Observations at a Prize-Winning Home

Bernard Leibov (center) received a free site assessment last year with the Water Group. Today, the work done has vastly improved water flow on his property.

Last May, Bernard Leibov won the Water Group’s raffle prize: a free site assessment and recommendations for water-saving techniques.

Bernard promptly implemented those recommendations, and nine months later, he could not be happier. The grading, new swales, and other water conservation tools have vastly improved water catchment and flow on his property.

Matthew Smith, a member of the Water Group and owner of an excavation company in Pioneer Town, led the work on Bernard’s property. “The goal was to slow down water flow to prevent erosion and allow more time for runoff to soak into the ground. This was major hardscape,” he said.

Bernard’s new custom yard and garden spaces were created by cutting and filling areas to establish flat spaces. New berms and swales were also built to redirect drainage. Twenty-six tons of river rock boulders finish the design by holding up slopes and adding accent.

During a follow-up visit last month, Matthew led a tour of Bernard’s property with new and old members of the Water Group. From this walk around, Water Group members recommended additional ways to integrate design elements. This included adding drainpipes between swales and collaborating with neighbors to protect the swales during driveway grading.

Overall, the work resulted in a great improvement of water flow and a successful start to practicing permaculture.