• Ben Shenk

Launch NOLA Green Landscape Transformation: Stacy's Story

The Problem: Fighting Against Water

Stacy had a serious problem.

The house she has called home for years was the perfect size, an ideal layout, and in a neighborhood she loved. She loved it, and proudly shares that she plans to live there for years to come.

But when it rained, Stacy’s forever home would flood. Not just in major rainstorms...in almost any rainstorm, with a heavy afternoon downpour sending water right to the foot of her doorstep. In a city that receives well over 5ft of rain each year, this is a real issue.

Several times before, Stacy had tried to solve the problem, enlisting well-intentioned handymen to install a french drain and sump pump. But each time resulted in failure. The interventions either weren’t enough or stopped working in a few short months.

An ineffective, clogged french drain pipe that had been improperly installed by a previous landscaper

Frustrated, and feeling powerless to protect the home she cherished so much, it felt like there just wasn’t anything out there that could truly reduce the flooding in a meaningful, long-lasting way.

So when she first heard about the type of work that Launch NOLA Green graduates had done on 3 previous build day projects around the city, holding 2200 gallons, 800 gallons, and 850 gallons of water on-site by installing beautiful and functional rain gardens, french drains, and other stormwater management interventions, she was ecstatic to get started on her own home.

The Solution: Living With Water

The process began by first identifying her specific needs and style, and performing a site analysis to understand how water interacts with her home.

After the site analysis came the design phase, where all of the teaching from the Green Business Academy gets applied by creating unique solutions to the water problems at Stacy's home.

Then, on June 1st, 2019 a collaborative team of Green Sector entrepreneurs broke ground to begin transforming her yard from a flood liability, to protective, beautiful asset to be enjoyed.

The team was made up of small business owners, all with their own unique experiences and expertise, who had gone through Launch NOLA’s Green Business Academy, where they were able to strengthen and grow their business, while also learning Stormwater Management techniques. This build day was their opportunity to apply what they learned in a hands-on way - helping them build their technical skills, while creating a transformational landscaping installation for an actual homeowner.

The job was a major undertaking...walking onto the site it was easy to see that after years of repaving and regrading, the street sat higher than the house. This meant that diverting the water back to the street was out of the question.

The solution was 3 fold - removing the concrete walkway and patio, installing a rain garden, and adding permeable walkways and frenchdrains to hold and channel water to the rain garden. All using native, low maintenance plants that soak up run off.

After 5 days of demolition, digging, and a healthy dose of sweat and tears, the transformation was complete, with a total rainwater capture of 1700 gallons.

Beautiful and Effective: Landscape Transformation

“This was well beyond landscaping.....we had a very bad storm as you know this past Monday and no sign of water in my yard which usually would have meant water ALMOST coming into my home.”

Now, Stacy can enjoy her forever home the way it was meant to be, without the constant fear of flooding and damage from runoff. Her landscape is no longer leaving her fighting against water, but allowing her to live with water.

Stacy’s landscape transformation, along with more and more across the city, are made possible through the Green Sector Professionals that Launch NOLA has had the opportunity to walk alongside.

Thanks to these entrepreneurs, homeowners like Stacy are able to reduce the flooding at their homes and in their communities.

Home by home, yard by yard, these entrepreneurs are helping pioneer the way toward a safer, more beautiful, and more sustainable New Orleans.

If you or someone you know is interested in hiring a Launch NOLA Green Graduate, or offering your home for a build day learning experience, please contact Kayti@LaunchNOLA.org.



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