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Posted Under: Featured Project

April Featured Project

Posted April 19, 2020 @ 12:45pm | by Victorian

April Featured Project

Erickson Residence

Project: Driveway Replacement with Channel Drain and Raingarden


Todd and Christina felt it was time to redo their driveway and it was important for them to consider ways to do it in a more earth-friendly manner. An asphalt driveway replaced the broken concrete and made things easier for them in the winter to remove snow.

Later a channel drain was installed to reroute water to the side of the driveway keeping the stormwater runoff on their property. Now every rain event, water coming off a portion of the house and the upper portion of the driveway, enters into the channel drain that diverts the runoff into a beautiful tiered raingarden. Not only are they capturing over a 1” rainfall event each time but they’re supporting native plants, pollinators and contributing to replenishing the aquifer!

Let’s elaborate on asphalt a bit more. Conventional asphalt, although seemingly not ecologically-sensitive has some redeeming aspects that do make it sensible when it comes to the environment, and you:

  • most highly recycled product in the world (based on weight)

  • low carbon footprint compared to a permeable driveway

  • easy to repair and overlay unlike concrete

  • in winter climates, it can be much easier to shovel or snow blow.

  • most economical compared to other surface types (spend your money on other things)

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March Featured Project

Posted March 11, 2020 @ 2:17pm | by Victorian

March Featured Project

Bull’s Horn Food and Drink Celebrates Stormwater Runoff Creatively

When Amy and Doug decided to purchase a dive bar, they didn’t have grandiose plans to reform it, rather they chose to refine it. 


Playing off of ’70’s decor, signage, and vibe they offer a much improved version of the tv dinner, baskets of fresh fried chicken and the best hamburgers in town by mastering the perfect ratio. 


They made the restaurant a favorite community amenity for nearby residents with affordable good food and drink. And they didn’t stop there. 


They extended their purposeful intentions outside the building envelope. A super cool mural takes up the entire side of the mixed-use building. On the roof, solar panels were installed. 


Then it was determining what to do with the parking lot.


That’s when we could offer some help. 

Parking lot before 

First, understanding Amy and Doug’s personalities, the restaurant’s needed functionality, the quirkiness with the property and finally budget.


Since the first year of business isn’t the time to embark upon a big project, we came up with a phased plan that made sense. We started with the necessary basing and grading to remove the pothole-laden muddy lot to a useable aggregate lot. 


Next was a garbage/recycle pad and wooden structure. We even met with the refuse hauler to make sure alignment and the gate opening mechanism was sensible with a poorly placed overhead line.


The last and biggest highlight that first year was an outdoor patio. Not only did this provide more tables for more seating capacity but it helped to bring more revenue. 


Year 2 brought the other more earth-friendly aspects. 

1. Of course a raingarden. Despite some not so great subsoils, there was proper drawdown of standing water. With any raingarden, ponding water is okay. It’s actually okay up to 72 hours. Mosquitos are always a concern with standing water but the larvae need 7-10 days of water so any properly design raingarden doesn’t actually contribute to these breeding areas.


2. Pavers.  Permeable pavers in front of the entrance to welcome patrons, manage those icy times (permeable is better at that). Permeable allows for air flow. So when it’s cold outside those areas are warmer. In the summer, those areas are cooler. Cool, huh

Permeable pavers

3. Same old sort of blacktop. You might think blacktop isn’t so environmentally-friendly, but conventional pavement directed towards sustainable practices does make sense. Being sensible about materials in and materials out, hauling and disposal is being thoughtful with the carbon footprint.

4. Cistern. An above-ground cistern to capture the roof water is filtered and held. A cool pump and hose to make things easy for irrigation.

5. Native plantings. A good layer of compost was placed around the perimeter to give some good hearty nutrients to the native plug plants and low-input required fescue turf areas. 

With Earth Wizards’ help and Amy’s efforts, various grant funding helped to also finance the project. The next step is to apply for a stormwater fee credit with the City of Minneapolis.

We are elated that Doug and Amy were extremely mindful of their property and willing to do what they could towards the property’s environmental impact. With the stormwater mitigation work, it has lessened the amount of volume, heat and sediment that leaves the site and enters into the Mississippi River. It’s a perfect example that ties into Earth Wizard’s philosophy balancing urban development and water conservation.


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I have already recommended you! Our consultant, Shelly, was extremely knowledgeable. She explained (the process) in technical detail. She is the reason I chose Earth Wizards over the other 5 bidders. Installation crew was terrific and exceeded my expectations.

- Don P.
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