Why should I hire a pest control specialist? I can just kill the bugs myself.

Pest Control in James Island, SC

Imagine this: You're sitting in your living room enjoying a nice evening with your family when your sweet tooth strikes, and you get up to go to the kitchen. You just purchased a brand-new pint of your favorite ice cream, and it's ready and waiting for you to dig in. You take it out of the freezer, open the lid, and look down at the cold, creamy treat in front of you. But before you splurge, you need a spoon to help. You can't be getting ice cream all over your fingers, after all.

You walk a couple of steps to the drawer, grab a spoon, and turn around with your mouth watering. Only now, it looks like something has beat you to the first bite. It's a giant cockroach, and it's sitting right on top of the fresh pint of ice cream you opened less than a minute ago. You can see its small, hairy legs digging into your delectable dessert - legs that have undoubtedly crawled over much worse things than the ice cream you bought.

Now, your ice cream is ruined, and you've got that creepy-crawly feeling that other roaches and bugs are living just under the surface of every counter and floorboard of your house. Unfortunately, that scenario could be very true - and depending on the pest, your family could be at risk.

For most Lowcountry residents, home is a sanctuary of comfort and privacy. It's a place where they can relax and spend quality time with their loved ones after a tiring day at work. However, pests like roaches and rodents are not mindful of boundaries and can invade your personal space at any moment. That fresh pint of ice cream you left on the counter? That's their meal for the evening.

They seek refuge and sustenance inside your dwelling, which is an appalling thought for most homeowners. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be your reality when you have pest control in James Island, SC from Low Country Pest Management.

Service Areas

A Critter-Free Home Starts with Low Country Pest Management

At Low Country Pest Management, we know how crucial it is for your home or business to be clean and pest-free. That's why we approach every pest control project with highly-trained technicians, effective control methods, and eco-friendly solutions.

In fact, we make it a point to provide all our customers with top-quality workmanship, reliability, and exceptional customer service, no matter how complex or simple the job may be. When you call Low Country Pest Management about a pest control problem, you can rest assured that it will be addressed safely, efficiently, and professionally.

Unlike some pest control companies in South Carolina, our expert technicians use the most advanced state-of-the-art tools and control strategies, complemented by decades of combined pest control experience. We specialize in many types of pest control and address a wide range of pests, including:

To truly serve our customers with effective pest control services, our tactics go beyond basic pest treatments by inspecting your home and making recommendations for pest-proofing your structure. By using targeted, eco-friendly pest control tactics based on Integrated Pest Management, we can prevent pests from entering your home in the first place. That way, you and your family can sleep well at night, knowing you don't have to worry about an infestation.

At Low Country Management, we address many types of pests, from termite control in James Island, SC, to rodent control and even crawlspace encapsulations for pests.

Lowcountry Pest Management James Island, SC
  • Rodents Rodents
  • Roaches Termites
  • Roaches Roaches
  • Crickets Crickets
  • Ants Ants
  • Centipedes Centipedes
  • Fleas Fleas
  • Earwigs Earwigs
  • Silverfish Silverfish
  • Spiders Spiders
phone

What Clients Say About Us

What are the Biggest Benefits of

Pest Control in James Island, SC?

At Low Country Pest Management, one of the most common questions we hear online is, "Why should I hire a pest control specialist? I can just kill the bugs myself." While this is true to a certain extent, truly effective pest control requires professional tools, strategies, and experience. Stomping a spider on your living room floor isn't going to control or prevent them from coming back.

Here are just a few reasons why homeowners and business owners should consider hiring a pest control company to remedy their problems.

Reduced Chance of Illness and Health Issues

Reduced Chance of Illness and Health Issues

Working with a pest control company like Low Country Pest Management can reduce and even eliminate many common health concerns relating to pests. Because the truth is many pests can transfer harmful bacteria and diseases via their droppings, bites, and more, causing allergic reactions and worse.

Professional Knowledge and Expertise

Professional Knowledge and Expertise

When it comes to pest control, it's best to leave it to the professionals. They have the knowledge and training to handle pests efficiently and effectively. With access to the latest tools and technology, you can trust that they will take care of any pest infestations in a safe and thorough manner. At Low Country Pest Management, we cater our pest control methods to your needs and your home or business for the most effective results. Contact our office today to learn more about our effective approach to pest control in James Island, SC.

