Each Bio-Swale


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

  1. 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)       
  2. Learn more about bio-swales at www.upperdesplainesriver.org/bioswales_links.htm
  3. Click here to Visit a Bio-swale Near You
  4. 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

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