Neighborhood Gateway Rain Garden Plans

When traveling down Stanton or McCandless Avenue towards Lawrenceville, the viewscape is tremendous – from the natural beauty of the Allegheny Cemetery, to the Allegheny River Valley, or even the stately cityscape of Downtown Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, a less sightly view is the aging corrugated aluminum retaining wall and graffiti-covered, crumbling staircase. at Stanton & McCandless.

Rain Garden

Rendering of rain garden between Stanton & McCandless Avenues courtesy of Penn State Center for Design.

The SHNA Green Committee, who recently completed a project at the gateway to Stanton Heights from Morningside are now focusing their attention on this lot and the entrance to the community from Lawrenceville. Over the summer, we commissioned students with the Penn State Center for Design to produce plans that would turn this property into something both beautiful and environmentally beneficial.  The plans, available for download below, call for the installation of rain gardens along the top and bottom of the hillside, along with anchoring beds that create a welcoming gateway between Stanton Heights & Lawrenceville.

Rain Garden

Rendering of rain garden between Stanton & McCandless Avenues courtesy of Penn State Center for Design.

Rain gardens use natural plant species that can withstand large amounts of water and nutrient concentrations to absorb rainfall and stormwater runoff. Addressing stormwater runoff in this location should help with the flooding and icing conditions along the roadways, in addition to being a part of larger citywide efforts to reduce stormwater flow into the sewers.

We plan to make this project one of many springing up throughout the city to contribute to meeting County and City goals to reduce sewage overflows. In addition to reducing stormwater, the project will prevent the spread of invasive species along the hillside and hedge against the further erosion of the hillside.

Sign Concept

Rendering of rain garden between Stanton & McCandless Avenues courtesy of Penn State Center for Design.

To get the project underway, the Neighborhood Association has applied for a Love Your Block grant from the City that could fund the first phase of project implementation as soon as May 2016. This phase will begin installing rain garden beds consisting of little blue stem and prairie drop seed grasses, and perennials including varieties of columbine, tickseed, coneflower, daylilies, and black-eyed susans.

In addition to beginning to implement the rain gardens, the grant would also provide city assistance for graffiti-removal along the city steps leading down to the bus stop on Stanton Avenue, painting the stairway railings, and beautification of the aging retaining wall that is an eyesore. Once grant recipients are announced, we will be recruiting volunteers for our project date in mid-May.

Rain Garden View

Rendering of rain garden between Stanton & McCandless Avenues courtesy of Penn State Center for Design.

Other funding sources we will seek in the coming year are a Green Infrastructure Grant through the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA).  Last year, the Green Infrastructure program funded 17 projects around the city, and we believe that this project is competitive for the next grant cycle.

If you are interested in volunteering on this project or others like it, come to our next community meeting on November 18th (6:30 pm at Sunnyside Elementary) or reach out to our green committee chair Lissa Geiger Shulman at

Penn State Center Rain Garden plans


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by psychicshawncohen on November 16, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Stanton Heights never looked so beautiful (and it did when I was growing up in it in the 1960′ and 1970’s) till now so congrats to those who are committed to making it beautiful and keeping it that way! And a huge thank you to all of us who grew up there decades ago.


  2. Posted by Liz Tafel on November 16, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!


  3. This would improve our neighborhood drastically! Love the idea.


  4. […] Meeting at 6 pm on Monday, January 11th at 153 Stanton Courts East.  Anyone interested in the rain garden and love your block project or discussing green infrastructure around Kelly Field should plan to […]


  5. Posted by chris on February 25, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I missed the meeting and we just moved onto Coleridge Street. I LOVE beautification for many reasons. I bet the island @ Coleridge St./Coleridge Pl. would LOVE some “greening” with a rain garden. I’d love to volunteer, cut out a ‘middle-man’, or two 🙂


  6. […] for the spring clean up and Rain Garden planting events (in case you missed it – the SHNA green committee has been awarded $1000 […]


  7. […] Neighborhood Association will host two work days on April 16th and May 7th to begin work on a rain garden and beautification project, in addition to the annual litter clean up in conjunction with the Spring Redd Up. Recently, SHNA […]


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