Rain gardens are designed to manage stormwater — rain water that is prevented from seeping into the ground by rooftops, streets, sidewalks, and other surfaces — in an environmentally-friendly way. Stormwater that flows over these surfaces collects oil, cleaners, fertilizers, and other substances before going into storm drains carrying with it these pollutants. Under some circumstances, the polluted stormwater may reach our waterways and harm the health of fish, wildlife, and humans. The types of plants and soils used in a rain garden help slow down and filter stormwater. In addition, they may have ponds or drainage pipes to further help manage stormwater.
The Seattle UW Campus features rain gardens at the Community Design Center, the Center for Urban Horticulture, and the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Building. At the UW Tacoma Campus there is a rain garden near the central stairway in front of Metro Coffee.