Unique Rain Garden

Cedar Run Landscapes has become a pioneer in creative sustainable landscapes and integrated storm water management systems. We have the tools to implement solutions to solve your stormwater issues while improving the beauty of your property. Elements such as this 4 tiered rain garden help to purify storm water by capturing runoff and allowing it to percolate into the ground. The use of native plants in these types of projects help to optimize the amount of water that is absorbed while minimizing the need to water, fertilize, and maintain the landscape.

Before work begins, an outline of where each rain garden will be located is marked on the ground.


After a day of excavation, each garden is taking shape as they are carved out of the slope.

The finished garden has 3 natural dry stacked stone walls with river stone overflows. In a large rain event, the garden is designed to allow water to overflow from one garden to the next. This will create a dramatic scene during and soon after a storm.

The 4 tiered garden retains storm water that flows from the backyard and neighboring property, preventing water from flowing down the slope and directly into the street.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners

The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) is a group of businesses and individuals who have joined together to help build a just, green and thriving economy within the Philadelphia region. The SBN is an effective resource that helps locally-owned businesses improve their environmental and community impact while also advancing profits. Cedar Run Landscapes has been involved with SBN since 2008 when we won the triple bottom award. We have also been closely involved in the organizations newest priority initiative, Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Partners.

PDW Rain Check Project: Concrete driveway replaced with permeable pavers

The trend toward sustainable living and awareness of how individual actions impact our local environment has begun to transform how we manage our stormwater. To help improve upon this movement it is essential that industry leaders help identify the barriers small businesses come across within the GSI industry. Cedar Run Landscapes has taken up this task by participating as a member of the GSI Partners sub-committee, Local Community of Practice. This committee consists of industry leaders that are focused on growing a vibrant green stormwater approach to the management of stormwater. Several of the committee’s objectives are to grow leadership among its participants, identify any obstacles that GSI businesses come across during implementing new infrastructure, and providing recommendations to improve the process.

A rain garden capturing roof runoff from two neighboring homes.

GSI Partners was created in response to the Philadelphia Water Department’s program ‘Green Cities Clean Waters’, a 25 year plan to protect and enhance our watershed through managing stormwater with innovative green infrastructure. Cedar Run Landscapes has also been a part of the Philadelphia Water Departments Rain Check Program, which supports Green Cities Clean Waters. Check out our previous blog posts to see some of our recent projects we’ve installed through Rain Check.

Project of the Month: Philadelphia Water Department and Permeable Patios

Cedar Run Landscapes has been selected to participate in PWD’s Rain Check pilot program. This program was developed to help homeowners improve their landscapes while managing stormwater runoff. By redirecting this runoff we are reducing the amount of rainwater that enters Philadelphia’s sewer systems and in effect decreasing water pollution and improving our waterways. To learn more about this program, click here.

This month Cedar Run Landscapes installed a 126 sq. ft. permeable natural stone patio. Below are several photos taken during the installation process. Permeable patios are constructed to permit water to soak though the joints of the paving stones where the aggregate base below filters out particulates. This cleans the water as it percolates into the water table.

Here is Keith, one of our supervisors,  finishing the depaving and removing of compacted sub-soil  before the installation of the permeable patio.

The crew is  filling in the patio joints with clean stone which will allow water to seep into the base below and into the ground.

Finished patio after being sprayed down with water.

By installing permeable patios and implementing other types of storm water solutions, Cedar Run Landscapes is taking the initiative in sustainable design. We are proud to be participating in greening our local communities and hope to continue providing innovative techniques for handling stormwater issues. With each project installed, we are reducing runoff and helping to protect the health of our watersheds.

Girl Scouts “do a good turn” learning about rainwater harvesting

Last week, we hosted the Girl Scout Brownie Troop 7019 from Montgomery Elementary school (where we built a rainwater harvesting system last year) at the Cedar Run Landscapes nursery to teach them about rainwater harvesting and rain gardens, so that they could work towards fulfilling their “Earth and Sky Try-It” badge requirements. The troop saw examples of rainwater harvest systems, rain gardens and permeable patios, and learned how such designs help to control erosion and conserve natural resources.

