Originally constructed over 30 years ago, the city garden and patio designed to give C.S. Davidson employees a landscaped oasis in the midst of the York cityscape was in need of a facelift. The wooden built-in picnic tables were starting to show their age. The shrubs and trees were overgrowing their boundaries. Many of the brick pavers were out of place due to heaving frost or tree roots. Not surprisingly, employees’ interest in using the patio had deteriorated right along with the building materials. It was now the exception to see a C.S. Davidson staff member spending their lunch break outdoors, rather than the norm.
The employees decided that it was time to give the patio a facelift. But they knew that the process would not be quite as easy as it would have been 30 years ago. As the engineer for the City of York, C.S. Davidson is well aware of the regulations facing property owners who want to make similar improvements to their properties. Stormwater runoff from impervious areas such as roofs, parking lots, and yes, patios, picks up pollutants on its way to our streams, resulting in decreased water quality. To reduce the volume of stormwater runoff and the accompanying pollutants, Federal, State and local regulations now require stormwater from even small projects like a simple patio renovation to be controlled.
In order to control the stormwater runoff from the new patio, C.S. Davidson teamed with local manufacturer Hanover Architectural to find a solution that worked. Like most city properties, this property did not offer a lot of room with which to work. After reviewing their options, C.S. Davidson’s engineers decided to install brick pavers designed to allow stormwater to penetrate in between the pavers. The water then settles into a stone bed beneath the pavers until it slowly percolates into the ground.
Whenever water infiltrates into the ground, sinkholes are always a concern. In order to limit the amount of water that was being directed into the soil, engineers used a thinner bed of stone than what is normally recommended for pavers. This should help reduce the likelihood of sinkholes developing as a result of the stormwater infiltration. This lower profile system could also be used in areas where high water table is a concern. C.S. Davidson intends to monitor the performance of this system to see if this is a viable option for future projects of this type.
Last summer, volunteers from C.S. Davidson worked to install the new brick pavers supplied by Hanover Architecture. Without the need for heavy equipment or specialized expertise, the new patio took shape. Company gatherings made use of the gathering space. Employees sitting at the new picnic tables once again enjoyed the outdoors during their lunch break. And it was not unusual to see a meeting being held in the open air meeting space. Revitalizing this outdoor space and meeting new regulations took a little innovation and a good bit of muscle and sweat, but the return to the employees who use the space and the environment was well worth the effort.