The very diminutive nature of this city garden belied a big problem we were called in to solve: poor rainwater drainage. Surrounded on 3 sides by buildings and concrete, the garden did not have sufficient capacity to handle all the water running off the roof of this beautiful old graystone in Bucktown. So we did the only thing any thinking person would do: get a RainBox!

Or three, in our case. RainBox is a product designed specifically to hold and release stormwater as needed. It is a rainbarrel of sorts, only…much cooler looking. And we needed something contemporary and clean to fit within the very modern aesthetic we had designed for the garden: bluestone paving; a mounted cedar art piece; and Ore containers, set against the home’s rusty-hued stacked stone siding, all lit by subtle low-voltage halogen spotlights and path lights.

We ran a trench beneath the bluestone and wrapped it around the garden perimeter. Into this 3’D x 3’W trench went gravel, then sand, then soil and finally a mix of moisture-loving perennials and vines. Water flowing from the roof fills the RainBoxes, and overflow percolates slowly through the raingarden trench. In dry times, the RainBoxes are tapped and saved rainwater trickles slowly to the plants.

Sustainable, efficient, effective…very cool.