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Bioretention Areas and Rain Gardens

bioretentionBioretention areas or commonly referred to as rain gardens, are just what they sound like – gardens designed to soak up rain water. A shallow depression collects a few inches of water and allows it to be absorbed into the ground or by plants instead of flowing directly into nearby streams and lakes. Native plants and soil trap, absorb and filter pollutants found in stormwater runoff including fertilizers, pesticides, oil, grease and dog waste.


Much of Burlington’s rainwater runs off hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and roads. Unlike a sewer system, stormwater flows untreated into underground pipes called stormdrains, then into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes. Stormwater carries fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides from our lawns, oil and grease from our roads and driveways, pet waste, litter, and other pollutants into our waters. This rain garden is designed to prevent some of these pollutants from making their way into Little Alamance Creek, but we need your help. How can you reduce your impact on water quality and be a stormwater steward?


black eyed susanNative plants are an important component of bioretention cells and rain gardens. Not only do the long root systems keep soil in place, as they die, they leave deep tunnels allowing more oxygen and water to absorb into the ground. This is particularly important in the North Carolina piedmont because of the dense clay soils which make it difficult for rain water to absorb into the ground.



  • Improves water quality;
  • Increases the amount of water that filters into the ground, recharging the aquifer;
  • Prevents flooding, erosion and drainage problems;
  • Protects streams and lakes from pollutants carried by urban stormwater;
  • Enhances the beauty of our community;
  • Provides valuable habitat for birds, frogs, butterflies and many beneficial insects.



To download a map of the walking tour, please click here, or visit our materials page. To check out the signs on display, please click here.


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