Each rain garden

 

What is this?

A rain garden is not a water garden. It is a garden in a low spot on the landscape that is designed to capture rainwater that slowly drains into the ground rather than rushing into a storm drain. Water soaks into the ground within three days and the garden remains drained until the next rainfall, thus preventing mosquito issues. Typically a shallow depression – whether natural or dug – rain gardens are planted with deep-rooted native flowers, grasses and/or sedges that can absorb tremendous amounts of water and thrive in both wet and dry conditions.

How do I do this?

On my own

  1. Click here for Rain Gardens: A How-To Manual For Homeowners
  2. Keep the rain garden at least 10 feet from buildings to prevent water from seeping into your foundation.
  3. Do not place over a septic system.
  4. Consider the mature height and width of the desired tree.  You don’t want to be pruning large woody plants to make them fit into a small area….otherwise you may never see the beautiful blooms or seeds of these plants in your landscape!

Take time to plant your tree correctly, or it is likely to do poorly or die. Here are some short videos on how to plant various sizes of trees. How to plant a tree

  1. Dig a hole that is two or three times wider than the root ball and no deeper than the root ball.
  2. If the root flare (the slightly swollen spot where the trunk meets the roots) is not visible at the soil surface, then a gentle, light shaving of soil from the top of the ball is needed.
  3. Remove all root ball packaging including burlap, twine, wire, etcetera. 
  4. Do not plant a rain garden in an area that typically holds water – such wet spots can provide tremendous ecological value but the goal of a rain garden is to increase infiltration. You will have more success if you plant wet areas with species that tolerate “wet feet” on a regular basis.

Hire some help
Find a local company to design and/or install your rain garden: Local vendors 

Why is this important?

By increasing the amount of stormwater that soaks into the ground rather than entering storm drains, rain gardens reduce flooding and drainage issues. And by filtering stormwater as it soaks into the ground, rain gardens also cleanse water going into streams, rivers and lakes of pollutants carried by stormwater runoff such as lawn pesticides and fertilizers, oil and other fluids that can leak from automobiles, and other potentially harmful substances that are washed off roofs and paved areas. Rain gardens also provide valuable and attractive habitat for many species, including birds and butterflies.

As our area continues to be developed, increased storm-water runoff results from the increase in impervious surfaces (such as roads and  buildings). This leads to increased flooding in which pollutants are carried from the streets, parking lots and lawns to our streams, rivers and lakes.  

 

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