An almost secret Rain Garden in Olney

Julie Slavet
Dec 3, 2013

There’s a rain garden hidden behind the Olney Recreation Center! TTF is the leader of this project, which was designed by AKRF, Inc., funded by the Philadelphia Water Department, and installed during the summer of 2012. The Olney Rec Center is located close to Tacony Creek Park and boasts ample field space for football, soccer, and other outdoor activities, as well as as a large indoor facility with basketball courts and community rooms. There’s a lot of stormwater to manage on-site.

Olney Rain Garden

The rain garden diverts rainwater from the Rec Center roof. Instead of flowing into Philadelphia’s combined sewer system or washing over polluted roads, the water is instead collected by the rain garden, nourishing its many colorful native plant species. Rain gardens have many benefits aside from stormwater management, including cleaner water, habitat for local wildlife, and aesthetic appeal. This rain garden has had its share of ups and downs, but we are happy to report that due to the recent rainy summer, the garden is thriving

Learn about rain gardens here.

In early November, we worked with an energetic group from the Olney Rec Center after school program to pull weeds and clean up litter. We also explained how the rain garden uses water from the roof of the rec center to grow. With the help of these young gardeners, we prepared the garden for our weekend planting activity.

We returned on Saturday, November 2nd, with trays of 300 native plants donated by Pinelands Nursery. Girl Scout Troops 9081, 927 and 9180 planted and learned about the garden and its benefits. These young green stormwater experts will earn badges for their great work in the garden! We are promoting the garden in Olney and recruiting new people to learn about and care for this local green asset. 

Olney Rain Garden

Big things are ahead for this rain garden! We will host an Urban Waters Green Stormwater Infrastructure community training in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in the spring. This program is made possible through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We are also excited to announce that we are moving forward with planning a mural for the large wall adjacent to the garden.

You can also visit our beautiful rain garden in Germantown’s Vernon Park!

Want to get involved? If you have questions or want more information on the Olney Rec Center rain garden, contact Alix at

Recent Posts

Scroll to Top