Skip to main content

Rain Gardens at Croft Middle School – Nashville, TN


This project jump-started the Compact’s urban green infrastructure. Croft Middle School serves as a demonstration site for other schools and residents. The project worked with Nashville’s environmental middle school to create an outdoor classroom and demonstration area. The project captures stormwater from the school building for infiltration using scale-appropriate BMPs, improving stream health in the Mill Creek Watershed, home to the federally endangered Nashville Crayfish. In total, eight large downspouts were disconnected from their underground stormwater pipes and brought to the surface to flow into a bio-swale and rain garden. Gresham Smith & Partners prepared design and construction documents for four rain gardens. The design includes a bio-swale, a rain garden, a constructed wetland in the detention basin, two native grass gardens, and 25 trees in the parking lot. With the plan implemented, the school is now a demonstration site for scale-appropriate BMPs for homes, retail and commercial, and institutional settings.

Results Delivered:

  • 3 rain gardens on the school campus
  • 25 tees in the parking lot
  • 2 native grass gardens educational signage developed

The Cumberland River Compact is very grateful to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s 319 Program for their participation and funding of this project. We believe this will continue to be a highly visible project that demonstrates innovative ways middle Tennesseans can clean and infiltrate stormwater. An additional and equally impactful result of the project is the campus enhancement. Croft Middle School, Nashville’s environmental magnet school, now has a campus to match its missions. Teachers are excited to use the gardens to talk about native species, wildlife habitats, the water cycle, and a myriad of other science topics. The grant gives us an opportunity to show that these practices are effective in Middle Tennessee and that they will improve water quality throughout the Cumberland River Basin.

PROJECT SPONSORS: Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s 319 Program, Nashville Metro Water Services, Croft School teachers, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Gresham, Smith & Partners