Less Stress

Less Stress

When you're aware that you have a pest issue, it can be hard not to over-stress and overthink the situation. If you're losing sleep due to a fear of bed bugs, spiders, or other pests, professional pest control can help you stress less. Once your infestation is over, you can finally breathe again. To keep your stress levels low, our technicians don't just eliminate pests from your living space – they tell you how they did it and explain the steps you can take to avoid pests in the future.

Cost-Conscious Pest Control Solutions

Cost-Conscious Pest Control Solutions

Choosing a professional pest control service is a more budget-friendly option than attempting DIY methods. DIY solutions are often less effective and may not completely eradicate the issue. Professional pest control companies possess the necessary skills and equipment to ensure the task is accomplished correctly, ultimately saving you money in the future. Furthermore, they can complete the job quickly, removing pests promptly so that you can quickly resume your normal routine.

Avoid Costly Damage to Your Home

Avoid Costly Damage to Your Home

If not taken care of, pests can cause severe harm to your property. They can spoil food, ruin furniture and fixtures, and even harm the structural stability of your home or business. To avoid such damage and save money, you should consider hiring a professional pest control service.

At Low Country Pest Management, we provide peace of mind for our customers through our reliable, effective pest control services in South Carolina. Some of the most requested services we offer include rodent control, termite control, and crawlspace encapsulations.

 Just Kill The Bugs James Island, SC

At Low Country Pest Management, we provide peace of mind for our customers through our reliable, effective pest control services in South Carolina. Some of the most requested services we offer include rodent control, termite control, and crawlspace encapsulations.

phone (843) 810-7378

Is There a Rat Hiding in Your Home?

It's Time for Rodent Control in James Island, SC

Discovering a rat, mouse, squirrel, or other rodent in your home can be a distressing experience. These nasty creatures are known for their destructive behavior, chewing on wires, spreading bacteria, and leaving behind dangerous droppings.

Rodents are also known to breed and multiply quickly. While it may be tempting to take matters into your own hands and swat them away with a broom, seeking professional rodent control services is the safest and most effective way to protect your loved ones. Our skilled rodent control technicians are licensed and have the necessary expertise and equipment to provide long-term solutions for your family's safety.

Our effective rodent control strategies include sealing as many holes and cracks as possible on the outside of your home. Large holes or cracks in your foundation are filled with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam to keep mice from chewing through. Our pest control techs then seal any openings into your attic space to prevent mice and other unwanted guests out.

Some of the most common rodents we keep out of your home include the following:

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Opossums
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • More

Low Country Pest Management Pro Tip:

Great rodent control doesn't end when our technicians leave. To keep rodents as far away from your home as possible, remember to keep materials, such as firewood or stacks of lumber, away from the house to minimize hiding places. Debris and leaves should be removed from around the foundation of your home. Lastly, try to keep the inside of your home clean, tidy, and free of food items lying around.

Pest Control James Island, SC

Protect Your Home and Belongings with

Termite Control in James Island, SC

Termites can cause significant damage to your home's aesthetics and structural integrity, surpassing that of hurricanes and fires combined. With a single colony consisting of thousands or millions of members, termites have an endless supply of their favorite food: wood. As they relentlessly consume wood and other materials, extensive subterranean and dry wood damage can occur.

Unfortunately, in South Carolina, without professional termite control, it's not a matter of if termites will find your home but when. To make matters worse, most homeowner insurance policies do not cover termite damage, meaning it's imperative that you deal with termite infestations quickly and efficiently. If you suspect a termite infestation in your home, reach out to Low Country Pest Management ASAP for an inspection.

Our termite solutions include a bi-annual inspection (coming out to your house twice a year) instead of the standard one time per year, protecting your home from termites in South Carolina, including the destructive subterranean termite. Most other termite exterminators in South Carolina don't provide such comprehensive service.

 Rodent Control James Island, SC
 Ite Control James Island, SC

What Factors Contribute to Termites in Your Home?

In the Lowcountry and other areas of South Carolina, termites infest homes every day for various reasons. Different types of termites are attracted to wood, but each species has a specific preference for the type of wood they consume. Dampwood termites prefer damp wood, while drywood termites look for dry wood. On the other hand, subterranean termites require moist soil nearby and will devour any wood in contact with or close to the earth.

