs.
I want to create Paradise for you.
I want you to know peace, serenity, and joy in your oasis. I hope you will be blessed by reading this volume, and I further hope to be a blessing to you by improving your landscape and your life. I try to build lasting friendships as well as timeless landscapes.
The OASIS Principal
I believe I can improve your life, your attitude, your spirit, and your yard. By making drastic changes to your environment, I can drastically improve your mood. I can bring serenity and excitement to you at the same time. I can build you a party spot and a secret garden, a family gathering spot and an escape all in your own private paradise. I can design and build vibrant, even violent waterfall only steps away from a quiet patio with fireplace overlooking a tranquil pond and flower garden. By taking a few steps, you can go from tranquil to convivial or from vibrant to serene by turning your head.
Oasis is a lush, vibrant, life giving garden in the desert. An oasis springs forth as water wells up out of the ground in unexpected places. In the same way, I design and build life giving gardens for discerning clients, with a central water feature. Just as many oases are hard to find in the desert, my gardens are private and enjoyed by their owners and a few special guests.
Many of my gardens feature all of the basic needs for human survival- water, fire, food, shelter, and human company.
Water in the garden may be a peaceful pond with tropical water lilies and playful fish, a roaring waterfall and mountain stream, a formal reflecting pool with fountains and sculpture, or a combination thereof.
Food in the garden, the most basic human need, may be a full outdoor gourmet kitchen with grill, pizza oven, bar, serving and dining areas, and most importantly gathering spaces. Or it may be a cozy dining and lounging patio by the fireplace.
Shelter in the garden may be the privacy and canopy of trees, an arbor or pergola, a gazebo, tiki hut, tea house, play house, covered porch, or the stars and moon.
Human companionship is up to you, and it will come as peace comes to you in your own paradise.