Sustainability & Plantscaping

More Than Just a Pretty Place

Sustainability Features

  • Gutter directs stormwater runoff from 2/3 of city block into park, which during cloudbursts can temporarily transform much of the park into a lake
  • Curb cuts allow runoff to enter park
  • Public sidewalk width reduced and replaced with plant beds to decrease impervious surface area
  • Native plants flourish without water even during periods of drought
  • Wild prairie-cut buffalograss sod planted instead of lawn
  • Underground drainfield beneath main lawn collects & filters runoff
  • Off-grid solar overhead and path lights (LED; dark- sky)
  • Solar panels on shelter feed excess electricity into power company grid.
  • LED shelter lights motion activated. Park’s monthly electric bill less than $20.
  • River rock swales slow down and channel water through the park.
  • Retention pond collects and holds thousands of gallons of runoff.
  • Solar-powered water pump aids with evaporation & water quality.
  • Overflow from major event empties into raised drain which feeds into perforated drain tile that connects to stormwater sewer
  • Trees, bushes, plants & grasses absorb rainfall.
  • Installed beetle-kill paneling on shelter ceiling.
  • Park uses solar panels to generate electricity that charges batteries for the lawn mower, weed whacker and leaf blower.

Native Plantscaping Features

Trinity Eco Prayer Park plantings are arranged to reflect four separate biomes found in western South Dakota. Species common to Shortgrass Prairie, Midgrass Prairie, Black Hills and Wetlands can be found in the park surrounding the traditional central lawn.

These plants, grasses, shrubs and trees occur naturally in the region and are well-adapted to the areas extremes in temperature, variations in moisture and ability to survive, and in some cases even thrive, in what would normally be considered poor soil conditions. This is in keeping with sustainable landscape design principles, which creates a low-maintenance natural setting that requires little or no watering or use of chemical fertilizers.

In addition to creating a natural space in downtown Rapid City, the park provides an environmentally-friendly landscaping model that may inspire visitors to include some of these species in their yards. Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green Building Outdoors by J. William Thompson and Kim Sorvig is good, detailed resource to guide those interested in adopting this approach to caring for their corner of the planet.

Learn More About Plants & Biomes

The plants we feature in the park are listed below.

Shortgrass Prairie

Grass and sedge species

  • Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)
  • Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides)
  • Hairy Grama (Bouteloua hirsuta)
  • Threadleaf sedge (Carex filifolia)

Forbs (wildflowers)

  • Yucca (Yucca glauca)
  • Plains Pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) 
  • Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
  • Scarlet Globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea)
  • Gray Ragwort (Senecio canus)
  • Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
  • Indian Breadroot (Pediomelum esculentum)
  • Scarlet Gaura (Gaura coccinea)
  • Cutleaf Goldenweed (Haplopappus spinulosus)
  • Indianwheat (Plantago patagonica)
  • Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)
  • Fringed sagewort (Artemisia frigida)
  • Western wallflower (Erysimum asperum)

Shrubs (Great Plains woody draw)

  • Wild plum (Prunus americana)
  • Silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea)

Trees (Great Plains woody draw)

  • Rocky mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

Midgrass Prairie

Grass and sedge species

  • Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
  • Needleandthread Grass (Hesperostipa comata)
  • Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis)
  • Western Wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii)
  • Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
  • Green Needlegrass (Stipa viridula)
  • Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
  • Prairie Sandreed (Calamovilfa longifolia)
  • Sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus)
  • Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
  • Threadleaf sedge (Carex filifolia)

Forbs (wildflowers)

  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
  • Fringed Sagewort (Artemisia frigida)
  • Aster ericoides (heath aster)
  • Silverleaf Scurfpea (Pediomelum argophyllum)
  • Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)
  • Dotted Gayfeather (Liatris puncata)
  • Western Wallflower (Erysimum asperum)
  • Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
  • Large Indian breadroot (Pediomelum esculentum)
  • Slimflower scurfpea (Psoralidium tenuiflorum)
  • Cudweed sagewort (Artemisia ludoviciana)
  • Field (Western) sagewort (Artemisia campestris)
  • Prairie spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis)
  • Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)
  • Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida)
  • Grassy (meadow) deathcamas
  • Prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)
  • Plains pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha)
  • Missouri foxtail cactus (Escobaria missouriensis)
  • Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara)

Shrubs (Great Plains woody draw)

  • Western Snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis)
  • Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
  • Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
  • Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis)
  • Golden currant (Ribes aureum)

Trees (Great Plains woody draw)

  • American elm (Ulmus americana)
  • Box elder (Acer negundo)


Grass and sedge species

  • Reed Canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea)
  • Canada Bluegrass (Poa compressa)
  • Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)
  • Flat-stemmed Spikerush (Eleocharis compressa)
  • Creeping Spikerush (Eleocharis palustris)
  • Softstem Bullrush (Scirpus validus)
  • Cloaked bulrush (Scirpus pallidus)
  • Alkali Cordgrass (Spartina gracilis
  • Nebraska sedge (Carex nebrascensis

Forbs (wildflowers)

  • Rocky Mountain iris (Iris missouriensis)

Shrubs (Great Plains woody draw)

  • False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)
  • Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera or sericea)


  • Peachleaf Willow (Salix amygdaloides).
  • Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsyvanica)
  • Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Black Hills

Grass and sedge species

  • Rough-leaved Ricegrass (Oryzopsis asperifolia
  • Bluebunch Wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata)
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
  • Slender Wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus)
  • Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha)
  • Canada Wildrye (Elymus canadensis)
  • Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)
  • Blue joint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis)
  • Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
  • Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
  • Richardson's needlegrass (Stipa richardsonii).
  • Poverty oatgrass (Danthonia spicata)
  • Sun sedge (Carex inops ssp. Heliophila)

Forbs (wildflowers)

  • Star Lily (Leucocrinum montanum
  • Bracted Spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata)
  • Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)
  • Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristate
  • Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
  • Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
  • Woods rose (Rosa woodsii)
  • Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • Wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum)
  • Threenerve fleabane (Erigeron subtrinervis)
  • Missouri goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis)
  • Sticky purple geranium (Geranium viscosissimum)
  • Prairie thermopsis (goldenpea) (Thermopsis rhombifolia)


  • Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
  • Russet buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis


  • Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
  • Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides
  • Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)


Trinity Eco Prayer Park
4th & St. Joseph Streets
Rapid City, SD

Contact Us

(605) 389-3448
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Mailing Address

Trinity Eco Prayer Park
402 Kansas City St.
Rapid City, SD 57701