Partner Projects: Olivette
Black Creek Rain Garden

In a region blessed with high precipitation, in a state with more miles of stream than any other in the continental U.S., and a stone’s throw from the confluence of the mighty Missouri and muddy Mississippi Rivers, a suburban homeowner couple at the headwaters of the Black Creek tributary of the Deer Creek watershed has transformed their home and environs into a beautiful, inspirational model of ecological responsibility.

Jump down to aerial photo of the site (location numbers on aerial photo correspond to slide numbers).

Aerial photo of yard

Front and back yards have been re-landscaped to hold back 90% of annual rainfall events that would contribute to watershed flooding, erosion, and water quality issues during wet weather conditions. Stormwater captured on site is slowly released into the environment through infiltration, evaporation and evapo-transpiration mechanisms, thus restoring a broken hydrologic cycle. Native plants with deep roots break up and improve the porosity of high clay soils. A children’s sandbox is repurposed as a planter box. Sculptural trees complement outdoor art pieces, while dead and dying trees are integrated into the landscape as natural works of art that attract wildlife and replenish soil nutrients. A rectangular pond recycles chemical-free water for fish and nurtures wandering frogs; a passive solar addition to the home lowers the heating and lighting costs while inviting the outside indoors.

With the assistance and guidance of a landscape architect and professional horticulturalist, the gardener/artist wife and her engineer husband have lovingly created this small oasis. Ever the acute observers, these two find the tweaking and finessing of details to be a continuous process and life-long commitment.

Thanks to Lewisites, Inc. for sharing the photos in the slideshow above. The front yard rain garden was designed and installed by Cindy Collins, Hartke Nursery. Backyard landscaping and design was completed by Lewisites, Inc.

Learn more about stormwater solutions.