In this project on the County Extension campus, rain and runoff are directed to flow through a series of carefully created features, which together help control the direction and speed of water, filter out debris, and make the water available to the trees and plants in the design — improving soil health and habitat and growing trees.

Despite its relatively small dimensions — the whole space is about 21’x131’ — this design contains a wide variety of trees and shrubs. Along with the three trees already growing in this spot, more were added to highlight both native species and others that, while not often grown here in Santa Fe County, are actually well-suited to the region. Tree species include Ponderosa Pine, Honey Locust, Cinquapin Oak, Espresso Kentucky Coffee Tree, and Curl-Leaf Mountain Mahogany, and shrub species include Nanking Cherry, Three-Leaf Sumac, and Littleleaf Mockorange.

Together with the dry riverbed and lagunitas, this rain garden provides an example of how green stormwater infrastructure and smart plant choices can work even in small spaces.

Location: Santa Fe, NM
Project Status: Completed in 2023