The three guiding principles:

  1. Help keep properties safe from water damage
  2. Manage rain where it falls
  3. Create beautiful, functional, and sophisticated landscapes

AVESI’s custom landscape solutions are designed to manage drainage efficiently and sustainably by using a combination of traditional landscaping methods and modern Low Impact Development features to help keep properties safe from water damage while reducing run-off through natural landscape features.

AVESI offers one-on-one expertise to property owners looking to keep their properties safe from water damage while providing the environmental benefits of rainscaping.

AVESI was conceived to help people understand how stormwater management impacts fresh water resources. The goal is to facilitate local actions that yield regional benefits.

I invite you to be a part of the stormwater solution and to help keep our homes safe and our water clean.


My name is Michael Albanese, and I am the person behind AVESI. I’m a native of Stoney Creek and a graduate of Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School. Following graduation I attended the University of Waterloo, the University of Helsinki, and Concordia University where I earned a Bachelor of Physical Geography and Environmental Management, as well as a Diploma in Ecology and Management of Urban Green Spaces. I am currently enrolled at Ryerson University completing their Landscape Design program.

Since 2012 I have been involved with the RAIN program, which helps people and communities take an ecological approach to stormwater management. As a pioneering member of the RAIN Home Visit program I am excited to continue helping people discover how natural techniques can be used to solve drainage problems.

I am also an assessor for the Home Flood Protection Program – a flood risk reduction education program developed by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo to help homeowners reduce their risk of basement flooding and minimize damage if flooding occurs.

Water is the most valuable resource that we have, and it’s our responsibility to manage it wisely. I studied with the intention of bringing my knowledge back to Southern Ontario and beyond. Offering AVESI services to the public is the best way for me have a positive impact on both my community and the environment. Please enjoy the website and feel free to get in touch with me!


A from the family name Albanese

VESI being the Finnish word for water


Hard urban surfaces like asphalt and concrete produce stormwater runoff which contributes to regional flash flooding, property damage, stream erosion, and poor water quality. Reducing stormwater runoff by absorbing rain and snowmelt into the ground helps to keep properties and neighbourhoods safe while restoring valuable ecosystem services.

AVESI is about empowering property owners to add landscape elements that will look beautiful and sophisticated, while at the same time provide benefits to the environment and the community.

The two blue lines of the logo represent the processes of infiltration and percolation – which are water entering the ground and water travelling downward through the soil. As more water infiltrates it percolates deeper underground, which is represented by darker line on the bottom.


AVESI is a proud member of the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition.

GIO envisions a future in which the contributions made by green infrastructure to our collective quality of life are recognized, protected, maintained, and enhanced.

Specifically, the coalition advocates for:

  • decision-makers in both the public and private sector to quantify the economic, social, environmental and health benefits of green infrastructure
  • policy improvements at both the municipal and provincial level to facilitate green infrastructure opportunities
  • a shift in both public and private investment, that leads to greater protection and enhancement of green infrastructure


testimonial_ballentine_photoAVESI specializes in custom drainage solutions. From diagnosis to planning and execution each landscape is customized to meet the drainage needs of each property while reflecting the aesthetic values of each customer. Landscape plans are designed to manage water as efficiently as possible using a combination of traditional landscaping methods with modern Low Impact Development (LID) features.

For larger, more complex jobs AVESI offers general contracting duties by coordinating tasks between highly capable and credible subcontractors. This includes scheduling and overseeing construction to ensure that plans are executed properly.

Subcontractors can be gathered from a wide range of services to deliver a complete package including:

  • roofing/eavestroughs
  • hardscape (driveways, patios, retaining walls)
  • basement waterproofing
  • property grading
  • tree services
  • plumbing

rain-barrel-installationRain barrels are one of the most commonly used tools for managing stormwater at the property level. AVESI does all things rain barrel; from determining ideal location and size, to installation, and maitenance. Proper installation of downspout attachments and overflow hoses will ensure each rain barrel is working properly.


A rain garden is a popular Low Impact Development feature specially designed to temporarily hold and absorb runoff originating from nearby surfaces like roofs, roads, driveways, and lawns. Typically planted with native shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, and groundcovers rain gardens use specially mixed soils to encourage infiltration and establish a healthy network of plant roots.

Rain gardens are ideal for property owners experiencing drainage issues such ponding and erosion as well as property owners looking to create habitat for native flora and fauna – including pollinators. Rain gardens are completely customizable and can be designed to deliver any desired aesthetic.

Downspouts directly connected to underground foundation drains or weeping tiles can be disconnected at the surface and creatively incorporated into the landscape. Downspout disconnection is encouraged by municipal staff because they increased the risk of urban flooding during heavy rains. Clogged or aged foundation drains and weeping tiles can also lead to excess basement moisture.

