Reducing runoff from your property

Private residences contribute stormwater from driveways, walkways and roofs. Additional water is contributed when cars are washed or driveways hosed.

As a homeowner you can increase the amount of water that infiltrates into the ground and/or maintain the quality of runoff with a few simple design and landscaping ideas.

  1. Decrease the amount of impervious surface around your property. Look at the width of your driveway and sidewalks. Can the size be reduced and still allow for safe passage and shoveling? Can you invest in a more pervious surface? New pavers allow for drainage between units and reduce the level of runoff.

The Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT) has a section on Tree Planting in their guide:
Service and Fundraising Projects Focused on Protecting Water Quality in the Twin Ports.

  1. Create a map of where the water flows on your property. Can you redirect water flow away from the street? Are there low spots that can serve as holding ponds? These should be well away from the house and can be landscaped with plants that tolerate wet conditions (see rain gardens). By creating gardens in low spots, an otherwise wet lawn can be drained and attractive landscaping created. These created gardens add to the beauty of your property and address rainfall. Downspouts can be directed to these gardens to allow infiltration into the ground. Avoid directing a downspout to your driveway and into the street. This will allow water to infiltrate into grass and avoid winter icing problems.
  2. Consider putting in a rain barrel. Read more about rain barrels here.
  3. Landscape to conserve and treat water. Plantings and trees are much more effective in trapping water than grass. The smaller the lawn the more effective the water treatment and less mowing is necessary. Consider constructing a rain garden.

finished rain garden

Final results from the Lakeside (a Duluth, MN Neighborhood) Stormwater Reduction Project (2008-2011) are now available here.