What are Bioswales?

Bioswales are landscape features that collect polluted stormwater runoff, soak it into the ground, and filter out pollution. Bioswales are similar to rain gardens but are designed to capture much more runoff coming from larger areas of impervious surfaces like streets and parking lots. They also have more complicated design features such as layers of engineered soil and gravel, perforated pipe underdrains, and overflow structures to help handle runoff from bigger storms. Similar to rain gardens, bioswales use native plants to help absorb more water and prevent erosion. Typically, an engineer and a landscape architect are needed to ensure the bioswale is designed and built correctly.

What are the Benefits of Bioswales?

  • Beautify your neighborhood
  • Help protect our streams and Lake Michigan from pollution by reducing stormwater runoff
  • Reduce the risk of flooding and drainage problems
  • Provide habitat for pollinators and birds
  • Improve air quality

Bioswale Installation & Care

Questions about installation or care of a bioswale?
Here are some helpful resources:

Get Inspired

Local Milwaukee bioswales.

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Curious on how you can create a more sustainable property in Wisconsin? Try a green roof, porous pavement or plant stormwater trees.


For question on how to get started with your bioswale, or how to implement any of our green strategies, contact us.