County Earth Day 2024 Rain Garden

Designed and installed for the County of Santa Fe’s 2024 Earth Day celebration, this project provides a place for visitors and community members of all ages to play and learn about native habitat.

Beginning at the edge of the parking lot, rock work and a compacted soil berm help guide stormwater runoff to a dry riverbed, which winds its way down a steep slope. Lined with angular rocks, the riverbed helps slow the speed of water and prevent erosion, encouraging infiltration into the soil to help support existing trees and new plantings. A lagunita cuts perpendicular to the path of the dry riverbed, helping with additional water infiltration for existing trees on the slope. At the end, there is a Zuni bowl to capture and hold water, with a stepped headcut pour-over to further help slow any deluges of stormwater. The Zuni bowl has an overflow with erosion control rock work as well, just in case. Buried underneath the bowl is a log inoculated with mycorrhizae to help build microbial networks in the soil that will benefit the new and existing trees and plants nearby.

Closer to the existing picnic area is a space for play, with urban wood from a habitat restoration project — also completed by Seeds of Wisdom — cut into rounds and logs for jumping and sitting on, welcoming visitors to explore the rain garden. The logs and additional rock work provide more erosion control and help guide stormwater to native shrubs and grasses planted throughout the design, which in turn help provide habitat for local wildlife.

Many thanks to the County for making this project possible, to the team at the Arroyo Hondo District One Fire Station, and to the volunteers for participating in planting during the Earth Day celebration!

Location: Santa Fe, NM
Project Status: Completed in 2024