The following factors may lead to a termite infestation in your home:

  • Year-Round Humidity
  • Warm or Hot Weather
  • Moisture Due to Leaky Pipes, Bad Airflow, or Poor Drainage
  • Wood in Contact with Your Home, Like Mulch and Shrubs
  • Gaps in Your Home's Siding
  • Cracks or Fissures in the Foundation of Your Home

Tips for a Termite-Free Home

While professional termite control is always the best route to go for effective, long-term termite prevention, there are some steps you can take to help mitigate termites in your home.

phone (843) 810-7378
drainage

Correct Drainage Issues

To keep termites at bay, it's important to avoid excess moisture around your home. Termites thrive in damp conditions, so proper drainage around your house can help prevent an infestation. Check that your downspouts are directing water away from your home, and ensure that your A/C drip lines and faucets aren't causing water to pool around your foundation. Additionally, be sure to clean your gutters regularly to prevent any excess moisture buildup.

Move Mulch

Move Mulch

Most mulches are made of wood and are also damp or wet, creating the perfect environment for termites to thrive. Make sure you rake any mulch you have away from the foundation of your home to minimize termite infestations.

Keep Firewood Away

Keep Firewood Away

Much like mulch, firewood and other forms of wood like discarded branches can give termites easy access to your home when they're too close. Try to move firewood away from the foundation of your home much like you move mulch. For more tips on how you can mitigate a termite infestation in your home, contact Low Country Pest Management.

Crawlspace Pest Encapsulations:

Prevention from the Ground Up

To maintain an active infestation, household pests require three basic requirements: a food source, a harborage area for survival and reproduction, and moisture. Moisture problems within a property often lead to pest issues, making it necessary to include crawl space insect control in your home maintenance plan. Low Country Pest Management recognizes that eliminating excess moisture is crucial to safeguarding a property and its occupants from pests throughout the year.

That's why we often install crawlspace encapsulation for issues like rodent and termite control in James Island, SC.

 Pest Encapsulation James Island, SC
Lowcountry Pest Management James Island, SC

What is Crawlspace Encapsulation for Pest Control?

Encapsulation for pests is a tactic that includes covering the walls of your crawlspace with a heavy-duty vapor barrier material to help minimize moisture and, by proxy, keep pests at bay. This barrier is secured to your foundation's walls and ceiling piers. To further benefit an encapsulation for pest control, our team may use dehumidifiers, foundation fans, or foundation vents to further decrease moisture.

Signs You Need a Crawlspace Pest Encapsulation

Excessive moisture in and around a house can lead to the proliferation of household pests like rodents, spiders, house ants, carpenter ants, centipedes, earwigs, and crickets. If you notice any of the following signs, it may be time to consider crawl space insect control.

  • Smells of Must or Mold
  • Mildew on Your Floors or Ceilings
  • Soil in Crawlspace is Wet
  • Bricks or Masonry Around Home is Crumbling
  • Standing or Pooling Water Within or Near Foundation
  • Discoloration on Your Home’s Siding
  • Porch and Patio Water Stains
  • Spongy-Feeling Flooring

To learn more about pest encapsulation services from Low Country Pest Management, contact our office today. We would be happy to explain our process and hear more about the issues you're facing.

 Just Kill The Bugs James Island, SC

Trust the Best When

It's Time to Eliminate Pests

Whether you need rodent control in James Island, SC, or you're dealing with another form of pests such as termites, roaches, spiders, and more, Low Country Pest Management is here to help. Unlike some of our competition, our #1 goal is to ensure your safety, satisfaction, and peace of mind. Our team of skilled pest control professionals implements environmentally-friendly solutions supported by thorough research and cutting-edge methods to permanently eradicate your pest infestation.

In the unlikely event that any pests remain present after treatment, we'll return to your home or business to make it right. At the end of the day, we aim to simplify your pest control process in South Carolina, so you can focus on loving life in the Lowcountry.

phone (843) 810-7378

Get Quote

Latest News in James Island, SC

James Island comeback sends Trojans to Lower State final

Senior guard RJ Simmons has played only two seasons at James Island Charter School, transferring over after winning a SCISA state championship during his sophomore year at Cathedral Academy.His performance in Thursday night’s third-round game of the Class AAAA Lower State playoffs will be talked about with the greatest showings in school history.Simmons helped the Trojans complete an amazing second-half comeback with a game-tying layup as time expired in regulation, then drained a crucial 3-pointer and two free throws in ...

Senior guard RJ Simmons has played only two seasons at James Island Charter School, transferring over after winning a SCISA state championship during his sophomore year at Cathedral Academy.

