A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff to be absorbed from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas.
Building a rain garden (or a few rain gardens) in your own yard is probably the easiest and most cost efficient thing you can do to reduce your contribution to storm water pollution.
The rain garden reduces rain runoff by allowing storm water to soak into the ground (instead of flowing into storm drains and surface waters, causing erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater).
When you capture rainwater from your roof, driveway and sidewalks and divert it into a rain garden, it will slowly soak into the ground, filter contaminants and keep quantities of clean water from going down the sewer system.
Rain gardens mimic the natural absorption and pollutant removal abilities of a forest, meadow or prairie. They can absorb runoff more efficiently - as much as 30% - 40% more than a standard lawn.
By capturing rainwater in a rain garden, holding it and then slowly releasing it into the soil, you can slow and clean the rush of a large storm - quickly, neatly and naturally.
We recommend native plants for rain gardens. Native plants generally don't require fertilizer and are more tolerant of one's local climate, soil, and water conditions. The plants - a selection of wetland edge vegetation, such as wildflowers, sedges, rushes, ferns, shrubs and small trees - take up excess water flowing into the rain garden.
Benefits of Rain Gardens
- Recharge local groundwater
- Filter runoff pollution
- Conserve water
- Improve water quality
- Protect rivers and streams
- Remove standing water in your yard
- Reduce mosquito breeding
- Increase beneficial insects that eliminate pest insects
- Reduce potential of home flooding
- Create habitat for birds & butterflies
- Survive drought seasons
- Reduce garden maintenance
- Enhance sidewalk appeal
- Increase garden enjoyment
Rain gardens are inexpensive, simple to implement, and an environmentally sound solution to urban stormwater runoff.