Neighborhood-Scale Rain Gardens

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

St. Louis, Missouri

Neighborhood-scale rain gardens collect stormwater from a larger area to help filter and infiltrate during storm events.


Conceptual rain garden designs draw from neighborhood assets and forms.


Each neighborhood-scale garden receives individual attention to ensure educational and activation goals are met.


Concept plans and diagrams help to study the function and form of each neighborhood-scale intervention.


To begin the 2-year engagement, DTLS toured MSD projects to learn what has worked and what needs improvement.


To streamline the planting plans, DTLS developed modules that can be blended for a natural appearance.


Local materials will be reused in the stormwater interventions; doubling down on sustainable goals.

“The more we can manage the rain on the ground through rainscaping techniques such as these, the less we have to deal with it in the combined sewers.”

Brian Hoelscher | Executive Director of MSD


Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

Shaw Nature Reserve

Project Facts

Schematic Design through Construction Administration
Planting Design
Public Engagement

General Services Contract for On-Call Services through 2021

Much of Saint Louis city is located within the combined sewer overflow (CSO) area, meaning that stormwater from the street is mixed with sanitary sewage. During large rain events, the system becomes overwhelmed, resulting in raw sewage being discharged into the Mississippi River. In 2011, Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) entered a Consent Decree and will spend a minimum $4.7 billion over the next 23 years to address the issue of overflows and other sewer system improvements.

DTLS and the Shaw Nature Reserve are collaborating under a General Services Agreement for on-call project design and support for MSD to reduce CSO overflows by constructing large neighborhood-scale rain gardens. The design of four rain gardens is currently underway. Each project is intended to capture and store stormwater from the 90th percentile storm events. The planting plans are low maintenance and while promoting biodiversity and aesthetics through innovative modular and community-based planting design approaches.

Each project is intended to be an amenity and educational opportunity for adjacent property and neighborhoods, most of which have deficiencies in high quality landscape and open spaces.

The Details

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