His performance in Thursday night’s third-round game of the Class AAAA Lower State playoffs will be talked about with the greatest showings in school history.

Simmons helped the Trojans complete an amazing second-half comeback with a game-tying layup as time expired in regulation, then drained a crucial 3-pointer and two free throws in the extra session to lift James Island to a 75-72 upset of second-ranked Westwood, sending the Trojans to the Lower State championship game on Feb. 28 against perennial power Ridge View.

It will be James Island’s first fourth-round appearance since the 2014-15 season.

“It feels great that we stuck together and never stopped playing,” said Simmons, who finished the game with 17 points. “I felt all along that if we stayed together we could come back. Just had to stay together.”

In Class A boys, Cross advanced to Lower State with a 63-60 win over Carvers Bay, but visiting Bethune-Bowman knocked off Burke by 50-43.

James Island senior guard Braxton Scott, known more for his exploits as a quarterback in football, led the Trojans with 18 points. Gavin Ward added 15 points for the winners.

“We work hard and compete every day in practice so we never feel that we’re out of any game,” Scott said. “This team fights together. We know that our defense is how we win. We kept them from scoring in the second half. It’s our mindset.”

James Island trailed for most of the game, falling behind 30-11 with five minutes left in the second quarter. Early in the third period, Westwood opened a 40-22 lead but the Trojans slowly began to come back, using their defense to create easy scoring opportunities.

James Island trailed, 50-42, heading into the fourth quarter but Scott’s steal and layup tied the game at 53 with 4:30 remaining in the game.

Westwood took a 63-61 lead with seven seconds left, leaving the Trojans with one last possession. After a timeout, Simmons took an inbounds pass, dribbled around the paint and hit an uncontested layup at the horn.

“I was surprised I was sort of wide open to the basket,” he said. “It’s a drive I work on all the time and it just opened up for me.”

Prep Zone

Simmons’ 3-pointer in overtime came with the Trojans trailing, 70-68, with 36 seconds left. He calmly sank the free throw for a 72-70 lead. Simmons later added a free throw and Ward drained a pair for the final margin.

“I think the difference was the defense,” James Island’s first-year head coach Travis Smith said. “We started getting stops and that allowed us to find our rhythm offensively. For us, it starts with defense. Honestly, I wish I could take credit for this but this is all the kids. We have kids that play hard and play with a chip on their shoulder. They went out and won this game.”

Smith is a former all-state guard at Porter-Gaud in his first season as a prep head coach. His mentor, Porter-Gaud coach John Pearson, was in attendance to witness the comeback

Cross advances

The Cross High boys basketball team defeated Carver’s Bay, 63-60, to advance to the Class A Lower State finals on Feb. 26 at the Florence Civic Center.

Cross (23-5) will take on Bethune-Bowman in the Lower State championship game. Bethune-Bowman eliminated Burke from the playoffs on Thursday night.

SCISA

Cathedral Academy’s boys and girls teams will play for the SCISA Class A state title on Saturday at the Sumter Civic Center.

The Northwood Academy girls team will play Heathwood Hall in the SCISA Class AAAA finals on Friday night.

SCISA State Championships

Friday, Feb. 23, Sumter Civic Center

4 p.m.: Class 1A Girls, Curtis Baptist vs. Cross Schools

6 p.m.: Class 4A Girls, Northwood Academy vs. Heathwood Hall

Ridge View boys roll past James Island and into 4A state championship game

The Ridge View boys basketball team began the season No. 1 in the rankings. Now they have a chance to finish the year in the top spot.Senior Jayden Pretty scored 31 points and the Blazers moved on to the Class 4A state championship game with a 60-38 win over James Island on Wednesday night at the Florence Center.“Enjoy it,” Ridge View coach Joshua Staley said to his team in the locker room after the game. “What you did is nothing short of amazing. But we aren’t finished yet.”Ridge View will ...

The Ridge View boys basketball team began the season No. 1 in the rankings. Now they have a chance to finish the year in the top spot.

Senior Jayden Pretty scored 31 points and the Blazers moved on to the Class 4A state championship game with a 60-38 win over James Island on Wednesday night at the Florence Center.

“Enjoy it,” Ridge View coach Joshua Staley said to his team in the locker room after the game. “What you did is nothing short of amazing. But we aren’t finished yet.”

Ridge View will play Riverside at 8 p.m. Saturday at Florence Center in the final contest of the 10-game championship weekend.

