Hillsborough Street Rain Garden Upgrade

Formerly nicknamed ‘the bunker’, the stormwater management device at the corner of Hillsborough Street and Dan Allen Drive has a new look thanks to the Live it Up Hillsborough Street organization and grant money from the City of Raleigh. Local artist Gabe Goetz was commissioned to paint a plant and insects mural on the outside; Anne Spafford’s Fall 2021 Planting Design Studio in the Department of Horticultural Science was tasked with designing the rain garden on the inside.

Nine students, a mix of horticultural science undergraduates, landscape architecture graduate students, and a non-degree seeking student, analyzed the site in terms of function, existing vegetation, sun/shade, soil, soil moisture/drainage properties, views, and the context. They researched appropriate plant selections and each person developed a planting design, which they presented to project stakeholders–Live it Up Hillsborough Street representatives and a City of Raleigh Stormwater Engineer. Based on the feedback of stakeholders, a final plan was developed. Plants were sourced from local nurseries as well as provided by the Department of Horticultural Science’s Hands On Nursery, where plants are grown and inventoried by students in Nursery Management.

The garden was planted over two days in late November with the help of students and other volunteers. An opening ceremony was held on December 16, with Raleigh Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin and several City Council members in attendance.

Individual planting design by student Charlotte Kennedy
Locke Rosser presenting his design to stakeholders
Student Martha Tack helps plant the garden
Placed Plants
Student Nat Perkins and Anne Spafford on planting day


For a listing of plants used, see this brochure:

Hillsborough St. Rain Garden (4)

Opening Ceremony Attendees
Karen Rindge, project organizer and former student, speaks at the ceremony
City Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin speaks to the opening attendees