By Ryan Wood, Phoenix Program Manager, Watershed Management Group

30 volunteers. 5 hours. 7 trees. 88 plants. And the potential to capture more than 5,500 gallons of rainwater!

Glendale Rain Garden
Pam Pickard, CAP board member; Ryan Wood,
Watershed Management Group; and Glendale City
Council members Bart Turner and Ray Malnar,
visit the new Glendale RainGarden
at Glendale Community Center North.

That’s what was accomplished during the culmination of Watershed Management Group’s 2017 Hydrate Glendale series, which included a hands-on workshop to create a rain garden at the Glendale Community Center North.

What is a rain garden? It’s when you create areas in a landscape that allow for the principles of slow, spread and sink:

  • Slow down the water flow
  • Spread the water out
  • Sink the water into the ground

This is done by capturing water run-off from the surrounding landscape, buildings, parking lots and anything that diverts rain water away from a property and/or into the streets that can instead be contained in a garden. If you use low-water use plants in the garden, you can reduce – and in some cases even eliminate – supplemental watering. So it’s a great water conservation method that also can provide beauty, shade and cooling to a landscape.

With funding from Central Arizona Project and in partnership with the City of Glendale, Watershed Management Group, was able to create Hydrate Glendale in 2017. The five-part water harvesting educational series was held at the Glendale Main Library on five consecutive Wednesdays, April through May 2017. The classes were 1.5 hours each and covered earthworks, plants, rain tanks, soils and greywater. The average attendance was 32 participants for a total of 160 for the series.

Hydrate Glendale also included a hands-on opportunity for participants to learn how to create a rain garden at their homes and community by volunteering. Working with the City of Glendale, we visited several potential project sites and selected the perfect site at Glendale Community Center North.

CAP funding covered our staff time for site selection, project design, construction observation and resources for a five-hour, hands-on workshop. The City of Glendale provided all the equipment and staffing for the heavy-duty prep work, found businesses to donate trees, covered the cost of materials, installed the drip irrigation and worked with additional volunteers to spread the gravel mulch. It was a wonderful collaborative effort!

We are so grateful to both CAP and the City of Glendale for their support – without it, this great project would not have come to fruition. The Glendale Rain Garden has the potential to capture 5,500 gallons of rainwater from the building and landscape to support the plants’ water needs. This is in an area that previously had non-existent landscaping and where sediment was starting to develop in the retention basin. Now, those who attend adult classes and STEM after-school programs get to enjoy the beauty and shade, and learn about rain gardens themselves.

If you’d like to see the Glendale Rain Garden, visit the Glendale Community Center North at 14075 N. 59th Ave. You can find more information about Watershed Management Group’s upcoming Hydrate series at

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