It’s the Blazers’ seventh state title game appearance and sixth since 2018. But it’s the first trip under Staley, who took over for Yerrick Stoneman and is in his second year leading the program.

Ridge View is the third different school Staley has taken to the state championship. He took the Orangeburg-Wilkinson girls team there three times and A.C. Flora boys twice, winning it all in 2016.

The Blazers took their lumps in their first year under Staley, going 15-13 and losing in the second round of the playoffs to Wilson. The Blazers beat the Tigers this year to advance to the semifinals.

“I wouldn’t say we were all the way in last year,” Pretty said. “The trust wasn’t there. We had to learn to really believe in our coach.”

Ridge View returned most of its roster, including Pretty, and was ranked No. 1 in the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association’s Class 4A preseason poll. The Blazers started the year 16-0 and won the prestigious Chick-fil-A Classic tournament with wins over nationally ranked John Marshall (Va.) and Grayson (Ga.).

Ridge View moved into the national rankings for a few weeks before losing to rival Westwood and then to A.C. Flora in the regular season finale to finish second in Region 5-4A.

The loss to the Falcons was a wakeup call for the Blazers and for Pretty, who Staley called out for his effort and lack of leadership as one of the team’s seniors.

“When A.C. Flora beat us, he changed his mindset,” Staley said of Pretty. “He knew one of the reasons we took those two losses was because of his mindset. He changed his mindset, has been very mature in practice, and it has been good for the team.”

Pretty said the loss to A.C. Flora reminded him of the playoff loss to Wilson last season. It sparked an energy inside of him to want to go harder, he said.

“We haven’t had a leader this year, so I feel like I needed to step up and help my team,” Pretty said.

Pretty had 14 in the semifinal win over Wilson last week and turned in arguably his best performance of the season against James Island, which rallied to beat Westwood to advance to the semifinals.

Pretty had 15 of his points in the first half for the Blazers, who led 16-5 after the first quarter. James Island cut the deficit to 24-18 before Malachi Cooper’s basket right before halftime.

Ridge View ended any type of James Island comeback attempt with a strong third quarter and led 47-29.

RV: Jayden Pretty 31, Corbett 6, Davis 8, Mack 2, Cooper 5, J. Smith 1, Staley 4, T. Smith 2, Vankallen 1 JI: Jenkins 6, RJ Simmons 12, Linhart 6, Ward 8, Scott 4, Renault 2

This story was originally published February 28, 2024, 10:14 PM.

(803) 771-8419

Lou Bezjak is the High School Sports Prep Coordinator for The (Columbia) State and (Hilton Head) Island Packet. He previously worked at the Florence Morning News and had covered high school sports in South Carolina since 2002. Lou is a two-time South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.

Proposed James Island preschool sparks drainage worry for neighboring homeowners

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The site of a proposed preschool on James Island is causing some neighbors to worry about what their yards will look like during a storm or what the traffic will look like during rush hour.The city of Charleston’s Design Review Board approved the basics, like what kind of building materials and plants the developer wants to use, for example, at the proposed Goddard Preschool located at 1137 Folly Rd., ...

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The site of a proposed preschool on James Island is causing some neighbors to worry about what their yards will look like during a storm or what the traffic will look like during rush hour.

The city of Charleston’s Design Review Board approved the basics, like what kind of building materials and plants the developer wants to use, for example, at the proposed Goddard Preschool located at 1137 Folly Rd., at Tuesday night’s meeting.

However, neighbor Matthew Pertuset says he’s more worried about what the city will review later on.

“How is that going to affect the, not just the people that back up, but the entire neighborhood?” Pertuset said.

The proposed preschool sits directly behind Pertuset’s home in the Queenborough neighborhood. He says he’s worried about the design of this building’s drainage because of how it already acts during storms.

“We’re already holding water,” Pertuset said. “So, for that to come up even more, I’m not sure. So, it’s a huge concern.”

But Robert Summerfield, the director of planning, preservation and sustainability for the city of Charleston, said because they have some of the most comprehensive stormwater regulations in the region, no project could make the problem worse but could only improve it.

“They’re working very hard to make sure that they are utilizing the existing wetlands on site and enhancing that as a stormwater catchment area,” Summerfield said.

But that’s not the only concern.

“If it is going to be a pickup, you know, we’re right here on Folly Road, how does that look during rush hour traffic in the mornings and the afternoons?” Pertuset said. “Is it going to get pushed into our neighborhood for us to deal with or is it just going to come to a stop on Folly Road?”

