Protecting Our Homes From Flooding Disasters

Written by Greenwise Team
Published on October 14, 2020
Landscaping is rarely a priority when you have kids and dogs running around. That’s been true for Marty and Nancy, too. Until they just couldn’t take the flooding anymore, and for them, the flooding they experienced this past spring was the last straw. “My son is 5’11 and the water was up to his waist. You could have taken a canoe down Central, and Wilmette had to turn off its locks,” Nancy says.
Backyard flood
THEIR BACKYARD FELT LIKE A SWIMMING POOL BEFORE WE INSTALLED THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM. Marty and Nancy live in Wilmette, and if you live in Wilmette, you know flooding is a common issue. Fortunately, the Village of Wilmette offers grants to any resident who invests in drainage projects for their home.

Wilmette Offers Stormwater Incentive Program

It’s called Stormwater Incentive Program and you can find more information here. The village will pay half your construction costs up to $1,300, but limited funds are available, so it’s a first come, first served opportunity. Nancy and her husband took advantage of the grant after dealing with far too many floods on their property. They even got sandbags in an effort to prevent the water from entering their home. “Water was coming in through the back door like a river for three hours. My husband woke me at 1am to tell me we were flooding, and this wasn’t our first rodeo. It was our seventh. Things were floating and this was in May in the midst of the pandemic. Twice in six months, our household items were floating. We both had PTSD and weren’t sleeping. Last week when the rains came, we were scared, but all was good,” Nancy said.
dry creek

Greenwise Creates a Drainage Solution that’s Beautiful & Effective!

This latest rainstorm was different because Marty and Nancy hired Greenwise to help solve their property’s drainage issues. Greenwise installed a french drain and a dry creek bed along with some natives and specialized plantings to act as “soakers” for the rainwater. “Everyone who sees our backyard is blown away. I’m mostly blown away that not one piece of machinery was brought into our yard to finish the project. My landscaper friend warned me that we would probably lose our fence because the machinery would be too big to get through,” Nancy said. The Greenwise crew (Luciano, Misael, and Carlos) showed up with shovels. Every day Nancy waited for the machinery to arrive, but it never came.

Working to Save the Turf

dry creek bed
A DRY CREEK BED HAS DIFFERENT SIZE STONES AND ROCKS TO HELP FILTER THE WATER EFFECTIVELY. Why does Greenwise do it by hand without machinery? Simple. Machinery disrupts the ground and then creates more turf issues, so we work hard to protect your turf and underlying soil, which means we do as much as we can by hand. Before starting the project, our client relationship manager took time to explain everything in detail–the why’s and the how’s, so Marty and Nancy always knew what to expect. “Everything was done with integrity. They were respectful of our space and kept us posted if they had to stop work for any reason,“ Nancy said. The crew worked for four days during the hottest days of August. “I’m such a Jewish mother that I kept wanting to give them breaks for water and to use our bathroom,” Nancy said. In four days, the Greenwise crew installed a french drain that reaches from the back to the front of the home, a dry creek bed with the whole system able to hold over 1900 gallons of water, and planted natives and soakers around the creek bed for added beauty and extra insurance for soaking up water. They carried every stone and rock by hand.
dry creek bed
NATIVE PLANTS AND SOAKERS NEXT TO THE DRY CREEK BED HELP SOAK UP THE RAINWATER. The drainage project was finished in August, so it hasn’t been tested yet with any huge rainstorms. With the most recent rainstorm, Nancy says there wasn’t even a puddle. During previous rainstorms, the backyard turned into a swimming pool. We’ll keep you posted next spring when the rains are sure to come back in full force to see how Nancy and Marty’s home and yard are doing. We are confident they can throw out their sandbags.

Getting Help Unfolding

Our Stories

While talking with Nancy about her drainage project, I learned she’s a holistic nutrition health coach. Nancy primarily works with women, but her desire is to help anyone create a new relationship with food, get off those yo-yo diets, and help them unfold their own story. She helps individuals peel away the layers of what’s preventing them from living their healthiest, happiest selves. Nancy believes it’s never too late to unfold your story. Often, taking care of ourselves comes last on a long list of responsibilities, but as Nancy says, making sure you carve out time for yourself is like putting the oxygen mask on first. As we’ve learned from the airlines, we can’t help others if we don’t first help ourselves. “I believe every one of us has a creative side and it’s our own to nurture,” Nancy said. Honestly, I could have sat in Nancy’s backyard all day chatting with her about her work. Her passion for helping people resonates loudly and authentically. Take a look at her website and sign up for a complimentary 30-minute session ( During these trying and difficult times, it’s especially important to take time out for ourselves and make sure we are making our health a priority.