What is the whitish residue that I have noticed on some of my bricks and/or pavers?
This residue is often referred to as efflorescence, and is both normal and common in concrete and clay brick products. Occasionally, the mineral salts from the cement and aggregates that are embedded in the product are dislodged by absorbed water and transported to the surface; it is not a product defect nor is it harmful to the pavers. Efflorescence usually appears white, gray or black depending on the region. The efflorescence will weather off with time as exposure to the elements will loosen the salts and they will eventually wash away (within 6 months to a year). Concrete product manufacturers are unable to warrant against the presence of efflorescence.
I am having erosion problems on my property in Bethesda MD, what should I do?
If the erosion is minimal, installing drainage pipes to redirect the water should stop the soil from being carried away.
If the erosion is occurring on a hill, a possible solution is to install some type of ground cover (like 'Pachysandra' or 'Perriwinkle') should stop the erosion. If it is more severe, the consultant may suggest installing a retaining wall with drainage pipes installed behind it to redirect the flow of water.
What is a rain garden and what are the benefits of using one on my property in Washington DC or Columbia MD?
A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. The garden should be positioned near a runoff source like a downspout, driveway or sump pump to capture rainwater runoff and stop the water from reaching the sewer system. Rain gardens increase your contribution to preserving clean rainwater, creating habitat and preventing local flooding and water pollution.
What is a dry well?
A dry well is large hole that is dug in the ground at a low spot on the property (typically 3-4' wide by 3-4' deep; but can be larger), that is lined with filter fabric and filled with 2-3" drainage stone, then covered with approximately 2-3" of soil and topped with grass seed or sod. The dry well allows excess water to slowly soak into the ground, dissipating the excess runoff into the groundwater. Typically, gutters or swales are connected to the dry wells to contain and dissipate the excess rain water.
What is a swale?
A swale is a low area or trench of land that can refer to a natural landscape feature or a human-created one. Swales are designed to slow and capture runoff by spreading it horizontally across the landscape, facilitating runoff infiltration into the soil. Without swales, rain water from hills or gutters could form gullies that erode the soil away. Swales catch water and direct it to where it's needed, which is in the soil. Instead of water running off or pooling above ground, swales direct it downward into an underground reservoir. As a result, swales can be turned into rain gardens with the application of native, deep rooted plants that have been placed inside and along the sides of the swale area.