Summerfield said the city has already thought about it.

“We have created a drop-off low space so that cars, as they come in and drop their children off or pick them up, will actually flow through the site so that there’s a queueing situation that will occur so that people aren’t ideally not queueing out on Folly,” Summerfield said.

Neither the Goddard School nor the applicant, AAG Architects for Vista 26, LLC, have responded to requests for comment.

However, Pertuset said no matter what comes on this property, he just wants the city to be thorough with their plans.

“It is something that the community needs,” Pertuset said. “I think James Island could afford to have another preschool.”

Summerfield said the city will discuss more drainage specifics once the developer submits the next step to the Technical Review Committee. They will have to pass all initial designs before that is done and there’s currently no timeline of when that might take place.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Homeowners fight to keep rain garden in flood-prone James Island yard; can HOA be stopped?

JAMES ISLAND — Whenever it rained, Craig and Jamie Bussard knew their yard would flood.It became saturated every time the skies opened up ever since they moved into their home on Ocean Neighbors Boulevard in 2015.Over time, the Bussards just accepted it as their reality.But then they saw a way out: plant a rain garden, a round space where native plants would soak up the downpour.The city of Charleston liked the idea and gave the couple a grant. The Homeowners Association and property manager signed off, too,...

JAMES ISLAND — Whenever it rained, Craig and Jamie Bussard knew their yard would flood.

It became saturated every time the skies opened up ever since they moved into their home on Ocean Neighbors Boulevard in 2015.

Over time, the Bussards just accepted it as their reality.

But then they saw a way out: plant a rain garden, a round space where native plants would soak up the downpour.

The city of Charleston liked the idea and gave the couple a grant. The Homeowners Association and property manager signed off, too, or the couple thought they did. And everything worked the way it was supposed to.

Until it didn't.

In November, the HOA said the rain garden didn’t get necessary approvals and demanded its removal. After months of correspondence, the HOA gave the Bussards until Feb. 27 to remove it. After that, the HOA threatened to hire a contractor to forcibly remove the garden of grasses and flowering plants at the Bussards’ expense.

“It just sends the wrong message to the entire neighborhood that the neighborhood doesn't care about environmental concerns or the environmental benefits and doesn't take the flooding measures seriously,” Craig Bussard said. “It just sets a bad precedent.”

But the fight goes on.

Floodwater management

Like many Lowcountry properties, lighter rains would cause water to collect and the ground to become soggy and muddy. Heavier rains would result in standing water that sometimes took weeks to drain away. Mosquitos were always a concern for the Bussards' young children and pets.

“We had kind of accepted it as something beyond our control and just grown used to not using that part of the yard or the gate on the side of the house,” Craig said noting that the flooding also afflicted their adjoining and sympathetic neighbor’s yard.

“That side yard that we share, it's just a mud pit any time it rains, any sort of amount,” said Kayleigh Coda, the Bussards' neighbor. “That's where our trash cans are taken in and out from the backyard, so it's just a mess.”

Then the Bussards heard about the Charleston’s Rainproof Mini-Grant Program, which provides homeowners with $200 and training on how to properly install a rain garden on their property.

Rain gardens are sunken gardens that capture stormwater and help it absorb into the ground within 24 hours. This can prevent runoff that can flood neighbors’ yards and streets.

“The responsible way is to keep the water on your property, and rain gardens allow you to do that,” said Katy Calloway, a resident of the Ocean Neighbors community who specializes in stormwater management.

The idea piqued the Bussards’ interest: What if they didn’t have to accept flooding as their reality? What if they planted a rain garden and it worked to benefit not just them but their neighbors too?

“As soon as (the grant application) opened, we applied to it, and we also shared to the community Facebook page … how excited we were about this and how we’d love to see this in the community more because we're on James Island, where things flood constantly,” Craig said.

The Bussards submitted their application in August and were notified it had been accepted the following month. Throughout September, the Bussards completed the required in-person and online training on rain gardens and what to do to make it successful: Rain gardens require careful planning and attention to soil, elevation and selected plants.

Rising Waters

“One of the key parts of making sure a rain garden is successful is choosing a location, so you’re supposed to perform a few different tests,” Craig said. “When it rains really heavily, you’re supposed to go out into your yard and watch the water flow.”

