These sidewalk trees fronting a big-box store in El Cerrito may appear ordinary, but they warrant a closer look.
Each concrete planter box is outfitted with multiple intake gutters to capture stormwater.
Runoff from the street flows down these narrow gutters and into the planters.
Hardy California native plants like Mimulus (monkeyflower), Calamagrostis (reedgrass), Juncus (wild rush) and Danthonia (oatgrass) love to be saturated with water in winter, then go bone dry in summer .
Cuts on this side of the box capture rain runoff from the sidewalk.
Note the raised overflow drain (white PVC pipe with green plastic screen) inside the box, to prevent flooding back onto the sidewalk in extreme weather.
Rain goes back into the earth, not into the sewer systems. The overall effect is water-wise, beautiful, modern, and forward-thinking.
A proud planet-friendly allé.