Four of the Girl Scouts were also seeking a Junior Level badge onRain guy and girl scouts Plants and Animals, and fulfilled this requirement at Cedar Run by learning about different types of propagation, and then helping to divide and pot up chive plants to take home. It’s great to see eco-consciouness and conservation lessons included in the girl scouts’ goal of doing “a good turn daily.”

We’re always happy to help educate visitors from all age groups on the subject of sustainable landscape design. If you’re interested in learning more, stop by our “Rainwater Harvesting, Rain Gardens, and Ponds” Open House this Saturday, May 15, from 10 am to 2 pm. The event is free and open to the public!

“Mrs. Rain Guy” and millions of others left dry

Courtesy of Water.org

I’ve been busy this weekend with ordering supplies for my nursery, helping to rototill the new community vegetable garden at our neighborhood synagogue, and partaking in Philly’s biggest weekend for disc golf at Sedgley Woods.

Meanwhile, “Mrs. Rain Guy” is up in Boston for a business conference. Unfortunately, the city of Boston and 29 suburbs have been left without drinkable tap water since Saturday evening – the result of a giant water pipe rupture. It’s been a major inconvenience for residents and businesses, who are required to boil water for drinking, brushing teeth, etc. While this is a temporary situation, it’s an important reminder of the value of our water supply, which is an issue of sustainability that I feel passionate about. Water is often an undervalued resource in the minds of people who are lucky enough to have it readily available, even though it is so precious and vital to our existence.

Here are a few facts from Water.org to consider:

  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • 884 million people, lack access to safe water supplies, approximately one in eight people.
  • On average, every US dollar invested in water and sanitation provides an economic return of eight US dollars.
  • An investment of US$11.3 billion per year is needed to meet the drinking water and sanitation target of the Millennium Development Goals, yielding a total payback for US$ 84 billion a year.
  • Other estimated economic benefits of investing in drinking-water and sanitation :
    • 272 million school attendance days a year
    • 1.5 billion healthy days for children under five years of age
    • Values of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings, amounting to US$ 3.6 billion a year
    • Health-care savings of US$ 7 billion a year for health agencies and US$ 340 million for individuals

By being more mindful of consumption, and/or utilizing sustainable systems like rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, and permeable patios, you can help preserve our water resources and reduce costs in capital and conservation. If you are interested in learning more about these topics, join us at the Cedar Run Landscapes Open House on May 15, 10-2 pm at our nursery in North Wales, PA.

Rain Guy Hits the Road

Beth Or Eco-Expo

Showing the rainwater harvesting system to participants at the Beth Or Eco-Expo

I’ve had the opportunity to take the “Rain Guy” show on the road over the past two months – educating at different trade shows, schools, and expos. In January, I spoke at Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture about the rainwater harvesting systems that Cedar Run Landscapes has been utilizing for our company, and building for our customers. At the end of the month, I attended the Eco-Expo at the Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen as a rainwater harvesting exhibitor. It was a great event that brought together  other “green building” professionals and retailers, nonprofit advocacy groups, a native plant nursery, etc.

EP Henry invited me to speak at several conferences in January and February on the integration of our rainwater harvesting systems with permeable paver patios and rain gardens. Those stops included their Mid-Atlantic hard-scaping trade show in Virginia, as well as conferences in Lancaster and Atlantic City.

In addition to speaking regionally about rainwater harvesting, I’ve recently joined the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, a local division of the U.S. Green Building Council, which developed the LEED rating system for certification of green buildings. I’m hoping to broaden my network of contacts that are on the forefront of sustainable design and construction efforts in the Philadelphia area.

 It’s been great to be able to share my experience and expertise with interested audiences, and to meet colleagues who are participating in these important environmental measures! Staying in the loop is important in this field that is constantly growing. Last month I sent out my first issue of the Cedar Run Landscapes e-newsletter; a new method of keeping in contact with my customers, colleagues, and friends. If you’re interested in keeping up to date with Cedar Run Landscapes’ news, stories, and garden advice, email me at:


and I’ll add you to our email list!

