This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifying a Standard Interpretive Symbol for Rain Gardens to Increase Perceived Value by the Public




Lukowski, Keith A.

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Members of the American Planning Association (n=132) were surveyed for recommendations on what a standard minimum symbol should contain to adequately represent a rain garden storm water feature. Critiques, comments, and rankings for six symbol types containing various elements were gathered. Results indicate a strong preference for certain attributes, such as a water drop, plant forms, a basin, and a built element to be included. A consistent negative response was associated with an image of a water drop over a cupped leaf; a motif overused in representing a variety of “green” ideas. An inventory of 65 existing symbols for rain gardens was gathered through an internet search. Of 22 unique element types contained within the symbols, the water drop (46%), plant form (43%), and basin (41%) were used most often, indicating popular trends. The survey data suggests two elements alone are not sufficient to interpret rain gardens. This study shows that symbolizing a basin is as important to symbolizing water and plant forms. The combination of these three elements may be the best option for a base form of a standard minimum interpretive symbol for rain gardens.