FYI in City Lab – The Case for the Flood Proof Lawn
“For years, the sound of rain on the roof of their New Orleans home filled Becky Lloyd and Christopher Renz with dread. Sometimes they’d need to get up in the middle of the night to move their car to higher ground. After a heavy rain, they would lay planks of wood to bridge the eight or nine inches of water that would appear between their driveway and their front door.“I wouldn’t be able to park or walk to the house without being in water,” Lloyd recalls.
That anxiety stalks many New Orleanians. This August, a freak rainstorm flooded some neighborhoods to levels not seen since Hurricane Katrina, a reminder of the mayhem water can inflict on a bowl-shaped city that lies below sea level. The water level shut down several roads and highway exits for more than 24 hours, prompting many people to abandon flooded cars and try to wade home. Hundreds of residents filed damage claims in the following week. Businesses reported thousands of dollars’ worth of damaged goods.
But Lloyd and Renz’s home was unscathed by the August storm. That’s because a year and a half ago, weary of the constant flooding, they drastically overhauled their front yard with guidance from the Urban Conservancy, a local nonprofit that helps homeowners manage water sustainably through their Front Yard Initiative.”