What is a Rain Garden?

In my last post, You Don’t Need a Green Thumb to Create Green Landscaping, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, I mentioned wanting to build a rain garden. Before writing the article, I had no idea what it was, and now I have two ideas where one could be planted in my yard. I love the idea of building a garden that uses water run-off to nourish native plants. According to Family Handyman, ” a rain garden nurtures the land in your yard and protects the environment by channeling rain water and runoff from gutters into a rain garden planted with deep-rooted, colorful native plants.”

A rain garden is basically a plant pond, that is, a garden bed that you plant with special deep-rooted species. These plants help the water rapidly seep into the soil, away from your house and out of your hair. You direct the rainwater from the downspouts to the garden via a swale (a stone channel) or plastic piping. The garden captures the water and, when properly designed, drains it into the soil within a day. You don’t have to worry about creating a mosquito haven; the water drains before mosquitoes even have time to breed.

If there’s an especially heavy rainfall, excess water may overflow the rain garden and run into the storm sewer system. Even so, the rain garden will have done its job. It will have channeled water away from your foundation and reduced the load on the sewer system. A rain garden also reduces the amount of lawn chemicals and pet wastes that may otherwise run off into local lakes and rivers. In some communities, the runoff problem is so big that homes with rain gardens qualify for a tax break! Call your municipality to learn your local policy.

Click here for the materials and steps needed to build this sustainable garden.

What a great family project?!