Blooming Boulevards


In the summer of 2016, Metro Blooms and its partners began installing native plants along boulevards around Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Harrison neighborhood of Minneapolis. Ash trees had already been removed from the boulevards, following the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s plan to address emerald ash borer.

By excavating the boulevards after the removal of trees, we loosened the heavily compacted soil and created swales where there used to be berms. This diverted stormwater, which soaked into the swale instead of running off the boulevard into storm sewers.

Here is an article about the project, in the West Metro Water Alliance’s Water links June 2017 issue.

In short, we turned boulevards shaped like this:

into boulevards shaped like this:

Turf Alternative Options

The native plants chosen to replace the existing turf grass provide food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. They also grow extensive and deep root networks that drink up runoff diverted from paved surfaces. These plants were chosen for their hardiness, beauty and low maintenance requirements.

Turf Alternative Options

Harrison Neighborhood

Ash trees removal in Harrison, while unfortunate, presented anĀ  opportunity. Metro Blooms worked with residents of the Harrison neighborhood to find blocks of neighbors to participate in installations of Blooming Boulevards to help demonstrate the value of rethinking the purpose and potential of these small areas of green space. By the end of the summer of 2017, more than 10,000 sq. ft. of bioswales had been planted, capturing stormwater, providing habitat for pollinators, and beautifying green spaces in the neighborhood. It was a successful pilot project, and we are making plans to continue this work. Please check back with us every now and then. We’ll update this page as our plans develop.

Harrison Ash Trees

Blooming Boulevards was made possible through the support of:

  • Center for Prevention at Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN
  • The Metropolitan Council
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
  • Mississippi River Green Team
  • Redeemer Lutheran Church
  • Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa
Boulevard bioswale planted with woodland strawberries