Seattle is leading the charge when it comes to handling a lot of issues, but especially when it comes to how we manage and mitigate our rainwater. With increased construction in the area (and therefore increased impervious surfaces), the city is grappling with how best to manage these effects on our aging infrastructure. Currently the city manages 100 million gallons of polluted runoff each year through on-site stormwater management practices, but their goal is to increase that amount to 700 million gallons by 2025.
There are a lot of ways we can help reduce runoff:
- Plant trees (Seattle LOVES trees)
- Improve your soil with compost/mulch
- Collect water in a cistern and reuse it for irrigation
- Reduce paved areas
- Use alternative paving options (think porous)
- Work with an existing building to try to minimize your site disruption (we can help with that!)
Perhaps the easiest, most visually attractive, and homeowner friendly option available to us is by implementing a rain garden on your site. A raingarden is a shallow depression that can hold and soak up runoff from roofs or driveways. They are typically composed of compost amended soils and a mix of plants suited to the location in your yard. You can dress them up with river rocks or more sculptural landscape boulders as accents.
So what does this rain garden do and why is it important? It performs several key functions. 1) It collects water from roofs and paved surfaces on site during periods of rainfall; 2) It slows down the infiltration of water into the ground which in turn reduces the amount of water that gets directed to city storm systems; 3) It helps filter the water and reduce contamination that enters our storm system and ultimately our public waters; 4) It makes you feel good about doing your part to keep Puget Sound clean and our wildlife healthy!
You may even be eligible for a city rebate if you meet specific criteria. To check your eligibility, enter your address here:
If you are interested in installing a rain garden of your own, you can find additional information on how to do so here: