Amending Soil

Soil amendment is a cost-effective practice for restoring and preserving the permeability of soils. Ideally this practice is done only once, when converting compacted soils (after depaving or removing grass) into planting areas. Vegetated garden beds with amended soils can absorb rainwater, acting like a sponge. This practice can be very beneficial for your property, preventing water runoff while treating pollutants and sediments.

Porous Walkways

Porous paths serve a functional and aesthetic purpose. They define outdoor spaces, provide convenient transit and are a place for water to gather and filter slowly into the soil. There are many materials to choose from, something for every budget. This fact sheet considers mulch and gravel walkways.

Start your porous walkway project by calling 811 to find out where utility lines are on your property. Lay out the walkway design using a garden hose or branches. Decide what type of porous walkway is pertinent to the area: mulch or gravel.


Depaving can be a big help when managing stormwater. Many of our properties have paved areas that are hardly used! Every impervious hardscape added up makes hundreds of square miles of surfaces where water cannot infiltrate into the soil. Likewise, every little bit we break away adds up to a big benefit for all of us.

If the impervious area is unnecessary, removal is recommended. Given the average rainfall in Portland, one square foot of pavement removed can prevent on average, 22 gallons of runoff per year*. If rainwater can be in filtered in the soil as it falls from the sky onto our properties, we will have less runoff issues overall.

Contained Planters

Contained planters reduce runoff from small areas while beautifying the landscape. You can place a potted plant on area where there is impervious surface, e.g. pavement, patios, paved walkways. This action can reduce annual runoff by 40% to 60% from areas on which they are placed.

Native Plants

We know that plants and animals live together in interdependent communities. Promoting the use of plants indigenous to the ecological area where we live ensures continued pollination by the insects that depend on them and continued relationships with other animals who use these plants as food and shelter.

Plants native to the lower Willamette Valley are naturally adapted to local conditions; dry summers and wet winters. A healthy native plant community serves many important functions like providing habitat and food for native wildlife.