It surprised Craig and Jamie when these tests revealed the front yard would be a better location than the backyard, he noted.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Coda, who has a rain garden in her backyard. “ … A lot of effort and time goes into it, picking the right local plants, which ones go together really well, the spacing and all of that.”

Miscommunications with the HOA would prove to be even more work for the Bussards, putting not just their garden at risk, but the future of sustainable landscaping practices for the entire community.

Miscommunication

The Bussards submitted their plans to their HOA and property management company, Poston Community Management, in September. Their application included the garden’s proposed front-yard location and the combination of flowering plants and grasses they planned to use.

Dean Monk, chairman of the HOA’s Architectural Control Committee, emailed his approval, “as long as we keep it according to the covenants, basically weeding and making sure nothing overgrows,” Craig said.

But the next day, property manager spokesperson Melissa Blocker sent an email contradicting the chairman’s decision: The committee denied the Bussards' application.

Our public service and investigative reporting is among the most important work we do. It's also the most expensive reporting we do. We can't do it without your support.

After requesting the reason, Blocker wrote in an email to the Bussards that the committee researched rain gardens and noted that they can “get out of control and look unkempt/unmaintained.”

“Any kind of landscaping can become messy and unkempt if it's not maintained, so that just seemed really irrelevant,” Craig noted.

News

After multiple correspondences, the Bussards pointed out that the neighborhood’s guidelines both encourage experimentation with native plants and don’t require approval for the addition of plants under 36 inches in height.

Since the rain garden didn’t include any plants over that height, the Bussards and property manager agreed they did not need additional approvals, Craig said. Blocker acknowledged this in writing on Oct. 6.

She did not respond to requests for comment.

On the weekend of Oct. 22, they dug the 200 square-foot flowerbed and planted native plants, including Stokes aster, sweetspire, black-eyed Susans, bee balm and echinacea. They also routed the gutter drain and added three bags of mulch, Craig recalled.

A few days later, Blocker notified the Bussards that there was a misunderstanding: Since the rain garden is a new flower bed that adds to their overall footprint, it does need HOA approval. She wrote in the email that the HOA requested them to stop all work on the garden until they get approval, but by that point, the rain garden was already finished, Craig said.

“We’d already completed everything, other than maybe four or five additional bags of mulch that we needed,” he said. “All the plants were there, and everything was dug and everything was ready to go.”

Craig said they finished mulching the garden at that point to make it more aesthetically pleasing and to protect the newly planted plants.

The Bussards submitted another application to the HOA committee on Oct. 30, which was denied about a week later. The committee stipulated that the rain garden had to be removed and filled in with dirt and sod within 30 days.

The Bussards appealed to the HOA’s Board of Directors, which consists of five community members, including HOA president Ellen Souter. The board also denied the request.

Souter declined to comment on the record due to ongoing litigation.

In a Facebook comment, Souter wrote, "There are two sides to every story."

Calloway, a member of the board at this time, said that she and one other board member voted in favor of the Bussards’ request. The remaining three members, including Souter, voted against.

“Craig's project, in my opinion, was mishandled by the HOA from the get-go,” Calloway said, noting the reason for this change was based on the aesthetic of the garden.

“The concern was not about practicality and stormwater management,” she said. “The concern is that the Bussards’ yard is at the front of the neighborhood, and people see it, and they don’t think it’s pretty.”

Rain gardens take time to grow and flower, Calloway, Coda and the Bussards said.

“That's really tough because a natural yard that's functioning for the good of the environment looks very different than a yard that's full of grass and has no plants,” Calloway said.

The Bussards and Coda said the rain garden has “definitely” helped alleviate flooding issues. Craig said they’ve tried to negotiate with the HOA, without success.

“We’ve been willing and begging, basically … to work something out here,” he said. “This is for the good of the community. It seems like there are some misunderstandings between (the property manager), board and the (Architectural Control Committee), but let’s try to work this out and be adults. But my attempts to negotiate have just flat-out been refused.”

The HOA’s attorney notified the Bussards’ attorney that the HOA will give them until Feb. 27 to remove their rain garden. Otherwise, the HOA would hire a contractor to do so at the Bussards’ expense, Craig said.

No formal written notice of this action had been issued by the time of publication.

A garden worth fighting for

Craig said they had every intention to uproot the garden the weekend of Feb. 23, but they couldn’t bring themselves to do it. The Bussards turned to the community for support for one last try. They posted on their community’s Facebook page on Feb. 24.

“It instantly blew up,” Craig said. “We've not gotten a single negative response other than from the board president.”

