The goal of green infrastructure is to maintain, mimic or recreate a natural, environment – that relies on soils and plants to do the work; keep a balanced system.
Features include planters, bump outs, curb cuts, bioswales and permeable surfaces that use vegetation and soil to interact with runoff, slow down and sink in the flow of water.
Types of green infrastructure
Green infrastructure can take many forms. Some examples include bioswales along the street, rain gardens in your yard or business common area, pervious driveways and sidewalks, and vegetated rooftops.
In Arizona, the latter is difficult to cultivate successfully. However, it has been done. And, rain gardens that utilize drainage from the roof, driveway, or sidewalk are trending nationally.
With the help of a local municipality and non-profit organization, you can find a suitable mix of plant and organic matter that thrive with minimal supplemental water and labor. Where space is constricted and you need to achieve volume reduction (that is, decrease the amount of water leaving your property), it may be preferable to build an interlocking permeable paver system as a driveway or parking area. Multi-layered or compartmentalized structures store, promote infiltration, and diminish runoff.
Bioswales are small depressions that can be supplied with rainwater via a curb cut or core that allows water to flow into the swale and water plants, and also helps replenish ground water.