Nature does it best. Green Infrastructure incorporates natural systems and functions within the built environment, it is gaining momentum as an efficient and cost-effective tool for mitigating the negative impacts development has on water management, natural heritage and agricultural systems in our communities and the Greenbelt.
Want to learn more?
- Green Infrastructure 101: Find out more about what Green Infrastructure is all about.
- Explore Green Infrastructure Options: See what Green Infrastructure could look like in our communities.
- DIY Options: Keep scrolling to explore all the Green Infrastructure options you could install:
Xeriscaping is the grouping of vegetation with similar needs to reduce watering requirements. Native species offer many advantages, such as better adaptation and providing food for native pollinators. The practice of xeriscaping uses creative landscaping techniques, such as grouping of drought-resistant vegetation, and creates an aesthetically interesting natural environment, which contributes to a sense of place.
Tree planting, protection and maintenance contribute to stormwater management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, improved biodiversity, and many other health, environmental and economic benefits. Increasing canopy cover on private and public properties can be achieved by planting trees, and protecting and maintaining trees that are already established to help them grow to maturity. New tree planting can be encouraged through systematic and/or subsidized planting programs.
Rain harvesting involves the collecting of rainwater in a rain barrel or cistern, usually from a roof of a house or building to supplement fresh water supply. A rain barrel or cistern is most effective when the stored water is used regularly as this allows for renewed harvesting of rainwater.
A green wall, also referred to as a vertical garden, is a vertical structure partially or fully planted with vegetation, designed to absorb air pollutants, act as a sound barrier, and provide aesthetic value. A green wall can be a living wall or a green facade. A green facade usually features climbing vegetation planted at ground level, whereas a living wall has a growing medium throughout the wall design.
Rain gardens and bio-retention facilities use a combination of soil and plant material to capture and treat stormwater. Bio-retention facilities are engineered to treat and manage a specific amount of stormwater and have exact design criteria to ensure they function according to the design intent. Rain gardens are typically smaller systems that do not require engineering. They feature a planted or rock-based depression, designed to provide temporary rainwater storage and filter runoff. These are typically cost effective and easy to maintain options for both private and public land.
Permeable pavement refers to surface treatment that is suitable for pedestrian or vehicular traffic and contains pore spaces or joints that allow stormwater to pass through to a stone base where it is infiltrated into the underlying native soil or temporarily detained. Types of permeable pavement include: previous concrete, porous asphalt, and permeable interlocking concrete pavers.
Hedgerows are rows of trees, shrubs and or vines along roads, and between fields and residential lots. In the context of agricultural lands, hedgerows are planted strips that reduce soil erosion by providing a wind buffer. Along right-of-ways, in residential areas and on agriculture land they offer a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to standard chain link or wooden fences and provide wildlife habitat, visual screens, while helping define boundaries.
A green roof is a vegetated surface on a building roof or other architectural element, which provides ecological value, enhances building performance, and reduces stormwater runoff. Green roofs can be intensive (greater depth of planting medium that sustains a larger variety species of plants) or extensive (lower depth of planting that sustains smaller plants such as mosses, sedums, succulents, herbs and certain grasses).
Swales are shallow vegetated open channels designed to convey, reduce and filter runoff. A wet swale includes design features that improve the contaminant removal and runoff reduction functions of a simple roadside ditch. A dry swale, also referred to as a bioswale, is an enhanced wet swale that incorporates an engineered filter media bed and optional perforated pipe underdrain or a bioretention cell.
Constructed wetlands use natural processes involving vegetation, soils, and associated microbial assemblages to improve water quality. They are designed and engineered to treat wastewater and manage runoff. Constructed wetlands are tailored to respond to site and community specific needs. The uses of constructed wetlands can contribute to one or all of the following: improved water quality, stormwater management, sewage treatment, public access points, and habitat for wildlife.