Rain Gardens

Rain Gardens

Carol Mund4/ 8/11

While forests and agricultural land are replaced with urban areas, it’s easy to see why increased storm runoff from these impermeable surfaces becomes a problem.  Storm water runoff picks up pollutants from streets, sidewalks and lawns.  It’s then rushed off to storm drains and to our local waterways and lakes.  The end result is flooding and added expense due to municipal treatment that is needed on this polluted water.  One solution that many homeowners are opting for is a rain garden.

Rain gardens are landscaped areas planted with native vegetation and wild flowers that soak up rain water received from impermeable areas, like your roof, sidewalks, and driveways.   Rain water is diverted to the rain garden and is slowly filtered into the ground instead of a storm drain.

In addition to solving the residential flooding and water pollution problem, rain gardens also help enhance our yards and neighborhoods, while providing a valuable habitat for birds, butterflies and many beneficial insects.

Think you might be interested?  Here are a few more items to consider:

  • The rain garden should be at least 10 feet away from the house, on a gentle slope that catches downspout water.
  • Do not place directly over a septic system.
  • Do not put the rain garden in an area that already ponds.  You want an area that infiltrates.
  • It’s better to plant the rain garden in full or partial sun, as opposed to under a big tree.
  • Typical residential rain gardens range from 100 to 300 square feet.  It can be almost any size but time and cost should be factored in to your final decision.

For more information on rain gardens, the reference article listed below is an excellent source.

Reference: “Rain Gardens: A How-To Manual for Homeowners”, University of Wisconsin

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