Live Green in Your Yard & Garden


As we transition to the autumn season, now is the time to think about preparing for the fall rains.  Last year our region saw record rainfall events and climate projections indicate this trend will continue. There are things you can do around your property to capture, slow and store rainwater to minimize the peak flows and reduce flooding in our neighbourhoods.

Historically, stormdrain systems were designed to move water off the land as quickly as possible. But this can be like turning a fire hose on our local creeks and streams, devastating fish habitat. 

Now we know that it's important to allow rainwater to infiltrate into the ground to help protect aquatic habitat, filter pollutants and capture and store rainwater. Municipalities have been installing Green Stormwater Infrastructure around the region to help solve this issue but there are things the property owner can do as well.

This fall, take action to manage your rainwater.

Consider the following solutions to capture, slow and store rainwater with these top four tips:

1. Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is simply the collection and storage of rainwater. Collecting rain from your downspouts to use on your lawn and garden helps to slow stormwater runoff, a rising issue in our region as we face climate change and increased rainfall.

Rainwater harvesting can also reduce your water consumption if planned accordingly and enough water is stored to water your garden during the dry summer months. 


2. Build a Rain Garden

Rain Gardens are landscape features designed to capture stormwater runoff from hard surface areas such as roofs, roads and parking lots. They consist of sunken garden spaces where runoff can pond and infiltrate into deep constructed soils and then into the native soils below. They need to be designed and installed carefully, however they are an effective option to manage our rain water.


3. Plant Native Trees and Shrubs

Native species of plants have thrived in our region for millennia and have evolved with native insects, birds and mammals to support each other. They are also water-wise and require little watering once established in the right spot. Native trees and shrubs can help us to manage our rain water by absorbing and storing rain where it falls in our yards. Creating an absorbent landscape around your property is one of the best things you can do to reduce and prevent flooding as we face a changing climate, with increased rainfall.  

4. Go Pervious! Reduce paved areas

As we build our communities, native vegetation is removed to create roads, driveways, and buildings. These hard surfaces are impervious and rain can not absorb. This creates stormwater runoff and can cause flooding, erosion, pollution and habitat degradation in our creeks, streams and shorelines.

Take action by choosing pervious paving options such as brick, grass or gravel to allow the rain to naturally absorb where it falls and reduce hardscaped areas, where possible.