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 Commons Area Water Management Landscaping Project

JULY 15TH 2023

We just started this page on July 15th 2023 and will add information, pictures and descriptions as well as updates as the project progresses. 


Starting in Summer of 2022 and continuing over the next few years we will be working in stages with Native Roots, LLC. to execute our water management landscaping design. This includes structural and cleanup work on several culverts and outlets, as well as the installation of bioswales, rain gardens, prairies and pollinator gardens to improve water absorption and filtering in various areas of need around the Commons space.  

Please see our LANDSCAPE PLAN in file on our documents page. It's part of our Power Point 2023 HOA meeting. We will update the project here as we go over the next 4-5 years 2022-2027.

 Summer Wind entry sign, installation of native plant flowerbed and solar lighting.

It has been our long-standing goal to create a flower bed around our Summer Wind entrance sign. We voted at our annual meeting on 2022 to hire Native Roots, LLC. to create a design with a mix of native perennials and grasses that both blends and benefits the Summer Wind community and native habitats and wildlife surrounding us. Although not directly a part of the Commons area project, this was our first collaboration with Danielle Bell at Native Roots, LLC. 

Design by Native Roots, LLC. Installed by Heather Dall, HOA board member. 

Native Perennial Species:

Cream Indigo (a Species of Concern in WI), early spring bloom

Prairie Smoke - late spring bloom

Purple Cone Flower - summer/early fall bloom

Rough Blazing Star - late summer/early fall bloom

Sky Blue Aster - fall bloom

Native Grass Species:

Prairie Dropseed

Little Bluestem 

Summer Wind Intro Stone.JPG

 Commons Water Management Project - Overview


Areas impacted by heavier rainfall will be targeted with a blend of culvert structural work and a landscaping design that utilizes native plant interventions to aid in water management through increased absorption and filtering. Additional benefits the landscaping design include: water runoff filtering before flowing into the marsh, pollinator and wildlife/bird food sources and habitat, mosquito control, walking nature trails and wildlife viewing, and educational stations/signs(pending). Much of the common area will remain open to recreational use.

 Documentation of Flooding/Standing Water Concerns

The first phase was to formally document areas of concern within the Commons where flooding and ground saturation was occurring. Documentation occurred throughout 2022 in the form of several walk-throughs that included residents, board members and professionals, photographs/pictures, and resident feedback through a survey. 

June 15, 2022 - South End

July 23, 2022 - South End

Sept 12, 2022 - Commons walk through after rain





  • More pictures and videos via link.

(Contact the board, Attn: Heather Dall, if link not working. Pictures have comments to describe locations but appear not to be showing to others.)


During this phase, structural work was also started. Two culverts were repaired to create swales, improving water flow out and into the Commons area away from residential lots. Additionally, the city came to clear out debris and improve flow to the south end outlet. 

 Landscaping Design Development

Below are both the preliminary concept design and final design, created by Native Roots, LLC. to help address the areas experiencing the most water saturation and standing water in the Commons areas. The designs include a variety of native plant intervention features including some Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure approaches, to manage rain runoff, increase ground absorption and increase filtering before water flows into the surrounding marsh through the north and south outlets. This design was also reviewed and supported by both the City Engineer and local DNR for the many community and environmental benefits it offers. 

Interventions include:

  • Rains Gardens

  • Bioswale

  • Short prairies

  • Tall prairies

  • Sedge meadows

  • Pollinator gardens 

1st Draft

2nd Draft

Native plants offer many benefits for both water management needs as well as make positive additions to any landscaping design or garden! They have evolved to the local ecology, soil and climate where they naturally occur. Native plants have deep roots growing as long 15ft. These help with water absorption, filtering, erosion control and ground compaction. As result, native plants need very little if any watering once established. Native plants also provide much needed habitat and food sources for local pollinators, birds and wildlife. They do not require fertilizers or mowing, which helps to reduce pollution and pesticides. 

Short Grass Sample.jpg

Sample pictures/examples of the native plants species and seed mixes that will be included in the various design elements. 

Rain Garden Species Custom Mix:

  • Perennials: Meadow Anemone, Blue Flag Iris, Golden Alexander, Cardinal Flower, Swamp Milkweed, Meadow Blazing Star, Turtlehead, Brown Eye Susans, Riddell’s Goldenrod, White Indigo

  • Sedges/Grasses: Brown Fox Sedge, Porcupine Sedge, Palm Sedge, Common Rush, Bebb’s Sedge


Rain Garden Swale Mix:



Short Sedge Meadow Mix:



Tall Basin Prairie Mix:



Short Prairie Mix:



Pollinator Garden Species:

  • Perennials: Swamp Milkweed, Prairie Dock, Ohio Spiderwort, Meadow Anemone, Purple Coneflower, Blue Lobelia, Marsh Blazing Star, Riddell’s Goldenrod, Golden Alexander

  • Grasses: Switchgrass, Brown Fox Sedge, Bebb’s Sedge, Long Beaked Sedge


Native Trees/Shrub Species: 

  • Trees: Swamp White Oak, Basswood, Musclewood, River Birch, 

  • Shrubs: Buttonbush, Glossy Black Chokeberry, Red Oiser Dogwood, American Hazelnut


Design and installation completed by Native Roots, LLC. Neighborhood volunteers and board members are installing the trees and shrubs. 

Project Design Progress (section under development)

Middle Culvert Bioswale, Pretty Darn Quick Seed Mix

Structural Work Summer '22, Seeded Nov. '22


South End - Short Sedge Meadow and Tall Basin Prairie

Seeded Nov. '23, Trees/Shrubs planted Oct '23


Summer Wind Landscape Project_edited.jpg

Culvert Rain Gardens, Custom Seed Mix

Structural work done 2022-2024, Seeded Nov '23 - Spring '24


North End - Short Sedge Meadow and Tall Basin Prairie

Outlet clean up Winter '23 - Spring '24, Seeding anticipated Nov/Dec '24

Michael Carlson, HOA Prosident, spent several days clearing out the shrubs and brush clogging the north outlet area as part of the prep work needed.

Pollinator Gardens (Commons Area) - Live plant installation, formal design

Anticipated to Start in 2025-26


Commons Entrance - Pollinator Gardens and Short Prairie - Live plant installation, formal design and seeding

Anticipated to Start in 2025-26



Project Documents and Landscape Design
(in order of development)

Preliminary Design

Community Feedback Survey Form

Summer Wind Facts Sheet - Project Overview





(available upon request)

Final Design

Project/Survey Updates and Next steps Power Point '23


Where to Buy Native Plants/Seeds



Johnson's Nursery, Meno. Falls

Prairie Future Seed Company, Meno. Falls

Shady Acres Perennial Nursery, New Berlin

Pollinator Friendly Nursery, LLC, Delafield

Wisconsin DNR Nurseries

Also check Spring native plant sales and fundraisers at Nature Centers - Wehr, Lac Lawrann Conservancy, Riveredge, Schlitz Audubon, etc. 


Native Plants | Prairie Nursery

Prairie Moon Nursery: Storefront

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