Participant’s Guide

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 10.09.06 AMFirst Things First

You’ve completed the first step of the FYI program, the Design Workshop. Now you’re home and ready to work on your design. Where to start?! 

Our participant’s guide is designed to help you every step of the way.

Please make sure you have read and understand the FYI Terms and Conditions. You can also review the FYI Project Checklist and Design Requirements!

Site Assessment

First, you need to know how water flows on your property. Check the forecast, is it going to rain soon? That would be a good day to observe. For tips on how to assess your site, please see page 13 of The Joy of Water. You can also review our Homeowner Toolkit.

Pro Tips

Look to see where water pools. That might be a good spot for a rain garden.

Worried about water staying under your house? A French drain might be in order.

Have a downspout near your existing or future garden? Try a rain barrel. Green Light New Orleans will install an artist-painted rain barrel on a sliding scale. Here’s their application.

It’s all in the details: look for dirt washout on sidewalks to see how water is flowing. Moss growing indicates an area that stays wet for a long period of time.

Trees: Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) might be working in your neighborhood. Reach out to see if you qualify for a free tree. Also, check out their tree care guide. 


Measure the Square Footage of Your Property

SF = L x W

Square footage is the length multiplied by the width of the space you’re measuring.

Remember to label each area of paving removed so it’s clear how you’re getting your numbers. new doc 2018-06-18 16.37.57-1

Next Up

Draft Your Design

Now that you’ve measured your property, it’s time to draft your vision!

But wait! Have questions about maintenance, rainwater capacity, and cost of different types of green infrastructure? Read more. 

Using your graph paper, sketch how your property looks now on the Existing Yard graph. Sketch how you envision your yard looking with FYI on the New Design graph.  Need additional graph paper? Click here!

Looking for inspiration? Check out some of our previous FYI design examples.

Questions? Feel free to call us at (504) 717-6187.

new doc 2018-06-18 16.53.41-1


Elemental Design

Before Design Submission

Feel free to review the Design Presentation from the FYI Workshop.

For recommended native plant options, please take a look at the FYI Plant List.

NOTE: You may not  use cypress or hardwood mulch in your projects. It’s made from needlessly cut down trees. Please use  pine straw mulch, as it’s a renewable resource. The only exception is buying mulch from an arborist or another sustainable source. 

Double Check Design for Completion

FYI Design Checklist | Please Include

Name | Address | Street frontages | Plants labeled | Square footages | Materials labeled 

Parks + Parkways, planting in the Public Right of Way

If you’re planting a tree in the Public Right of Way (the area between the sidewalk and the street) you’ll need to get a permit from Parks and Parkways. For more info on planting a tree in the PROW check out P&P Tree Permitting Pamphlet.  

See also their guide to Choosing An Appropriate Tree and some recommended Design Standards for Plantings on Public Green Space.

Rain Garden Examples



Before You Seek Bids

We’ve compiled this Green Sector Directory of trusted Green Sector Professionals for your use. Need advice on which contractor might be a good fit for your project? Email or call 504-717-6187

Before Construction

You or your contractor will dial LA One Call and 811 to identify underground utilities before you dig.

Do you need permits

Driveway/curb cut permit

Sidewalk repair

Dumpster permit

Working with Contractors

Read this for ‘dos and don’ts’ before seeking bids!

After FYI

Inspection | To ensure compliance, your FYI project may be picked for inspection.

After your project, we’ll send you your reimbursement check and later, a 1099. It is the responsibility of the individual homeowner to consult a tax professional if there is any question about the proper reporting of FYI funds.

See an excessive paving violation? Report it here.

Love your project? Let us know if you’re interested in sharing your story!  Homeowner Story, Porch Party, or testimonial feature: email


Follow us on social media and look for your project to be featured!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | FYI Facebook group


Want more information about why stormwater management is so important for the future of New Orleans? Try these short videos:

Managing Water in New Orleans- from Dana Brown & Associates

The Bowl- How New Orleans Became a “Bowl”


PDF Version of this Guide to FYI