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Rain Gardens in Calgary

Bridgeland Riverside Rain Garden
Bridgeland / Riverside Rain Garden

A rain garden (also known as biofiltration area) is a landscaped plant bed that captures and filters stormwater before it returns to our rivers and creeks. Rain gardens can differ in both design and size, from small residential rain gardens to large engineered rain gardens that are designed to work as part of the drainage system.

The natural processes of plants and soils in rain gardens work together to improve water quality by trapping and storing sediment, and by filtering contaminants and nutrients. Rain gardens also reduce runoff and allow for water to soak into the ground where it originates, such as roofs, driveways and sidewalks.

Examples of working rain gardens in Calgary

Oakridge rain garden - currently being constructed

  • Southwest corner of Oakwood Drive SW and Oakland Road SW

Bridgeland/Riverside rain garden

  • Riverside Park: Northeast corner of McDougall Road NE and 11 Street NE
  • Murdoch Park: South of the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Centre Parking Lot

Winston Heights/Mountview rain garden

  • Winston Heights-Mountview Community Association
  • 17 Avenue at Marlowe Place NE (green space along the north side)
Winston Heights Mountview Rain Garden
Winston Heights / Mountview Rain Garden

Where are the rain gardens built?

Rain gardens work for most development situations such as residential areas, office complexes, golf courses, park and green space. Rain gardens are placed at the low point of a landscape to capture and treat water from roofs, sidewalks, parking lots and streets. Rain gardens can be used both in new development and redevelopment areas.

How are rain gardens maintained?

The City is responsible for the maintenance of the rain gardens to ensure that the stormwater treatment capacity is maintained. Rain garden locations are monitored and key learnings are incorporated into future rain garden projects throughout Calgary. Residents with maintenance concerns should contact 311.

Benefits of a rain garden

Rain gardens protect our rivers, ecosystems and drinking water by helping to manage the level of sediment going into rivers from Calgary's stormwater drainage system. Rain gardens are part of our Stormwater Management Strat​egy.

In communities where there is not sufficient land for larger-scale stormwater management technologies like wet ponds, building rain gardens are a great alternative.

Other benefits of rain gardens include the following:

  • Reduce the chances for local flooding, drainage problems and stream bank erosion
  • Reduce untreated pollutants that run from our yards and roads into waterways

In addition to protecting our waterways, rain gardens:

  • Are planted with beautiful, hardy, low-maintenance, water-wise plants
  • Attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects, such as mosquito-eating dragonflies
  • Complement any landscape and enhance the beauty of the surrounding neighbourhood

Calgary rain gardens: Before and after