Water Quality Improvement

Read the latest from the Water Quality Improvement team.

View All Posts

Oct 06

PCD Rain Garden Illustrated by Graham French

Posted on October 6, 2023 at 9:47 AM by Gracie DeMeo

What is a rain garden? A rain garden is the world's prettiest sponge. Scenic native plants in a low shallow divot of earth create areas where rainwater can pool and pollutants can be filtered out before they reach groundwater. You've probably seen one in your neighborhood, or perhaps at the demonstration garden just outside of Pierce Conservation District's Office.

Water Specialist AmeriCorps Member Graham French took appreciation of rain gardens to a whole new level and illustrated the PCD rain garden. 

A painting that depicts a stylized version of Pierce Conservation District's rain gardenIllustration of the PCD Rain Garden

Graham also provided an educational explanation for their illustration: 

As rain hits impervious surfaces and becomes stormwater runoff, it gathers a variety of non-point source pollutants as it travels into storm drains and directly into the Puget Sound. A rain garden is a shallow depression in the ground that is landscaped to collect, absorb, and filter stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, patios, and any other surfaces that don’t allow water to soak into the soil. 

When stormwater runoff enters a rain garden, it pools in the shallow depression in the landscape creating a wet environment where plants such as Spreading Rush (Juncus patens) and Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) thrive and filter water into the soil. Towards the edges of rain gardens, plants such as Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) and Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) do well as they also help water filter into the soil. 

The plants in a rain garden not only filter and absorb the stormwater runoff, they also create beautiful pollinator habitat which help support local ecosystems and elevate the aesthetics of the urban and residential areas they are planted in.

Graham's rain garden illustration labeled

Labeled Illustration of the PCD Rain Garden

Pierce Conservation District has funding available for rain garden installations through our green stormwater mini-grant program. Only a few months left to apply! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. Thank you again to Graham French for this beautiful illustration!