Queens Botanical Garden - Where people, plants, and cultures meet

Water is our most precious resource. In buildings and collections throughout the Queens Botanical Garden, water is conserved, collected, cleansed, and recycled.


Rainwater cascades off the Terrace Canopy.
Image Credit: Nicole De Feo

Low maintenance, drought resistant plants are used in Garden landscapes to reduce the need for irrigation.  Throughout the project, rainwater is filtered and absorbed into the soil through bioswales instead of entering the city’s combined sewer, reducing pollution in Long Island Sound.

Graywater from the Visitor & Administration Building’s sinks, dishwashers, and shower is piped to a constructed wetland, while rainwater cascades off the terrace roof into a cleansing biotope.  In both places, water is filtered and treated naturally through bacterial activity on the roots of carefully selected plants.  The treated graywater is returned to the building for use in toilet flushing, while the cleansed rainwater supplies a meandering water feature and fountain.

A green roof planted with mostly native plant species absorbs rainwater that falls on the Visitor & Administration Building auditorium.  Rainwater that falls on the Horticulture/Maintenance Building is collected and stored in an underground cistern.  A piping system connects this cistern to the building’s storage and garage space, where the water is used to wash vehicles and tools.

Conserving fresh water and recycling water to use in place of fresh water reduces the burden on the city’s water supply system and vulnerability to drought.

Collecting, storing, and recycling graywater and rainwater onsite diverts it from the city’s costly, energy-intensive wastewater treatment process.  These strategies also prevent the release of polluted water into local waterways during large storms, when the city’s wastewater treatment system is overwhelmed.

Copyright 2006 Queens Botanical Garden | 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355