What is a downspout planter?

Downspout planters are decorative landscaped planters specially designed to absorb and filter stormwater before it enters the sewer system.

The downspout planters are filled with a base layer of gravel to allow for drainage, a stormwater-friendly soil mix, and native perennial vegetation that comes back every spring.

  • Participant cost: $100. This includes the installation of the planter with complementary plants.

About metal downspout planters:

Check out this Metal Downspout Planter Factsheet for more information.

Dimensions: Metal downspout planters are approximately 2’W x 2’H x 4’L and have an approximate storage volume of 78 gallons of water.

Materials: The planters are constructed from galvanized metal tubs. Inside the planter there is a false bottom which provides more water storage below and enough soil for plants to thrive above.

Plants:

  • All planters come with complementary, low maintenance plants. Our plants are perennials that are native, adaptive, and drought-tolerant. These plants will come back every spring and have deep, extensive root systems which allow them to absorb and filter stormwater runoff.
  • View this list to see what plant species are suitable for a downspout planter. Please note that plants are complementary and specific plant selections are not guaranteed.

Drainage:

  • Each planter is pre-fabricated with two drains - an overflow drain and an underdrain. These drains allow the planter to capture the right amount of water without spilling over the sides or getting too soggy.
  • Downspout planters can drain to one of three places: 1) directly back into sewer pipe, 2) into a nearby area drain, or 3) into a pervious surface area down slope of the planter, such as a lawn or garden.

Install Location: Downspout planters are very heavy when saturated so all installations must be at
ground-level. We cannot install a planter on a deck or porch.

Metal downspout planter maintenance:

  • Water: Right after the installation, water the plants (once per week for the first month or more if the soil in the planter seems dry). After the plants’ root systems are established, they will only need to be watered during heat waves or long periods without rain.
  • Prune: Prune plants and remove dead material from your downspout planter as you would with your garden. Ensure that floatable materials do not clog the overflow device.
  • Clear debris: Keep the overflow pipe free and clear of debris, checking it periodically after rainstorms.
  • Check connections: Keep the downspout connected and directed to the planter.
  • Planting: If you need recommendations for what to plant in your planter, view this list to see what plant species are suitable for a downspout planter. Do not plant edible food in a downspout planter. Stormwater running into the planter may carry dirt and debris not suitable for edible plants.
  • Keep gutters clean: Maintain your roof gutters and downspouts to ensure that they function properly and convey stormwater to your planter.

Sign Up

Answer these questions to learn what stormwater tool is right for you. Then sign up for a workshop (attendance is required before installation).