Watersaver of the Month: Lou Marinacci
Local Arnold homeowner recognized for environmentally friendly efforts.
There's a lot to like at the Marinacci residence in Arnold, near Shore Acres. Lou Marinacci began renovating the house and re-configuring the yard when he purchased it in 2003.
He inherited a wealth of beautiful flower gardens, and a Department of Natural Resources Wild Acres designation, but there was a severe erosion problem, too. The large lot inclines steadily toward the back, and the water's pathways were clearly established.
Marinacci strategically located rain gardens, rain barrels and gravel drainage all along the pathways of the storm water runoff, beginning up the hill in the back yard, at key roof drain locations, and all the way down to the street out front.
He realized that a combination of native plants and porous or pervious treatments would make his yard work much easier to handle, too, since the native plants require little or no extra watering and no fertilizing.
The first thing you'll notice when you detour off of Deep Creek Avenue is his lush, natural looking yard. There is no turf grass lawn in the front, but a bright and colorful mixture of native plants, such as black-eyed susan, sumac and coriopsis, ornamental perennials, grasses, trees and flowers.
Beautifully framed and accented with gravel and paving stone walkways, it is attractive and nearly maintenance free.
Marinacci also has a large rain garden in the middle of the circular driveway, directly in the path of the storm water runoff. (That is, if any can escape the many rain barrels.) Just in case, Marinacci excavated and added gravel drainage underneath the site of the rain garden. This structure also captures a large amount of runoff from the street, which naturally accumulates in front of the property.
As you move toward the back yard, you'll pass under the big, airy carport, soon to have solar panels on top. Out back, you'll find more rain gardens, rain barrels, an expansive porous patio area, and a busy but handsome composting and water storage compound.
Like most of us on the Broadneck peninsula, the Marinacci residence is situated atop very sandy, highly infiltratible soil so all of these efforts are working beautifully. Marinacci provides proof that if you take the time and make some improvements, not only will you successfully contain your own runoff, but you'll enhance the local environment in many other ways.
If you or a neighbor have made improvements to help with storm water and you'd like to share your success, please leave a comment.