I think folks really need to look at their yards as large drainage areas. Living in a state that has frequent flooding in spring, and terrible droughts in summer that force water rationing, it just makes sense to plan ways to save water.
When we first moved into our house, I noticed three things:
First, there were hardly any plants in the front, back, or on the two sides of the property. (This was part of the reason we bought this old ranch house, actually);
Second, our back yard was lower than that of the neighbors to the north by about two feet and the drop was quite significant from the back fence to the street out front;
And third, the lowest spot in the entire back yard was our back patio.
So, without realizing it, I created rain gardens by setting out to eliminate the drainage issues.
I planted tall grasses, daylilies, and other drought and flood hardy shrubs, vines, and perennials in the low spot off of the patio. They do a great job there.
I also noticed that the east side of the house was where all of the water tended to drain to the street.
Easy fix. I planted black bamboo along the property line that is clumping and doing it's job with no fuss. We don't need access there anyway and the neighbor loves it, too.
On the other side of the house, the New Dawn climber on a huge arbor, and perennial plantings all along the sidewalk, just under the carport, and along the sloped driveway, take care of the run off from the neighbor's unguttered roof.
In the front yard, along the driveway and street, I've installed shrubs, small trees, and flowerbeds that catch the run off from the house to the street. A circular bed and foundation plantings help with this as well.
Finally, we installed three rainbarrels, one homemade and two garage sale finds, that fill rather quickly in a downpour.
These plantings, and the rain barrels, have solved all of our drainage problems and, because the plantings are also drought resistant, they've saved us bundles of money on watering. I use drip irrigation in the beds during droughts. When it rains, runoff water gushes into the street from neighborhood yards. That's when my heart hurts and I feel a bit angry. Guess maybe it's time to take your article to a neighborhood meeting!