A bioswale isn’t something that everyone is familiar with, however, this type of stormwater-runoff system that almost everyone can report they have seen somewhere. Bioswales are prevalent in parking lots and on highways and are sometimes found in other areas where stormwater systems are installed.
What Does a Bioswale Do?
What does a bioswale do, and exactly how do they work? Here’s a basic introduction to the idea of a bioswale, and why it’s sometimes preferred to traditional stormwater runoff systems.
What is a bioswale?
A bioswale is a type of stormwater-runoff system that uses a sloped edge to bring water down to the storm drain. Instead of traditional materials, the sloped edge seen with a bioswale is usually covered in grass or other green growth.
It’s often used because it’s a much more visually appealing alternative to something gray and industrial. Bioswales are also a more environmentally friendly solution, while still protecting what’s around it in the same way as a normal water run-off system.
What does a bioswale do?
The first and most obvious purpose of a bioswale is to direct water away from surfaces in the event of storms or heavy rainfall. Bioswales are commonly seen near parking lots and other urban environments, but they’re also becoming an increasing sight for homeowners who would like water to filter away from their gardens.
The truth is that a bioswale isn’t just a glorified storm drain. A bioswale is preferred for many environments because it doesn’t create the unsightly appearance of concrete – and doesn’t have nearly as many potential drawbacks.
Not only do they direct water away from a point but can also help to trap and filter pollution better. Bioswales can become part of the environment, as long as the growth is well maintained.
What is the point of a bioswale?
The point of a bioswale is to be environmentally friendly, and direct water away from the parts of the area’s surface where you don’t want it. More than this, they are also used to trap pollution and keep debris away from the area(s) with the most traffic.
Benefits of Bioswale Use
A bioswale is an alternative to traditional storm sewer systems because they are more environmentally friendly. Instead of just another expansion of concrete, there’s a whole ecosystem on top of the bioswale that becomes part of the environment instead of standing out. A bioswale is designed to protect the surface, trap debris, and move water away for as long as the system remains well-maintained.
Bioswale 3D Representation
Struggling to picture just what a bioswale looks like, or would like to use an example for your property? The good news is that technology can help. Sites like CADdetails offer downloadable 3D representations of bioswales, easy to make part of your environment.
What are the potential negatives of bioswales?
Like almost any other stylistic or aesthetic choice you could make in landscaping, there is some criticism surrounding bioswales. Yes, bioswales have some potential negatives that companies should also consider if they want to install them.
One disadvantage that can be associated with bioswales is that they can be costly to maintain. While storm drain systems in their traditional form only require maintenance once every few years (and usually, only with severe damage), bioswale systems can need maintenance every couple of weeks. The growth of different plant species has to be cut down and the plants must be kept in a healthy state.
Not everyone likes the idea of aggressive maintenance, but many other people can say that they prefer the idea of an environmentally friendly feature that also happens to be practical.
Professional Bioswale Help
An increasing amount of landscape and architecture professionals are incorporating the bioswale design into their work – and where they haven’t, it’s possible to approach a professional for help. Choose a certified team that can prove their experience, and that has a portfolio that can show past successful work.
Learn More: Bioswales – National Association of City Transportation Officials
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