Residential Stormwater Management Tips

  • Capture water from a downspout in a rain barrel or cistern. Rain barrels are a cost-effective way to reduce stormwater runoff near its source and to catch the “first flush” of stormwater from your roof. Rain barrels also provide a source of irrigation water for use in gardening or lawn maintenance.
  • Direct other downspouts away from pavement and toward grassy, mulched or planted areas. You can attach a perforated plastic “French drain” pipe and bury it in order to cross a stretch of lawn with the drainage. If you don’t have gutters, dig a 3-inch to six-inch deep infiltration trench under the drip line and fill it with gravel to decrease erosion as well as standing water.
  • Create a residential rain garden. A rain garden is a shallow depression in the ground that captures run-off from your driveway or roof and allows it to soak into the ground. Overflow from a rain barrel can be directed to rain gardens.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to remove plant debris and soil from your driveway.
  • Reduce the size of impervious paved driveways, walkways, parking areas and patios. As repairs are needed to parking areas and walking paths, consider using permeable paving such as interlocking pavers or gravel.
  • Instead of piping stormwater to a roadside ditch, install bio-swales to carry stormwater run-off. Many bio-swales are simply wide, shallow, vegetated depressions that are gently sloped and directed toward areas that can easily stand an influx of water; they are really nothing more than a grass-lined ditch.
  • Design new construction to allow water to soak in to the ground. Decks should be built with gaps between the boards and bricks, and concrete lattice pavers or stones should be used for paved areas. If you’re building a new building, consider constructing a green roof.


– Ann Wilde is a Des Moines marketing strategist and writer who also has a special interest in preserving and creating sustainable communities.

Speak Your Mind