The Bussards hosted an information session at their home on Feb. 25 and got more than 20 signatures on a petition to save the garden within the first 30 minutes of the meeting, Craig said.

This show of support inspired the Bussards to try and keep their garden.

“We truly believe that the environmental benefits and drastic improvements in flooding mitigation the rain-proof garden has achieved is worth fighting for,” he said.

Crews continue work on water main breaks that caused road damage

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Crews are continuing to work to repair two major water main breaks that happened within a day of each other on James Island and in West Ashley.Public Information Administrator for Charleston Water System Mike Saia says while the collapsed ground looks like a sinkhole, the damage didn’t happen that way in a technical sense. The damage to the ground and roads is from the strong water pressure when the water lines broke under the pressure. The water force caused the ground around the pipe to explode outw...

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Crews are continuing to work to repair two major water main breaks that happened within a day of each other on James Island and in West Ashley.

Public Information Administrator for Charleston Water System Mike Saia says while the collapsed ground looks like a sinkhole, the damage didn’t happen that way in a technical sense. The damage to the ground and roads is from the strong water pressure when the water lines broke under the pressure. The water force caused the ground around the pipe to explode outward as opposed to sinking inward.

“Main breaks in the late part of the winter or early spring are really very common because the temperatures take wild swings with freezing one day, then they were in the 70s for a few days. After that what happens is that temperature change inside our mains really changed the structure of the pipe and to make it a little bit more brittle,” Saia says.

Saia says the water lines themselves were fixed quickly and based on the locations of the breaks, only a few customers were affected for a short time on Highway 61.

“Our main break for Fort Johnson Road was a 24-inch water main, a much bigger pipe with much bigger impact to the site and the road. But no customers were without water at any time because we were able to route the water from other means in the area and keep our customers in service at all times,” Saia says.

“It is likely Fort Johnson will be closed for at least several more days while all repairs are completed,” the town said in an updated post Sunday night. The post attributes the delay to expected rain it states will complicate the already extensive repairs to the broken water line.

With water access and pipe structure handled, now their work turns to repairing the damaged roadways. Saia says on Highway 61 luckily one lane has remained open, and it is a smaller issue that can be fixed faster than the major break on James Island.

“Our crews responded immediately but when a 24-inch water main breaks, it creates a lot of devastation and a lot of destruction. And it took Fort Johnson completely out of service where it remains today. It’ll probably take us another two days, maybe even three to get the road restored,” Saia says.

Saia says Charleston Water System handles about 150 main breaks a year and these two are on the larger side of the average leak. He says crews are always on standby for this type of situation. He explains the cost of repairs is within the system’s regular budget.

“We’re able to handle all the street repairs on Highway 61 and will eventually bring a contractor in to do the final paving. But we are absolutely fully relying on a contractor to do the site remediation for Fort Johnson and because it’s such a very large area, actually contractors are going to do all the backfilling and all the paving throughout the remainder of the project,” Saia said.

James Island First Presbyterian Church sits at the corner of Fort Johnson and Jeffords Street. Despite the main break over the weekend, they were able to get their water running and a plan in place so Sunday Services went off without a hitch.

Mike Terelak, ruling elder on the Buildings and Grounds Committee for the church, says it was a team effort and he talked a lot with the Charleston Water System and SCDOT who helped them get through Sunday and make sure families have access to the child-care center this week.

“We had our annual Chili Cook-Off, which is a big event here. It raised a lot of money for James Island outreach and other missions that we run. And everybody came out, it was a big great time. We had a baptism, we have new members joining the church. So it was a really great day for our church and a little bit of mud wouldn’t have stopped that,” Terelak says.

Saia says since the roads are the Department of Transportation’s, he is in contact with officials there and everyone is collaborating toward a solution as fast as is possible. Saia asks that everyone who can, steer clear of Fort Johnson Road which he expects will be fully closed until at least Wednesday.

Charleston Water System will have a mobile board placed on Fort Johnson to direct drivers to turn onto Secessionville Road, the post states. Those closer to the site will see Charleston County Sheriff’s Office detour signs directing them around the sinkhole by way of Avenue A and then to Folly Road.

The post urged drivers to avoid the area if possible, suggesting Camp Road or Harbor View Road as alternate routes.

The Charleston Water System was able to divert water Saturday morning to ensure that homes in the area had working water. Anyone who does not have water service should call the Charleston Water System at 843-727-6800.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.