When you have a grade change between the backyard and the frontyard, you know there’s going to be runoff from heavy rainstorms in the Mid Atlantic region. Why not make it work for you? The design of bio swales on the side lines of an urban property, allows the rain to be absorbed rather than run off. Storm water management is achieved by deep excavation to remove impermeable clay soil, and the replacement with gravel, composted soil, and even sand. Trees, shrubs and native plantings on the surface, make the swales invisible. Home downspouts directed into swales, rain gardens, and permeable river rock pathways, all create a sustainable garden.