Permeable paving involves using specialized materials to create vehicle and pedestrian pathways which allow for infiltration of water. Avesi uses an engineered geo-grid known as Ecoraster; which offers the highest quality ground reinforcement system made from recycled plastic materials. These geo-grids are incredibly versatile and are guaranteed with a 20-year manufacturer warranty. From simple walking paths, to small driveway extensions, to heavily sloped / eroding areas, to full driveway replacement the versatility of Ecoraster means there is a solution to fit your needs.



Downspouts are responsible for directing water away from your house so their arrangement can often be the most important part of any stormwater management plan. Many damp basements and soggy landscapes are caused by improper downspout arrangements.

The goal should be to direct water into areas where it will not pose a threat to your foundation or landscape features.

There are endless options for where a downspout can be directed once disconnected. Rain arbors are great for bringing downspouts over top of walkways or patios without causing a tripping hazard. Drain receptors can be installed to help drain water underground and away from foundations.

The traditional practice of directing water into municipal drains and sewers has been a primary contributor to urban flooding as many municipalities encourage or even mandate downspout disconnection.


No two properties are exactly alike, so no two gardens should be exactly alike. By carefully considering aspects like: desired aesthetic, available space, soil conditions, watering needs, location to adjacent buildings, and topography of the land each garden is custom designed and built. Native soils can be amended with materials like compost and gravel to achieve the desired soil properties. The soil mixture may be the most important part of any garden and with the right approach raingardens can even work on clay soils.

Raingardens double as pollinator and butterfly gardens. Planting native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees can enhance biodiversity on any property.

This concept is all about absorbing rainwater into the landscape to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation infrastructure like sprinklers and pipes. By using rainwater to satisfy your watering requirements rainwater storage devices like rain barrels or cisterns are not always necessary, but can be incorporated into the landscape when desired. These systems are very adaptable and work best when customized to your properties unique characteristics.

Basic rules to follow when infiltration stormwater on your property:

  • Keep any infiltration features a minimum of 10 feet and downhill from the foundation
  • Identify areas that will be used for storage, conveyance, and infiltration
  • Amend soil to ensure it drains well and is hospitable to the appropriate plant varieties
  • Select the appropriate plant varieties based on personal preferences and local growing conditions


Harvesting rainwater can drastically reduce or eliminate the need to use municipally treated tap water. Rainwater storage devices are available in a variety of sizes and styles and can be installed either above or below ground, depending on property conditions and customer preferences. They work great as a part of a larger stormwater management system.

Landscape erosion can take many forms. The common thread when experiencing landscape erosion is water is not being drained properly. It is a worth while exercise to inspect your landscape for signs of erosion: bare or exposed soil, soil/debris deposits, slumping hardscape. Erosion is something that should be addressed as soon as it is detected. Over time it often worsens and leads to other associated landscape failures. Erosion can be addressed using simple measures like grading, planting, berms, and improving soil quality. There are a number of landscape products that address erosion and can be customized to fit the needs of each landscape.





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Frequently Asked Questions

A ‘water related problem’ is one that is caused in part by rain and/or snowmelt. These problems can be either outside or inside the home. In most cases problems that are seen inside the home are caused by problems originating outside. Some of the more common water related problems seen inside the house include:

  • Moist / wet basement
  • Efflorescence on basement walls and floors
  • Cracks in foundation walls and floors
  • Rotting basement window frames
  • Sewer back-up

Some of the more common water related problems seen outside the house include:

  • Water ponding on the surface / excessively muddy or soggy conditions
  • Improper grading
  • Damaged / undersized eaves and downspouts
  • Downspouts connected directly into municipal sewer infrastructure
  • Unmaintained / improperly used rain barrels / cisterns
  • Erosion / bare soil

Water problems exist for both newer and older homes. Typically older homes that are built with fieldstone foundations will experience more infiltration because they are designed to let some amount of water pass through to equalize pressure from the outside. Newer homes problems tend to stem from improper eaves and downspout configuration and failing surface grading. Since water flows downhill, landscape grading is often the starting point when addressing water related problems, regardless of the age of the home.

Homeowners are encouraged to venture outside during a rain event to discover where rain and snowmelt is flowing. If water is ponding within 8 feet of the foundation it is an immediate red flag. If water has made its way into the basement chances are that situation has been developing over time and has ultimately manifested itself inside the house. Don’t wait for water to come into the basement before taking action – the best approach to stormwater management is a proactive approach. A moist basement means the soil directly next to your foundation is too wet, and that moisture is seeping through foundation walls. If there is water coming up any basement drains during or soon after a rain event that may be a problem with a foundation drain or cross connection with a sewer lateral – an inspection from a licensed plumber is encouraged.

Some common signs to look for inside the home include: efflorescence (white mineral deposit on concrete / stone surfaces), cracks in foundation walls / floors (monitor cracks for signs of moisture during and after rain / melt events), damp smell, moist air, and mold.

There are many ways to keep water away from the foundation. Methods that are appropriate for one property may not work on another because there are many outside variables that determine each homes drainage situation (e.g. roof size, property size, proximity to neighbors, amount of green space, amount of paved areas, decks, pools, etc.)

