LAKE GEORGE, NY — Landscaping effectively can help save the lake from invasive species and harmful chemicals. If you care about the Queen of American Lakes, help save Lake George from pollutants and manicure your lawn at the same time! This interview with industry expert Anthony Defranco of Defranco Lanscaping reveals the top 10 do’s and don’ts.
How does a manicured lake-front property endanger the
A manicured lawn usually requires a lot of fertilizer and landscaping chemicals to treat the weeds. Chemicals
from using Round-Up to spray weeds can impact the amphibian species that reside
in the lake.
The phosphates from fertilizer can also runoff from the lawn when it
rains and enter the water, which causes significant algae growth.
That is why there are regulations in place to limit the use of phosphate
fertilizer around bodies of water.
What should be placed along the shoreline to reduce runoff
from entering my lake?
Planting a shoreline buffer with native plants is the
simplest solution. Using plants that are native to our region minimizes the
amount of fertilizer and irrigation that is required to establish and maintain
Will a shoreline buffer look nice?
buffers can be very attractive while helping to protect the shoreline from
erosion and minimize the sediment and nutrients that enter the lake. Native
plants thrive without fertilizer and filter nutrients out of the runoff before
they enter the lake.
The buffers also provide privacy by screening out light
and noise from activities on the lake. They can also help frame a beautiful
view and provide habitat that attracts birds and other wildlife. Shoreline
buffers can also minimize geese activity on your shorefront lawns.
What’s a stormwater rain garden and how does it work?
A stormwater rain garden is a depression that allows stormwater runoff
from impervious areas like roofs, driveways, and walkways the opportunity to be absorbed into the ground through a system of plants, soil media and stone
A rain garden can be designed and sized to handle a site’s
specific impervious area, topography and soil conditions. Rain gardens can help
improve water quality in lakes and nearby bodies of water by allowing the
runoff to be treated by filtering out the pollutants that are being transported
by the runoff.
What’s a permeable paver system?
Permeable paver systems consist of interlocking concrete
pavers with void spaces between the pavers. The water from a rain event flows
through the voids into a stone base layer below the pavers and then the water
infiltrates into the ground surface below. The void spaces are relatively small
and are typically filled with a small crushed stone.
How often should my septic tank be pumped out and septic
Septic tanks should be pumped out every 2-3 years, even if
the house sees limited usage-summer months, but typically lake-front homes see
significant usage during the summer months.
A septic system should be inspected
immediately if the system is showing signs of leaks or has been over-loaded. This
can include standing water on the leach field or smells of septic. It should be
noted that sometimes a hint of septic smell can come from vents from the pump
station and other components of the septic system. It is a good idea to have
the septic hauler inspect the septic tank for leaks and to make sure the pump
station is functioning correctly while the septic tank is being pumped out.
How do engineers plan out site designs to be more environmentally friendly?
Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach to land development that uses nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible.
LID tries to preserve and recreate natural landscape features by minimizing the amount of impervious area, which in turn reduces the amount of stormwater runoff. These practices are termed “green infrastructure” and can consist of bioretention facilities, rain gardens, vegetated rooftops, rainwater harvesting, rain barrels, and permeable pavers and pavements.
LID can be applied to new construction, redevelopment, or as retrofits to an existing property. Not all of these practices need or may even be possible to implement on a site, but the designer starts by looking at the existing site and the new development and tries to minimize the impact of stormwater runoff by selecting the most cost-effective solutions.
What is green infrastructure and how does it work?
Green infrastructure typically refers to systems & practices that use natural
processes such as infiltration, evapotranspiration (returning water to the
atmosphere through evaporation or through the roots of the plants), or by re-using
stormwater or runoff on the site where it is generated-such as rainwater
Who should I trust my property to and how do I know that
my contractor or landscaper is qualified?
The best solution to your stormwater problems starts with
proper planning on the homeowner’s part. That starts by working with a licensed
professional engineer and architect who have the design expertise to locate and
size these systems so that they function correctly under the current
regulations. The engineer can also obtain the proper permits and estimate the
cost prior to contacting a contractor.
You should then select a contractor/landscaper who is qualified
to do the work that you need. That can mean contractors who have specific licenses,
credentials and extensive experience working with stormwater runoff projects in
a specific location, like Lake George for example.
How can I find out more about saving the delicate Lake
Attend a free seminar on “Rain Gardens to Shoreline
Buffers-The How & Why” on Monday, August 5th at 7:30 PM at the
Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton Landing.
** DeFranco Landscaping, Inc. is a full-service
professional landscaping company that specializes in landscaping lakefront
properties along the Lake George shoreline and surrounding Adirondack region.
DeFranco Landscaping was the proud recipient
of the 2010 Frank Leonbruno Memorial Lake Stewardship Award from the Lake
George Watershed Coalition for use of native plants in their landscape design.
Anthony DeFranco, PE is a licensed NYS Professional Engineer with a degree in
civil and environmental engineering and a Certified Nursery & Landscape
Professional (CNLP) who focuses on stormwater related projects in and around