Front Yard Makeovers
Lake Wilcox SNAP selected two homeowners from among 19 interested applicants to be the recipients of an eco-landscaping demonstration on their property.
The two Front Yard Makeover demonstration projects were installed in July-September 2012, at 95 Wheelwright Drive and 20 Wheatsheaf Street, Richmond Hill.
These projects play an essential role in communicating the objectives of SNAP and profiling many of the key practices of residential eco-landscaping.
Specifically, the makeovers show how eco-friendly design features can be integrated with a beautiful, low maintenance and contemporary landscape aesthetic. They were designed to be the first step in promoting a neighbourhood-wide eco-landscaping program.
95 Wheelwright Drive
The Front Yard Makeover project at 95 Wheelwright Drive incorporates the following eco-landscaping elements:
- Roof leader discharge to a bioswale.
- Discharge of another roof leader into a rain barrel with overflow directed to a dry river bed that leads to a soakaway.
- Addition of permeable driveway/walkway.
- Other design elements for enjoyment of the young family, including a wooden bridge, stepping stones and a seating area.
20 Wheatsheaf Street
The eco-landscaping elements installed at 20 Wheatsheaf Street included:
- Roof leader discharge to a soak away underlain with AquaBlox units.
- Discharge of another roof leader into a rain barrel with overflow directed to a dry river bed leading to a rain garden.
- Discharge of a third downspout onto a permeable driveway/walkway.
- Water efficient native plantings of trees, shrubs and plants.
The Front Yard Makeover project at 20 Wheatsheaf Street serves as the focus for lot-level performance monitoring of eco-landscaping.
TRCA’s Sustainable Technology Evaluation Program (STEP) staff has led the design, implementation, analysis and reporting of the lot level stormwater monitoring.
Monitoring took place August to November 2012 and June to October 2013 and a final report on the findings was delivered in November 2014.
Surveys were conducted with the front yard makeover homeowners to track experience relating to their enjoyment and use of the garden, maintenance practices and visitor feedback.
Both homeowners’ responses are very positive and similar, both indicating that they are “very satisfied” with their front yard, which they rated as “beautiful.”
- Both used their front yard regularly, particularly with their children. They both agree that this front yard engaged their kids more than a lawn. Further to this, the neighbourhood children also came to play in it.
- Both communicated the response of neighbours with regards to the front yard was “very positive.” A noted comment from a neighbour was “environmentally friendly garden yet artistic and multi-use.”
- Both watered, on average, once a week using only water from the rain barrel, no potable water was used. Neither design includes a lawn, thus both time and water were saved.
Home Energy Program
In the Fall of 2013, SNAP offered a limited number of free home energy audits to owners of older Lake Wilcox area homes.
The primary purpose of a home energy audit is to determine the current state of heating and cooling efficiency in the home. During each 90-minute home visit, a qualified auditor can determine your home’s EnerGuide Rating and provide a list of recommended upgrades that could improve your energy efficiency and save you money on heating costs.
Our SNAP partner, Windfall Ecology Centre, conducted 25 audits. 25% of homes were found to have potential gas savings of more than 17%, with a highest savings of 33%.
Most of these homes qualify to receive Enbridge incentives of up to $2,000 under the community energy conservation program.
The top recommended upgrades among the audited homes were to install a tankless water heater and install or upgrade basement or attic insulation.
Most of the audited homes already have newer mid-to-high efficiency furnaces and so did not require furnace upgrades at this time. If your furnace is more than 18 years old, you could have potentially significant energy savings.
How can a home energy audit help you save money? FIND OUT!
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