The starting points are landscape grading, downspout orientation, and areas designated for conveying / absorbing stormwater. How these factors are strategically used to manage stormwater will be unique to each home.

  • Loss of personal property
  • Reduced property value
  • Increased insurance premiums / loss of coverage
  • Expensive post-flooding clean up and renovation projects
  • Possibility of mold growth
  • Structural damage
  • Loss of ‘peace of mind’ that your house and belongings are safe

Traditionally, residential properties are designed to direct stormwater into municipal sewer systems. This is done using a combination of features such as connected downspouts, foundation drains, and landscape grading.

Over the years this approach has been seen to contribute to urban flooding and local water quality degradation. In recent decades building codes and bi-laws have transitioned away from combined sewers and connected downspouts.

Storm sewers shed rain and snow melt from our urban environments by conveying water that collects over impermeable surfaces (roads, parking lots, roofs, etc.) into local creeks and rivers.

The type of sewer servicing each property will depend on its location within the City – older neighborhoods are serviced by a combined system that conveys both stormwater and wastewater, while newer neighborhoods are serviced by separated storm and sanitary sewers. The sewer lateral is the length of pipe that runs from the building to the City’s main sewer.

For information on responsibility from municipalities and private property owners on sewer lateral management it is best to contact the specific municipality in question.

A sump pump is used to drain any water pooling around your foundation. This water is collected in a catch basin known as a sump pit. Often times foundation drains and downspouts can be connected directly to a sump pit where it is then pumped outside a safe distance away from the foundation, or directly into the municipal sewer system. It is not best practice to connect water from sump pits into the municipal sewer because it contributes to urban flooding. The sump pump discharge point is crucial to ensuring foundations stay dry and that water is being directed a safe distance away from the house.

This is very case specific, not every house will need one, but some will. In order to determine if a sump pump is necessary an assessment of the current drainage situation is required. This assessment is crucial in formulating a strategy to keep each individual property safe from water damage. The best approach is to keep water away from the foundation from outside. If there is enough room to manage water appropriately from the outside sump pumps can be avoided.

No… not if it is designed properly. Since rain gardens are designed to capture and infiltrate water, some amount of temporary ponding will need to be expected. Each rain garden is different and aspects like: size, contributing area, storm severity, soil conditions, state of vegetation, etc will determine how long if at all water ponds on a rain garden. Generally water may pond for a few hours until it can infiltrate into the soil. If water is ponding for more than 24 hours chances are there has been a design flaw with the rain garden that should be addressed.


The amount of living creatures (plants, animals, insects, etc.) that exist in a certain space. Healthier, more stable landscapes tend to have higher amounts of biodiversity. Changing or adding different types of plants can increase overall biodiversity of a space by attracting a variety of creatures such as birds, animals and insects. Native plants will attract native creatures.

Referring to the tightness or looseness of soil. Both infiltration and percolation are limited in soils which are overly compacted. Soils is gardens, especially rain gardens, should be loosened and non compacted to allow for proper drainage.

A downspout is ‘connected’ when it is fed directly into the city storm sewer system. Connected downspouts have been linked to flooding and sewer back up in urban areas, along with habitat destruction in local waterways. Redirecting downspouts onto a lawn, rain garden, or rain barrel is known as downspout disconnection. The water has to go somewhere so be sure to consider where the water would go before disconnecting a downspout.

Infiltration is the process of water absorbing into the soil. Many people attempt to solve drainage issues by direct water from one place to another when often the best approach is to let nature do the work by absorbing it into the soil.

Low impact development (LID) is a green infrastructure approach to stormwater management that uses simple, distributed, and cost effective landscaped features and techniques that helps reduce basement flood risks, clean and store stormwater, and helps residents conserve water. Conventional ‘Grey’ stormwater management approaches prioritize runoff, where newer Low Impact Development approaches prioritize infiltration.

Percolation is the downward movement of water through soil. Soil will act as a filter removing pollutants and regulating temperature of the water as it moves downward.

Permeable refers to a surface that will allow water to drain through it (infiltration). A surface that will not allow water to drain through it is known as impermeable. A natural permeable surface is a rain garden; but things like driveways, walkways, and patios can also be constructed as permeable surfaces.

A rain garden is a shallow landscape depression with well-draining biologically active soil designed to capture and infiltrate stormwater. Commonly planted with deep-rooted native perennials, shrubs, and grasses, rain gardens are best positioned near a runoff source like a downspout, driveway, or sump pump.

Rainscaping is the process of using one or a combination of features to manage stormwater as close as possible to where it falls, rather than moving it somewhere else. Features such as raingardens and bioswales use trees, shrubs, perennials, mulch, and healthy soil to intercept rain as it falls, and encourage water to infiltrate into the soil.

Also known as ‘runoff’, or ‘stormwater runoff’. It’s water that collects over impermeable urban surfaces like roads, roofs, driveways, and parking lots; picks up pollutants like oil, grease, bacteria, and hydrocarbons before draining into local waterways without treatment. Any amount of rain can generate stormwater; even melting snow is considered stormwater.

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