Let's Keep Norman Reserve Greener for Long

Norman Reserve Award Winning Project

We have won a Public Works Engineering Australia Award for our Water Sensitive Urban Design Project on Norman Reserve, St Marys.

Council has constructed water sensitive urban design features in Norman Reserve to collect stormwater from neighbouring roads to improve the natural environment. Rain gardens linked by grassed swales and shallow pools have been constructed to collect stormwater to water the existing trees and improve the appearance of Norman Reserve. These rain gardens will keep the reserve greener for longer, improve the natural wildlife habitat and create an attractive place within the reserve that people want to use.

Norman Reserve St Marys residential catchment

Norman Reserve catchment area

This project has created some of the largest rain gardens extending over an area of 2,500m2 and using over 15,000 local native plants.

Norman Reserve St Marys rain garden installationNorman Reserve St Marys soakage trench installationNorman Reserve St Marys planting rain garden
Rain garden filter layers being installed

Soakage trench being installed

Rain garden planting

Stormwater from Auricchio Avenue and Norman Streets is collected in Norman Reserve using a combination of rain gardens, soakage trenches, swales and overflow paths. The water is filtered through rain gardens and then distributed to soakage trenches which allow the clean stormwater to irrigate the surrounding reserve and trees.

Very little water will leave the site as the rain gardens, built downstream on the reserve, clean and direct the stormwater to soakage trenches to water the reserve and surrounding trees.

The difference can be seen in a heat map modelling analysis, previously the existing hard, clay reserve surface was a major generator of heat build-up. The rain gardens are projected to reduce the heat build-up by over 25ºC providing a cooling effect for the surrounding community. 

Norman Reserve Heat Map

Heat map before rain garden and after installation of rain garden

Norman Reserve Rain Gardens

Feature A

Rain Garden. Vegetated with local Indigenous sedges, rushes and reeds; Grassed open space to allow pooling to 100 mm depth; Series of gravel filled soakage trenches beneath pooling area; new compacted gravel footpath.

Feature B

Rain Garden; Vegetated with local Indigenous sedges, rushes and reeds; grass lined swale to allow seepage and overflow for uniform overland flow with gravel filled soakage trench under; gravel filled soakage trenches to maximise infiltration into soil; new compacted gravel footpath.

Feature C

Swale connection to new stormwater management in Dorene Street and Auricchio Avenue; gravel filled soakage trench under swale; formed localised long, grass lined swale to allow seepage and overflow for uniform overland flow; gravel filled soakage trenches to maximise infiltration into soil. Swale to intercept excess stormwater flows; discharge excess stormwater flow to street kerb and gutter.

Feature D

Widen out grassed swale from Feature A to enter into open space; gravel filled soakage bed beneath pooling area; discharge excess stormwater flow to street kerb and gutter.

The Rain Gardens will provide a focal point containing a mixed palette of drought tolerant indigenous plant species which co-habit successfully while providing a sustainable environment for local native wildlife.

What is Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)?

Water Sensitive Urban Design uses natural elements to clean the stormwater and allow it to soak into the ground providing a source of water for trees and grass. This allows the traditional underground pipes that typically carried water from the streets to larger drains, to be made smaller or removed. They can include:

  • Rain gardens - use native vegetation to treat rainwater runoff before infiltration into the ground through material such as sand. Water is available within the sand bed for use by plants during dry periods.
  • Vegetated shallow pools – are usually about 100mm deep allowing rain water to sit for a few days before soaking into the ground.
  • Grass lined shallow swales – carry water between rain gardens and along the reserve to drainage systems outside the reserve. Water soaks into the ground along the length of the swale.

Contact Us

Tel 08 8372 8888

Fax 08 8372 8101

Email Us

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Locate Us

PO Box 21

Mitcham Shopping Centre

Torrens Park SA 5062

131 Belair Road

Torrens Park SA 5062


Share this page