What is this?
A bio-swale is basically a linear rain garden – a low spot on the landscape that is designed to capture rain water that slowly drains into the ground rather than rushing in to a storm drain. Bio-swales are planted with deep-rooted native flowers, grasses and/or sedges that can absorb tremendous amounts of water and thrive in both wet and dry conditions. Bio-swales are oftentimes former drainage ditches which have been planted with native species. Parking lots are another excellent location for bio-swales.
How do I do this?
On my own
- Plant your drainage ditch with native flowers, grasses and/or sedges suited to both wet and dry conditions to slow and absorb stormwater runoff. Check with your village to be sure this is permitted. Here is a list of some of our favorite plants (but certainly not the only plants) that should do well in a bio-swale:
Sweet flag (Acorus calamus)
Tussock sedge (Carex stricta)
Queen of the prairie (Filipendula rubra)
Fowl manna grass (Glyceria striata)
Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Sweet grass or Vanilla grass (Hierchloe odorata)
Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)
- Learn more about bio-swales at www.upperdesplainesriver.org/bioswales_links.htm
- Click here to Visit a Bio-swale Near You
- Make sure water can get into the site, especially in parking lot bio-swales. New construction is a great time to incorporate a bio-swale.
Hire some help
Find a local company to design and/or install you bio-swale: Local Vendors