Rain gardens, rain barrels and redirected downspouts. All are examples of common green stormwater techniques used on residential properties that help restore the natural movement of water. These measures slow, capture, or absorb rainfall to:
- Reduce the volume of runoff leaving your property and entering the drainage system and local waterways
- Reduce pollutants entering waterways and
- Recharge groundwater.
Innovative, practical and effective, citizens can use these measures to address stormwater runoff issues such as drainage, erosion, and flooding on their own property. But these practices can also have a positive, meaningful impact on stormwater runoff and water quality beyond property lines and within the local watershed.
Check out these common types of green stormwater infrastructure and consider which may be a good fit for your property. Every effort helps reduce stormwater runoff and maintain the quality of our waterways.
Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater for plants and gardens and reduce stormwater runoff.
Place under downspouts that are cut to fit the height of the barrel. Create a stand of cinder blocks or other decorative stone to increase water pressure through gravity, helping the water flow from the barrel to your garden.
Check your HOA covenants for possible restrictions.
A small rain garden can go a long way to reducing stormwater runoff, absorb pollutants, and address chronically wet areas while enhancing the appeal of your landscape. Properly designed rain gardens soak runoff into the ground within three days of a rainfall and will remain dry until the next rain event.
For more, including how to build one for your yard, check out this Rain Garden Manual.
Close-up view of pavers and joints
Permeable pavers reduce stormwater runoff by allowing rainwater to pass through them or infiltrate through paver joints to the soil below. Learn more about installing this porous concrete and the additional benefits to your property and our community.
Increasing green areas in your landscape by removing cracked patios, sheds or other structures that are no longer being used helps absorb rainwater and reduce runoff.
A grass swale is a graded open channel that drains and directs stormwater runoff within the landscaped area. It reduces runoff by allowing rainwater to be absorbed and filtered into the soil.
Cisterns are large-scale rain barrels installed above or below ground that capture and store rainwater from roof downspouts. Unlike rain barrels that typically hold 55 gallons, cisterns have a capacity to hold hundreds of gallons of water.
Wondering if a cistern is right for your property? Consider the square footage of your roof, watering needs and cost. And don't forget to review your HOA covenants for any restrictions.
(Left: Before; Right: After)
Planting trees or other types of plants within a riparian buffer helps reduce stormwater runoff. In addition to the positive impact these plantings have on controlling stormwater, they improve water quality and help prevent the stream from eroding away your property.