Michele and Michael Tibodeau, 2211 Ariel St., Maplewood, won a free green yard makeover contest last year from the city and their local watershed district. The contest was designed to educate residents on reducing runoff from their yards, keeping nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen from flowing into storm sewers and local streams and lakes.

The makeover included:

• Three different types of rain gardens to control runoff from the roof and driveway.

• Native plants and flowers in the sunny rain gardens to help absorb water.

• A channel drain -- a cut across the driveway -- that intercepts water from the driveway and diverts it to one of the rain gardens.

• Pervious pavers, which replaced the old concrete walkway.

Learn more

The Maplewood Nature Center teaches these green principles for yard care.

Green design: Landscapes that benefit the environment.

Rain water : Keep it in your yard and put it to use.

Energy: Reduce heating and cooling costs with plants and trees.

Effective resource use: Minimize use of water, fertilizers, pesticides.

Native plants: Enhance habitat for wildlife.

For more information on yard and plant care:

• The University of Minnesota Extension Service: www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo/components/info_lawns.html

• The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: www.arboretum.umn.edu