I was introduced to these beauties several years ago and currently have two in the yard. At first, they sounded like they were going to be complicated and intimidating to install….couldn’t have been more wrong. They’re basically a shallow depression dug into the earth strategically positioned to capture the rainfall that runs off of impervious surfaces (impermeable, water-resistant surfaces) like rooftops, driveways, parking lots, etc. They allow the water to infiltrate back into the earth, and prevent the runoff from rushing off to a storm drain or causing any sort of soil erosion and are a big aid in water quality. Your depression gets filled back in with a 60/20/20 ratio of top soil, compost and sand, then planted up with native perennials and they have been what you would call…. low, low, low maintenance. Once installed, they pretty much take care of themselves…maybe a weed or two to pull, and maybe a little thinning out here and there, but overall a no-fuss addition to the yard that brings a smile every time I glance over at them knowing they’re naturally hard at work. The whole process has also instilled in me a greater appreciation for native plants. Their resistance, their benefits, the natural harmony that exists was worth learning more about and the more I have learned, the more I go in that direction with other things I plant. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything in my yard that isn’t native, it just means that I’m much more conscientious of what I plant where, and why.
Rain gardens come in many shapes and sizes and can easily be installed in urban areas as well as rural. If you would like to know more, our friends over at the NRCS have an amazing outlet of information available on their website. Click here and gather up what you need to get one started in your yard or area.
You can also get a glimpse at the step by step for the one pictured, by clicking here.
Cheers to the natural function and beauty of rain gardens everywhere!