Every morning I like to sift through facebook (my newest addiction) and get the latest scoop on my friends and family without having to make a single phone call. So anyways my friend E had posted a link on his page about rain barrels and permeable pavement (click here for the article) (if you are interested in purchasing a rain barrel system then click here). Having permeable paving is a great way to reduce runoff in to the storm drain and it is much less expensive than traditional paving methods.
You can use decomposed granite or gravel as a permeable paving surface with lots of color options. What this does is allow for water to seep through the surface and thus eliminating runoff. If you think that this was your only option then think again. There are other types such as permeable concrete. You could even go one step further and use brick or slate etc. to create a permeable surface. As you can see in the picture to the left (my clients side yard in Costa Mesa, CA, more pics to follow) there was a lot of used brick used but rather than using a concrete base, we used a sand base above a layer of landscape fabric and grouted it with sand thus creating permeable seams. If you don't like brick then use slate or whatever material suits your fancy. You have unlimited options to choose from. This same client of mine had a bunch of concrete pavers in the side yard that we moved to the back yard. In between the pavers we will plant some California native groundcovers and California native grasses. Bear in mind that a permeable paving surface is not recommended for driveways, because the extreme weight of motor vehicles will cause the sand to sink thus causing a highly uneven surface.
Note: the garden picture above is from the Indah Bulan website.