Green Infrastructure at Home

Space to Grow schoolyards are more than just a playground or just a garden. The schoolyards are built using “green stormwater infrastructure” that mimics natural processes to capture significant amounts of water from rain or melting snow. This helps reduce neighborhood flooding and keep local waterways clean.

During heavy rainfalls, Chicago’s sewers can get overwhelmed, and water can back up into basements, streets, rivers or the lake before it can be treated.

Capturing rain water where it falls and soaking it up into the ground—before it reaches the sewer—is one part of a solution to reduce sewer backups and overflows.

And there are elements of green infrastructure you can incorporate at home!

What You Can Do at Home

Making small changes to manage water at home can save residents money, bring beauty to the property and help make communities more resilient. There are several relatively simple ways you can incorporate green stormwater infrastructure at home. Find out how Space to Grow schoolyards are working to address flooding and learn about small changes you can make at your home to help!


Here are a few commonly used terms that might be helpful as you learn more:

Green Infrastructure: Using or mimicking natural processes to soak up (infiltrate) stormwater

Impermeable: Does not allow liquid or gas to pass through

Infiltration: The movement of water into and below the surface of the ground

Native Plants: A species that occurs naturally in a particular place without human intervention

Permeable: Allows liquids or gases to pass through

Stormwater: Also called runoff, water that originates as rain or melting snow/ice