If you’re a gardener and like to get out and work in your yard, spring is the perfect time to start a new project. If this is the case for you, consider a new garden that not only brings beauty and interest to your landscape, but, also captures stormwater runoff from your property. A rain garden will do just that!
A rain garden is a natural or dug shallow depression designed to capture and soak up stormwater runoff from areas around the house – like driveways, walkways, patios and rooftops.
The plants you select are best suited to soak up the runoff. Stormwater runoff is considered one of the major threats to water quality. As a result, rain gardens not only improve water quality but also can add beauty and variety to your home landscape.
Some additional benefits of rain gardens include:
- Provide habitat for wildlife and, with the proper plants, increase the number and diversity of birds and butterflies for those who enjoy watching them.
- Provide an attractive and creative alternative to traditional lawn landscapes
- Require less maintenance than lawns because they do not need to be mowed, fertilized, or watered once established.
- Increase property values with creative landscaping designs.
- Reduce storm drain overload and flooding if adopted on a community or neighborhood scale.
There are many different references for the design and implementation of rain gardens. However, some basic rules are:
- Garden should be at least 10 feet from the house so infiltrating water doesn’t seep into the foundation
- Do not place the rain garden within 15 feet of a septic system, or 25 feet of a well or water supply
- It is better to build the rain garden in full or partial sun
- Don’t put the rain garden in a part of the yard where water already ponds.
It is best to use plants that are native and non-invasive, which are resistant to stress from both brief periods of pooling as well as dry patches between rain events. It is best to use plants that already have a developed root system instead of starting the garden from seeds.
It’s time to start planning your fair weather projects!
Information about rain gardens can be found on our website. This site contains links with information about designing and installing rain gardens and a plant list.