55 Richard Smith Drive,
Wickford, RI 02852,
a historic site open to the public and located in the
town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The Castle is owned
and operated by the non-profit Cocumscussoc Association.
Gardeners and Smith's Castle volunteers partner in the
management of the Castle gardens and grounds and incorporate
many healthy landscaping practices.
you will see!
paving alternatives: crushed stone walkways, parking
lot and runoff control
Back to demonstration sites
Stone Walkways, Parking Lot and Runoff Control
Tip 5 - reduce runoff
Tip 6 - reduce soil erosion
Smith's Castle features
a crushed stone walkway on the grounds in heavy traffic
areas where it is difficult to maintain grass.
Crushed stone or other permeable
paving options are better
surfaces because they allow rainwater to soak through, replenishing
the groundwater table instead of creating stormwater
runoff which can lead to pollution
in nearby storm drains or water bodies.
This is especially
important for Smith's Castle because
it is surrounded by Mill Cove in the Narragansett Bay
and the Cocumscussoc Brook, important water resources
for the area.
small shrubs lining the crushed stone walkway above also
help control runoff by slowing it down, and add
an aesthetically pleasing look.
shown in the above and below pictures, crushed stone
also serves the dual purpose of slowing down roof runoff
at the Castle. The majority of the roof area does not
use gutters or downspouts, so the crushed stone serves
as the mechanism to slow down
Castle has a large lot for visitor parking. Crushed stone
reduces runoff to nearby fresh and coastal water resources.
June 9, 2005.
Crushed stone parking lot, June 9, 2005.
5 - reduce runoff
Tip 6 -
reduce soil erosion
buffers, also known as riparian buffers, are
also important for controlling stormwater runoff and
protecting water resources. Shoreland buffers are areas
bordering water bodies that are maintained
in natural vegetation instead of a lawn or other managed
landscape. This vegetation helps slow down and settle
runoff and allows it to filter naturally into the ground
be uptaken by the plants. This can help to remove some
pollutants such as bacteria and nutrients.
buffers also provide habitat for many species. For many
fresh water resources, trees in the buffer zone are important
as they provide shade which helps keep the water cool.
Cool water stores more oxygen than warm water so this
is crucial for the health of aquatic life.
The picture above shows
where the Cocumscussoc Brook,
a freshwater stream, enters Mill Cove. A narrow area that
is managed in lawn provides
view and access. The key, as has been done here,
access to ensure a well functioning
shoreland buffer remains.
CE Coastal Landscapes Program - includes a RI
Coastal Plant Guide.
lawn at Smith's Castle does not receive irrigation water,
fertilizers, or pesticides, which helps to protect the
bodies from potential
pollution. The pictures
below illustrate some additional healthy
lawn care practices
being used at the Castle.
clover, a legume, fixes atmospheric
nitrogen and converts it into a form that
the lawn can use, reducing the need for added fertilizers.
Lawn clippings are also
left on the lawn after mowing, providing additional nutrients
and further reducing the
need for applied fertilizers.
is often waterfowl passing near the Smith's Castle grounds.
In situations such as these it may be tempting to feed
the waterfowl but that is not recommended because it encourages
the waterfowl to congregate in groups larger than would
naturally be present. This creates a water quality issue
because of the excess animal
lawn area contains natural stones and boulders at the surface.
The lawn in this area is subject
to shallow soil depth near the rocks which can lead to
reduced drought tolerance and weed invasions--especially
crabgrass. Another issue is that this landscape is more
difficult to mow.
occurring boulders can be used to create rock and
water gardens as has been done at our Glen
option here would be to expand on the existing cedar stand
to create a park-like
setting. Some options could include planting additional
hardwood trees with interesting bark, fall leaf color,
or spring flowers and/or other evergreen trees and shrubs
that provide interesting foliage, flowers, fruits and
berries. The lawn area beneath the cedar stand (and additional
plantings) could be planted to native wildflowers and
groundcovers. Think about creating irregular or wavy edges
additional tree and shrub plantings. Some plants should
be selected for their tolerance of salt spray, others
for their ability to tolerate shallow soils, others,
near the shoreline, for their ability to tolerate temporary
flooding or moist soils.
benches, paving stones, and crushed stone can
also enhance the aesthetics of a park-like setting.
For more information on landscaping in wooded areas see
Factsheet Series, Today's Forest Tomorrow's Legacy: A Guide
for Small Acreage Woodland Owners.
other sustainable landscaping resources view Tip
1 - choose the right plants.
Tip 2 - recycle yard waste
composting at Smith's Castle is managed by a group of URI
Master Gardener volunteers. This bin was constructed to compost
plant prunings and other yard waste to use as mulch.
Master Gardner, Jules Cohen, discusses Smith's Castle's
composting activities during a Healthy Landscapes
CE Master Composter and Recycling Program
Back to top
barrels are used to gather rain water coming out of roof
gutter downspouts so it can be used to water plants during
dry periods. Collecting the rain water also helps to prevent
rain barrel above was installed at Smith's Castle in August
2004 and holds 54 gallons of water. The Barrel's outlet
eventually connect to a soaker hose to water
This barrel is installed on cement blocks to help with
gravity flow from the barrel.
During the Spring of 2005, a roof gutter downspout extension
was installed to allow for two rain barrels to be linked
in series, holding a total of 108 gallons of water.
The rain barrels are linked with a flexible plastic hose
that comes with each of these ready-made rain barrels.
June 9, 2005.
18th Century Garden is a unique garden on the Smith's
Castle grounds that displays many of the same plants that
have been present in a similar garden during the 18th Century.
garden uses many sustainable practices such as crushed
and mulch to retain moisture and reduce watering needs
and weeds. Where possible naturally disease
and pest resistant plant varieties
are used. Future plans for the garden may include a water
efficient drip irrigation system.
Back to demonstration sites