As a landscape designer who believes in a reduced impact on the local environment is always the best way to go I rarely recommend large amounts of turf, especially when that turf is located along Sarasota’s canals or bays.
However sometimes it can’t be helped, either it’s already in the design or the client simply wants to keep views as open as possible.
Having large square footage of turf directly against a salt water presents several challenges for the responsible landscaper that must be addressed. These challenges include the potential for saltwater inundation, proper irrigation, pest management and fertilizer programs that won’t end up in the bay and of course control of storm water run off.
Anyone who has spent much time at a coastal waterfront location becomes aware the bay does not always stay below the seawall. When large storms combine with high tides often the bay or canal rises above the seawall and can flood the landscape. Planning for this eventuality is a must at waterfront job sites, and proper plant and turf species selection is the key component. Many types of palm trees and tropical shrubs are salt-tolerant but what about the grass? While no turf is completely invulnerable to prolonged salt water exposure there are a few types that make for great lawns that will survive being inundated with saltwater if properly flushed. Zoysiagrass in particular is a nice choice when salt exposure is an issue.
Saltwater inundation is one consideration but in general it is water coming from the property that requires the most planning. Many of Sarasota’s waterfront homes have very large roof surface areas. During a storm huge amounts of rainwater are collected by roof, paved drives, paths, decks and patios and will rush towards the bay or canal. This runoff will contain pollutants that have settled on the roof over time, oil and other pollutants from drives and excess fertilizers and pesticides from turf areas. Low close cropped lawns are perfect for allowing all of this run off into the bay if not managed properly.
Grants Gardens takes this into consideration and will install measures that can both work to greatly reduce storm water runoff and clean that water on it’s way to the bay. By grading the landscape to direct runoff water into retention drainage swales and cisterns water can be stored for later use in dry times or allowed for natural biological processes to clean captured water in underground drainage swales. After proper installation of these features the next best thing to do for improving your waterfront turf’s environmental impact is to make sure you have a proper fertilizer and pest control program in place. Again proper planning makes all he difference. By fertilizing during times of lower rainfall in amounts that are not in excess of what the lawn will consume, there will be far less excess nutrient that makes it’s way into the bay even during the summer rainy season. These measures will go along way keeping polluted or nutrient rich water from entering Sarasota Bay.
Last but not least is irrigation. A well-designed irrigation system will provide what water your lawn needs when it needs it and not excess. Grants Gardens are experienced at designing and installing highly efficient irrigation solutions that will be so water efficient they often are not effected by Sarasota county’s water restrictions. We us advanced computer controlled systems that include their own weather station. The control system has been programmed with years of historical data about how fast water will be evaporating from plants called evapotranspiration. With this data the irrigation controller will take into account the current date along with the current weather conditions and determine how much water is needed to irrigate without over doing it. Grants Gardens also uses a highly advanced irrigation spray head that creates water drops with a special size and shape that breezes will not blow away. In fact these spray heads are so efficient normal use is allowed even when we are under water restrictions.
While large amounts of waterfront turf is not ideal, if required Grants Gardens can make installing bayside lawns environmentally friendly and easy to maintain.