check out the latest video : TIDE FIELD, art on the Schuylkill

Parking lots take up a great deal of the real estate in our built world. Most of the time, these expanses of concrete or asphalt remain unused by cars. Can we design parking lots to do a better job at sharing the landscape with nature? Here in Northwest Arkansas, a parking lot gives a home for the rain and a place to park.

ARKANSAS RAIN GARDEN

Fayetteville, Arkansas

2014

Thermoplastic, line striping paint, trees and shrubs, excavation

Dimensions variable

 

A proposed project for The Walton Center for the Arts, Arkansas Rain Garden improves the relationship of urban grey to wetland green by slowing down runoff and allowing it to soak into the ground. Each year 46 inches of rain falls on all surfaces of Northwest Arkansas. Because the grey surfaces of roofs, parking lots and roads cannot absorb their own portion of the rain, they must quickly discharge the liquid. Through drains, pipes, and culverts, the rainwater is directed towards green, sponge-like streams and wetlands. Our gray areas are poorly connected to the green ones. Landscapes that depend on a slow supply of rainwater are instead given a feast and famine approach. They are overfed by huge amount of flow at each storm and then starved. This wreaks havoc for our local streams and urban landscapes. This garden captures the rain with plants and proper grading to allow the rainwater to slowly soak into the soil.

Each year 36 inches of rain falls on all surfaces of Northwest Arkansas. Because the grey surfaces of roofs, parking lots and roads cannot absorb their own portion of the rain, they must quickly discharge the liquid into the green natural areas.

Through drains, pipes, and culverts, the rainwater is directed in great quantities and at high velocities towards streams and creeks, eroding their banks and destroying the habitat of the aquatic organisms.  Landscapes that depend on a slow supply of rainwater are instead given a feast and famine approach. This project gives a place for rainwater to infiltrate in the middle of these non-porous sites, creating green swales filled with native plants.

This garden captures the rain with plants and proper grading to allow the rainwater to slowly soak into the soil.

Sharing our built environment with nature gives us a closer connection and a better way to cohabitate with rainwater.