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Swales are depressions that follow the contour around the base of a slope (natural or created), channeling storm water from one place to another. They filter runoff along the way by allowing it to sink into the soil. Plants on a swale’s gently sloping banks—and sometimes down the center of the ­channel itself—take up much of this water. Fast-draining soil is also key. The ­addition of a ­perforated pipe laid in gravel underneath can help ­handle heavy water flow. A small swale might carry gutter water from a house to a dry well, while a more substantial one could run along the base of a hill above a low-­lying house to divert water around it.

Rain gardens are strategically located low areas specifically designed to receive and soak up rainwater. They capture storm water and allow it to infiltrate naturally into the soil. Depending on the size of the structure and the climate where it’s located, more than 20 thousand gallons of water can pour off a roof each year. When rain gardens are properly designed, they divert that water away from basements and walkways. At the same time, these moisture -loving rain garden plants allow storm water to be filtered and absorbed into the groundwater while providing beauty and wildlife habitat in small urban spaces. Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care is knowledgeable in the use of rain gardens for natural purification of runoff water for parking lots and urban areas, in an effort to preserve ground water quality. Rain gardens can reduce the amount of water—and the pollutants that rain runoff can pick up along the way—carried into storm water systems, instead of back into the soil to be filtered.