LID Principles and Techniques

Principles of LID

Work with the landscape.

Identify environmentally sensitive areas and important local features, then outline a development envelope that protects those areas. Maintain slopes and flow paths; minimize grading and tree clearing.

Focus on prevention.

Minimize runoff by using narrow roadways, smaller parking areas, and permeable paving on sidewalks and overflow parking areas. Use green rooftops to store and evaporate rainfall before it even leaves the roof.

Micromanage stormwater.

Design the site to create many small sub-watersheds and “micromanage” runoff close to where it is created in small decentralized structures. Use a “treatment train” of multiple techniques to maximize filtration and recharge.

Keep it simple.

Before resorting to expensive piped systems, use low-cost approaches and nonstructural practices, such as rain gardens, street sweeping, and public education. Send clean roof runoff to vegetated areas for infiltration.

Practice multi-tasking.

Create a multifunctional landscape with stormwater management components that provide filtration, treatment, and infiltration. Create features that function as open space, wildlife habitat, and snow storage area, in addition to stormwater treatment.

Maintain and sustain.

Teach homeowners and landscaping professionals how to monitor and maintain rain gardens and swales. Provide public works departments with adequate funding; educate the public to reduce pollution.

Low Impact Development Slide Show

Download the MAPC powerpoint slide show about Low Impact Development, which the outlines six major principles of LID, ten important techniques, and considerations for implementation. We invite you to use it for presentations to local boards, community groups, business associations, and developers. If you have any questions, please email

Download the LID slide show below (This is a 9.7 MB document, so it may take a while to download. Please be patient.)