NCSU Students Complete Stormwater LID Design Build Project – Check it out!

When Andrew Fox surveyed the grounds behind Syme Residence Hall this spring, he saw a landscape in distress.

“It was basically denuded of plants,” he says. “When it rained, it got squishy nasty.”

But he was concerned by more than just the threat of muddy footwear. As an assistant professor of landscape architecture, Fox recognized an even more serious problem caused by poor landscaping. Rainwater was carrying sediment – along with pollutants – down a brick walkway and directly into the storm water system that connects to the newly restored Rocky Branch Creek.

Not good.

So Fox applied for and received a grant from the Provost’s Office to harness the design power – and muscle – of his grad students to find a sustainable solution to the problem. The result, which will be officially unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 17, is both functional and enjoyable.

After weeks of digging up dirt, pouring concrete, tilling soil and laying bricks, the students have essentially created a natural filtering system in the form of a garden. Plants with deep roots are used to absorb some rainwater. The rest is channeled into a cistern and into infiltration zones, where it flows through layers of mulch, sand, soil and glass beads called cullet to remove pollutants and sediment.

New Versus Old

“The goal of the rain garden is to slow the water down and filter it, then return it to the water table,” says grad student Melissa Miklus, who participated in the project. “It’s the new way versus the old way.”

The project was new in another sense. It was the first design/build studio in landscape architecture ever offered by the College of Design. But Fox says it won’t be the last.

“A typical studio project only goes as far as a presentation on paper,” he says. “What design/build allows you to do is actually come to terms with how difficult it is to implement a project because you’re really out there doing it in real time. It also forces creative problem solving on the spot, which is what design is all about.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, in Burns Auditorium in Kamphoefner Hall.Author: David Hunt

via Grassroots Education :: North Carolina State University Bulletin.

Published in Blog


  1. What an excellent experience!

  2. That looks like a great project! I wish we did something like that in school…

    Any pictures of the finished product?

  3. Great job at NCSU!

  4. I hope someone can post more pictures of this project. Looks really interesting.

  5. Looks very interesting indeed… Must have been a great hands-on experience for the grads!

  6. I hope someone could give more pictures about this project. I really like rain garden. The Low Impact Development strategy is great for urban stormwater treatment and landscape design. I wish more news about this aspect, thank you!

  7. Thanks for the interest! We’re pulling together a final presentation for the ribbon cutting on the 17. I’ll post it with the final pics soon.

  8. Yea, would of been awesome to do a design/build in school!!!! awesome, and wondering about pictures of the finished product too!!!

  9. This is so awesome. I wish we could have something like this for a studio class at UMD!

  10. Well done all. As a contractor (for 30 years and now student in LA) its so important to understand the feel of materials and their limitations. Nothing worse than a patronising designer, we may have a laugh about it, but its no good for the work when the contractor is sorting out material specs.
    More site experience equals more empathy for the contractors and thus better communication that leads to a higher quality construction i.e. no short cuts, bodges etc
    Good luck to you all , a vid of the completed work would be good and your thoughts on what worked what didn’t.

    Cheers Grant

  11. Great job Andy!! We miss you.

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