What is a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is a shallow depression planted with a variety of flowers, shrubs, and grasses that "don't mind getting their feet wet." Rain gardens help soak up rainwater from streets, downspouts, driveways, and sidewalks, while protecting local waterways. When planted with the right types of plants, rain gardens also attract birds, butterflies, and bees.
Stormwater flowing along the curb flows through a catch basin into the surface of the rain garden. The stormwater runoff is filtered by the soil and plants.
Because these rain gardens are located in a critical drinking water aquifer recharge area, these gardens are lined and an underdrain collects the treated stormwater and sends it to the City's stormwater pipe system in adjacent streets.
As you can see in the picture, these rain gardens are missing their plants. The City deferred planting them until the rainy season starts in the fall, to ensure they become well established. These rain gardens will not be irrigated, with the exception of some supplemental watering next summer to help the plants through their first dry season. They will be planted with drought tolerant, hardy native plants.
In the summer of 2011, the City constructed a new segment of 161st Avenue between Redmond Way and Cleveland. Four new urban rain gardens were constructed as part of the project.