Entering another hurricane season, Houstonians are undoubtedly feeling some anxiety. After all, if was only ten months ago that Hurricane Harvey devastated the region, impacting more than 100,000 single family homes in Harris County alone. Even those who experienced minimal flooding wonder what they can do to protect their homes as the possibility of another major flood event in Houston looms.
Recently, Avenue partnered with Living Paradigm and Trees for Houston to provide additional flood protection for area residents who had experienced minimal flooding after Hurricane Harvey, including around Independence Heights.
In an effort to draw potential flood water away from the home, teams of volunteers worked to make several enhancements to the properties’ landscapes, including
* Improving gutters and downspouts
* Creating dry swales for the storage and filtration of storm water runoff
* Installing native grasses and plants to create rain gardens to absorb rainwater
* Planting trees donated by Trees for Houston
* Installing a 40-gallon rainwater collection tank
Avenue has spent more than 26 years building affordable homes and strengthening communities, so Property Acquisition Specialist Anton Edwards said the company understands the critical impact a home – a warm, dry, safe place to live – has on long-term health and wellness.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we have mobilized our team to provide a wide variety of support services including home repair, education and counseling, and simple, affordable DIY projects to help homeowners on the path to recovery,” he said. “We are also proud to partner with a number of other local organizations – including nonprofits and the faith-based community – to assist with unmet needs that still exist nearly a year after Harvey.”
To date, Avenue has completed 84 home repairs and assisted nearly 200 Houstonians in one-on-one counseling. Avenue’s collaboration with Living Paradigm and Trees for Houston is designed to benefit the lifespan of the home and create more efficient drainage that pulls water away, reducing the flood risk in the event of a severe weather event.
“[We] understand that a home is a person’s most valuable asset and we are committed to doing all we can to help preserve that investment,” Edwards said.
Edwards said many of the tasks can also be undertaken by a single homeowner. The materials – many of which are lightweight and easy to transport – can all be sourced locally. Depending on each homeowner’s budget and the individual needs of the home, these tasks can also be completed all at once or in stages.
“Our goal is to apply these water mitigation landscaping practices in our new and future developments so we can help families keep their homes safe from future flood risk,” he said.
Key to affordability
All of the flood mitigation landscaping projects completed by Avenue were designed to be done by homeowners, so there were a few key factors to consider including simplicity, affordability and sustainability.
To help minimize costs and optimize sustainability, teams focused on utilizing recycled materials and native plants and grasses that naturally occurring in Houston’s environment.
Tips for Homeowners
According to Edwards, it’s easy to make small changes to an existing water run-off plan. If your home already has gutters, you can connect a drainage tube to help move water even further away.
“It’s a simple and cost-effective way to help mitigate flood risk,” he said.
Another thing to consider with any flood mitigation landscaping project is the terrain of your property.
“If possible, it’s best to take advantage of natural low-lying areas because they are prime for minor excavation,” Edwards said.
“Homeowners can dig these areas out and fill them in with drainage tubes and gravel to create a detention pond with mosquito-resistant properties.”
Homeowners can also take this a step further by covering the detention pond with soil and planting native plants and grasses that are more efficient at soaking up excess water, compared to adaptive species.