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Landscape Design Principles for
Storm Water Detention Basins

A. Earth Sculpting

  1. The City’s subdivision of Land Ordinance requires a landscape area around the top of detention basins. The minimum distance between the freeboard line of the water retention basin and any existing or proposed property line of a one- family residential use shall be fifteen (15) feet. This distance may be reduced by the Planning Commission provided that, the area set aside is equal in square feet to the area that would have been required by the fifteen (15) feet. Linear planting screens will not be acceptable. These landscaped areas must be primarily located at any perimeter property line or internal lot line of a one- family residential use. (See section 83 of Chapter 27 of the City Code for requirements.)
  2. Water retention basins should be "free form," following the natural landforms to the greatest extent possible. If such forms do not exist, the basin should be shaped to emulate a naturally formed depression.
  3. Redistributing soils from basin construction to create natural landforms around the perimeter of the basin is encouraged. The side slopes shall be no greater than 1:3. These forms should be located strategically to filter views or redirect and soften the views from residential areas. Access for maintenance vehicles must be considered in the development and location of these landforms. Total screening of the basins, however, is not intended.
  4. Side slopes must be varied to imitate natural condition.
  5. Forebays shall be constructed to emulate shallow naturalized emergent wetland basins. The basins shall not exceed two foot (2’) of water depth at full capacity and shall be of a natural shape (not square, rectangular or other geometric shape). Slopes of forebays shall conform to side slope requirements as required for detention basins and as specified in the City of Farmington Hills Department of Public Services, Engineering Division, Engineering Design Standards for Site Development and Redevelopment.

B. Planting

  1. The City encourages naturalized planting themes for these retention basins. The applicant should consider the use of plant materials that naturally grow in the area. Trees and shrubs should be grouped in informal patterns to emulate the natural environment. The intent is to soften the views of these basins and not to totally screen them from view.
  2. Plant materials used within the limits of the basin must meet the requirements as indicated in Appendix A. All other plantings must meet the requirements outlined in the landscape section 34-5.14 of the City’s Zoning Chapter.
  3. The ground surface of the basin and surrounding disturbed areas shall be covered with native grass mixture or other approved ground cover. It is the intent of these standards to provide for a sustainable natural planting throughout the basin that will not require regular mowing or fertilization.
  4. Plant material shall be composed of a variety of types.
  5. Plantings above the freeboard line must be mulched and the applicant must specify an appropriate material.
  6. Planting of trees or shrubs must be in groups to avoid a spotty effect.
  7. All Trees planted below the freeboard line of the basin must be bare-root. The planting design must also permit access of maintenance vehicles.
  8. A minimum of two inches (2") of topsoil must be specified for all planting ground cover beds.
  9. Approved erosion control measures will be required on all slopes.
  10. Planting within Forebays shall be composed of herbaceous plant material indicated in Zone 2 of Appendix A; woody plant material will not be permitted. Planting of a minimum of three (3) species shall be required.

Appendix "A"
Plant List for Stormwater Retention/Detention Facilities

Planting
Zone
Zone Description Plant Name
Zone 1
Deep Water Pool**
  • 1 to 6 ‘ deep permanent pool of water
  • Submergent plants (if any at all)
Herbaceous Plants
Duckweed (Lemenia sp.)
Wofeia sp.
Sweet-scented Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)
White Water Lily (Nymphaea tuberose)
Zone 2
Shallow Water Bench**
  • 1 foot below the normal pool (aquatic bench in stormwater ponds)
  • Plants partially submerged
  • Emergent wetland plants
Shrubs
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris)
Herbaceous Plants
Arrow arum (Peltandra virginica)
Arrowhead, Duck Potato (Saggitaria latifolia)
Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)
Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus)
Cattail (Typha sp.)
Common Water Plantain (Alisma subcordatum)
Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides)
Sedges (Carex sp.)
Soft-stem Bulrush (Scirpus validus)
Soft Rush (Juncus effuses)
Prairie Cordgrass (Spatina pectinata)
Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus)
Wool Grass (Scirpus cyperinus)
Zone 3
Lowest Zone
  • 1 foot above the normal pool or lowest zone in a "dry" detention area
  • Frequently inundated
  • Plants must be able to withstand inundation during storms and occasional drought
Shrubs
American Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)
Arrow wood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Common Spice Bush (Lindera bezoin)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)
Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba)
Michigan Holly (Ilex verticillata)
Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)
Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)
Speckled Alder (Alnus rugosa)
Steeple Bush (Spiraea tomentosa)
Swamp Rose (Rosa palustrus)
Herbaceous Plants
Arrow arum (Peltandra virginica)
Arrowhead, Duck Potato (Saggitaria latifolia)
Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus)
Cattail (Typha sp.)
Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)
Clinton’s Woodfern (Dryopteris clintoniana)
Flat-top Aster (Aster umbellatus)
Green Bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens)
Hardstem Bulrush (Scirpus acutus)
Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile)
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum)
Northern Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)
Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides)
Sedges (Carex sp.)
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)
Soft-stem Bulrush (Scirpus validus)
Smartweed (Polygonum sp.)
Soft Rush (Juncus effuses)
Swamp Aster (Aster puniceus)
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus)
Water Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)
Virginia Wild-rye (Elymus virginicus)
Wool Grass (Scirpus cyperinus)
Zone 4
Middle Zone
  • 1 to 4 feet above the normal pool
  • Includes nearly all the temporary extended detention volume
  • Periodically inundated after storms
  • Plants must be able to withstand inundation during storms and occasional drought
Trees
Bare-root only
Native species in accordance with the Zoning Ord.
Shrubs
Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)
American Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)
Arrow wood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
Button Bush (Cephanlanthus occidentalis)
Common Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin)
Creeping Strawberry Bush (Euonymus obovata)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Gray Dogwood (Cornus foemina, racemosa)
Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)
Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba)
Michigan Holly (Ilex verticillata)
Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Northern Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris)
Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)
Steeple Bush (Spiraea tomentosa)
Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris)
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Herbaceous Plants
Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Fowl Mannagrass (Glyceria striata)
Green Bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens)
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum)
Sedges (Carex sp.)
Smartweed (Polygonum sp.)
Soft Rush (Juncus effusus)
Swamp Aster (Aster puniceus)
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Water Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)
Wild-rye (Elymus sp.)
Zone 5
Upland Slopes/ Buffer Strip
  • 4 feet and above the normal pool
  • Includes buffer strips that extend beyond the middle zone
  • Plants should be selected based on soil type, light, and function (not inundation, since almost never inundated)
Trees, Shrubs, and Plants
Standard native plant material in accordance with Zoning Ordinance

 


 

* These zones apply to basins that are designed to retain a permanent water level.

Diagram showing zones in feet.

 

 

 

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