Martin Drive Community Gardens is located on the SW corner of N. 46th St and W. Vliet St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This property is currently owned by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Over the past five years the neighborhood has worked to transform the previously unused property into a vibrant community space by adding six raised flower/vegetable beds, two vegetable beds along the fence line, additional landscaping, and five Aldo Leopold benches. 

Finding a water source for the gardens became an immediate need. Initially, they were able to obtain a permit for the use of a fire hydrant near the gardens. In 2010, the City of Milwaukee notified them of their plans to start eliminating the use of fire hydrant permits for urban gardens. The gardens began looking for other sustainable solutions for 
harvesting rainwater.  In the summer of 2014, they contacted Reflo to develop design plans for an open air structure to aid summertime activities. Reflo has been tasked with designing a multipurpose structure that can provide shelter space as well as harvest rainwater for the gardens. 

Photos of our design can be seen below. 


Reflo is working with a  number of local Milwaukee residence to help design and install water harvesting systems on their homes. The systems range in complexity and capture volumes. Each home has one or more of the following water harvesting features: rain barrels, 275 gallon totes, rain gardens, native plantings, living walls, mini green roofs, aquablox, and unique Reflo design features. 


On July 25th, Reflo worked with project partners to design and build Milwaukee's first community pavilion specially designed for water harvesting. This structure, built on a previously vacant lot, funnels rainwater into a 550-gallon collection system for use in the surrounding gardens. The overflow from the system runs to a 200 square foot rain garden.  Project signs were also installed to help educate visitors about the importance of green infrastructure. All these site features help further the programs developed by the Guest House. 



Reflo worked with Parkside School for the Arts to create a green infrastructure conceptual plan to redevelop a courtyard space located on the school’s property. Reflo used a collaborative design approach working with 40+ staff members to inspire an innovated design that can reduce storm water runoff and promote water harvesting. All features of the project will be tied into curriculum for the students to have a hands-on and visual learning experience. Mayor Tom Barrett stopped by at the unveiling to show his support for the project.