“Winter Break” for Aquascapers

I recently had the opportunity to leave behind the frigid temperatures of the Northeast, for a visit to Cabo San Lucas,

Aquascape Contractors on the beach in Cabo San Lucas

Mexico! Because Cedar Run Landscapes is a certified Aquascape contractor company, I was invited to be a participant in an Aquascape focus group,  helping them to fine tune their “Creating Opportunity with Sustainable Landscapes” Seminar which will be on national tour in January and February. This was an amazing opportunity to be a part of this small group of participants that met with Greg Wittstock, CEO of Aquascape, and Ed Beaulieu, their Chief Sustainability Officer, to discuss the content and presentation. I was asked to use my experience in rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, sustainable landscapes and business practices, and comment on how their presentation promoted these initiatives. The informal atmosphere gave us Aquascape contractors some time to get to know each other and learn more about the different approaches we take towards sustainability on a personal and business level.

Newly hatched sea turtles on the beach

Our meeting was held at the Marbella Suites En La Playa, which also is the host location for the American Leadership Academy a non-profit organization devoted to leadership training for college students. It is a beautiful spot along the Sea of Cortez with lots of wildlife -  we saw whales in the surf, a flock of  pelicans flying overhead in  V formation, and even helped a nest of emerging sea turtles to avoid being consumed by a large group of Bat Rays waiting for them to swim into the surf!

Stay Tuned:

I will be making some speaking appearances in January and February, presenting on our work in rainwater harvesting and gardens, the integration of permeable paver patios with rain water storage, and our Ponds For Kids program. Presentations will be sponsored by The Pa. Landscape and Nursery Association, E.P. Henry, The Penn State Agricultural Extension Service and Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture. Please let me know if you would like dates and times!

Grand Opening success

A very nice "thank you" from Montgomery Elementary School

A very nice "thank you" from Montgomery Elementary School

The Grand Opening of our pond and rain garden at Montgomery Elementary school was a hit. The kids had a great time, showing their parents what they had helped to plant and build in order to complete the project. It was a great way to get the school and Cedar Run Landscapes together to celebrate the success of Ponds for Kids.

More pictures from the work on the project on Flickr!

Getting ready for the Grand Opening

Montgomery Elementary school students, working hard to help build their new rain garden

Montgomery Elementary school students, working hard to help build their new rain garden

It was very cool to have Cedar Run Landscapes and the students at Montgomery Elementary on yesterday’s NBC 10 Show!  – check out a video of the broadcast online if you missed it… Today we’ll be back at Montgomery Elementary  installing an LED lighting system for the pond, landscape and waterfalls. We’ll  also  go over all the work the students did in the past two days to make any necessary adjustements – we want to make sure that the rainwater harvesting systems and plants grow successfully, and and also look great for the Ice Cream Social/Pond Grand Opening with the students and their parents on Friday night.

Have you seen our rainwater harvesting Pond for Kids yet? What do you think about this project?

Back to school!

Montgomery Elementary class by their new pond project

Montgomery Elementary class by their new pond project

Today, the Cedar Run crew and I led 12 classes for over 600 students at Montgomery Elementary School for our Ponds for Kids project, what a blast!

We started the project in August, getting the rough in work done and staging a lot of the materials in the courtyard. The students are really excited – they worked with us today and will continue tomorrow. Even the parents were working, too – they were there to chaperone, but some of them saw how much fun the kids were having and wanted to pitch right in.

I gave each of the classes a short lecture and question and answer period at the start of their session. We explained what we were doing in the courtyard, and then had them put on gloves and they did the planting, adding soil, grading, adding rock and gravel and on and on. Tomorrow we will plant the carnivore bog, along with daffodils and tulips, mulching, hook up the pump for the hose to tap into the stored water and plant more native wetland plants and, shrubs and perennials.

My voice is worn out, but the kids, teachers and my staff are having a great time.

Alden Zove "The Rain Guy" helping to dig the pond for kids

Mr. Taylor, Principal of Montgomery Elementary, and Alden "The Rain Guy" Zove, preparing to dig a hole for the school rain garden.