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Rain Garden Planters

Rain garden boxes are a nature-based solution to capture urban rainwater run-off and reduce pollution from combined sewer overflows into the River Boyne.


Navan faces challenges related to poor river water quality, loss of habitat due to urban development, and effects of climate change such as increases in heavy rainfall. Our Rain Gardens project aims to address these issues, contributing to water quality, biodiversity, and climate change adaptation/mitigation. By reducing stormwater run-off with rain gardens, we can slow down and retain water, lessen pressure on treatment plants, and reduce pollution in our rivers. The planted native plants provide pollinators with food and shelter; brighten up urban landscapes; and bring people together with a simple solution to a big environmental problem. 

Here in Navan, like in many other Irish towns, we have a combined sewer system. This means that our wastewater and storm water go into one pipe system to be treated together. Combined sewers can cause serious water pollution problems during combined sewer overflow (CSO) events: during heavy rainfall rainwater runs off of all the paved surfaces and rooftops and into the combined system which can become overloaded, leading to overflows into the River Boyne. E. Coli can also be introduced into the river when this happens, and sewage mixed with water can create methane (which traps 25x more heat in our atmosphere than CO2). As a result of climate change, we will be seeing more and more heavy rainfall events. The problem is amplified by the trend for covering gardens with impervious materials, paved driveways, and the reduced size of gardens in general. 


Rain gardens are a nature-based solution to capture rainwater. The planter box and plant roots within it hold the water when the box is attached below a drain pipe, or the pipe feeds into the box. This way, the rainwater doesn’t run into our already strained water system. Not only that, but they provide many other positive inputs to our urban environment by providing pollinators with food and shelter in the form of native plants; brightening up our hard urban landscapes with plants; and bringing people together with a simple solution to a big environmental problem.

Rain garden planters would help to:

  • DECREASE pollution events by reducing the amount of stormwater entering the sewage system.

  • CREATE natural habitats in urban areas, attracting bees, butterflies and birds.

  • RAISE public awareness of the importance of nature and natural landscaping to manage waters.

  • PROMOTE community pride and respect for the environment.

  • MODERATE air temperatures through evaporation.

  • INCREASE real estate value by creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes.

We need more investments in tried-and-tested nature-based solutions such as rain gardens that are easy, accessible, and that provide a wide range of benefits for wildlife and locals alike.

Our Rain Garden actions in 2022 and beyond:

  • LEARN from other groups carrying out rain garden projects.

  • COLLABORATE with other locals and groups to maximise positive outcomes.

  • ENGAGE the community using online and printed media and in-person workshops.

  • WORK with local groups and carpenters to build planters.

  • SELECT suitable sites.

  • INSTALL 5 rainwater garden planters in Navan, the first planter in St Anne's school (map 2). 

  • SUPPORT others in building their own rain gardens.

  • DESIGN informative signage on water quality, local wildlife, pollinators, and climate change.

  • GROW the Navan Rain Garden network over the years to come (WFD Cycle 3: 2022-2027).

  • MONITOR changes in rainwater run-off from pipes with and without rain gardens.

Our friends over at Bí URBAN have created an amazing website all about rain gardens in Dublin:

We are now looking for our pilot rain garden planter box locations! Read more information on our rain gardens project below, and if this sounds like your kind of thing and you want to get involved, please email, with:

  • your name

  • your address (including eircode)

  • a photo of the downpipe and the surrounding area

  • what size of a planter box would fit in the space available.

See the pdfs below for more information on our project, what kinds of materials we are looking for, and to learn more about our water quality in Navan.

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