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WHAT ARE RAIN GARDENS?

Rain gardens are places where runoff from roofs, lawns, driveways, walkways, and other surfaces goes. These gardens have deep-rooted perennials, grasses that are native to the area, and shrubs. Rain gardens temporarily hold rain before it goes into storm drains.

HOW RAIN GARDENS WORK 

Rain gardens play an important role in the world around us. They act as water filters, which help keep the water clean. (Research source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency)

  • As it rains, the garden gets water from everything near it. It is built on a slope. The runoff from the rain can flow freely into the garden this way.
  • The soil in the garden traps the water and stores it for a short time. Also, pollutants are removed from the water so that it is clean.
  • At the start of a stream, rocks are often placed. This helps water move more slowly through the stream. There are a lot of large sediments that the rocks pick up as well, though.
  • Rainwater runoff can stay in the garden for a few hours, depending on how much rain there has been and how quickly it runs off.
  • A rain garden is meant to hold water for less than 48 hours. A mosquito won’t be able to breed on the site because of this.
  • The rainwater runoff is left to soak into the ground, which stops surface runoff.
  • There is a lot of water in rain gardens, but most of it goes into the plants. If the garden is overflowing, the water is sent to storm drains.

Related article: Is Local Food Better for the Environment

RAIN GARDEN BENEFITS

Rain gardens offer a wide range of benefits to the environment: (Research source: United States Environmental Protection Agency)

rain garden benefits
  1. Habitat Creation for Pollinators

  • These gardens can help keep biodiversity in a certain area. Butterflies, sunbirds, and a lot of other bugs love rain gardens.
  • Most insects are pollinators, which means that they can help flowering plants in the world. In rain gardens, there are many types of soil microbes.
  1. Water Conservation

  • Because rain gardens store rainwater, they don’t need to be watered very often. The plants can use the water in the soil for a few days or even a few months.
  • Rain gardens are places where water can be stored. However, the size of the garden may change this.
  1. Prevents Erosion

  • The soil in rain gardens is held in place by plants that are very deep in the ground. This means that the topsoil isn’t going to be washed away by the runoff water.
  • A rain garden can also help slow down the speed of water that runs off the land, which helps protect the soil. There are a lot of good soils near rain gardens. They are also very fertile.
  1. Pollution Control

  • The parts of a rain garden keep water sources clean. When water runs through a rain garden, the soil traps small particles that could end up in rivers, lakes, and streams.
  • Rain gardens can help remove chemicals, animal waste, and other pollutants from the ground. In addition, the roots of plants also pick up sediments. This can help keep storm drain systems from getting clogged up.
  1. Prevents Localized Flooding

  • The well-designed rain gardens can keep localized floods from happening. Because most of the water goes into the garden, the areas next to it won’t flood.
  • The flow entrance should be placed in a way that will help more water be caught.

DISADVANTAGES OF RAIN GARDENS

As much rain gardens are beneficial, they can be disadvantageous in some cases:

disadvantages of rain gardens

1. Rain Gardens Require Regular Maintenance and Landscaping

  • As long as they get the attention they need, rain gardens can only do what they were made to do. When there is no rain, the plants need to be watered a lot to keep them alive.
  • Weeds should also be removed so that they don’t choke the other plants. Rain gardens may also need to be pruned to look better.
  • Inspections should be done after a lot of rain. Allows homeowners to fix things if there is a need to do so.
  • To keep water from evaporating, the mulch needs to be changed from time to time. In this example, we see how water turns into gas.

2. Limited Size

  • Most rain gardens are small. As a result, they may not be as effective, especially when it rains heavily.
  • Rain gardens can overflow, allowing pollutants to flow into water sources. This can also cause soil erosion, resulting in other serious environmental problems.
  • If the sediment runoff is not controlled, it can accumulate in the garden over time, thereby clogging the outlet.
  • A clogged rain garden may cause rainwater runoff to flow backward. Consequently, the surrounding area will be flooded.

RAIN GARDEN PLANTS

The plants in a rain garden can have an effect on how well it does their job.

  • This means that most of the rain gardens that people have are very small, and this is why. When it rains a lot, they may not be as good as they used to be.
  • Some rain gardens can overflow. This can let polluted water get into the water that people drink. This can also cause soil to be washed away, which can have a big effect on the Earth.
  • Runoff that isn’t kept under control can build up in the garden and cause the drain to become blocked.
  • People who have a rain garden that is too full could make rainwater run off in the wrong direction. A flood will happen because of this.
commonly used rain garden plants

Commonly Used Rain Garden Plants:

  1. Fox sedge

  • The sedge can be found in a lot of places in the United States. However, it can be invasive in some places.
  • This plant has a lot of roots, which makes it a good choice for rain gardens
  1. Lady Fern

  • Lady Fern thrives in wet places. It grows through rhizomes and can spread over time in rain gardens.
  1. Culver’s root

  • Culver’s root is a perennial wildflower that grows all year long. It is known for being hardy.
  • They can be found in prairies and meadows a lot of the time.
  • Among the other plants in a rain garden are Swamp milkweed and black-eyed susan.

HOW TO BUILD A RAIN GARDEN

Building a rain garden is very easy: (Research source: Family Handyman)

how to build a rain garden
  • Locate an Ideal Site

-At least 10 feet away from the house, a rain garden should be built.

-As a rule, the rain garden should not be built on top of underground utilities like septic tanks or gas lines.

  • Determine size and Depth

– In order to figure out how big and how deep your rain garden should be, think about how big or small your roof is.

– The shape of a rain garden can vary. Most people use spray paint to mark the places where they will dig.

  • Dig the Site

-The bottom of the garden should be flat so that water can be spread evenly.

-A berm should be built around the garden to keep water from running back up.

  • Connect The Drainpipe

-The drainpipe should run through a trench to prevent possible damage.

-Drainpipes direct water from gutters to the rain garden.

  • Add Soil

-The drainpipe should run through a trench to avoid possible damage, so it should.

Water from gutters flows into a rain garden thanks to drainpipes, which send it there.

-A hole should be filled with soil. It is best to mix different types of soil to help water get through.

-If you’re filling in the hole, you should also use soil that comes from your area.

  • Add Plants

– Plants should be grouped together. Wet plants should be put in the middle.

-It’s important to plant some plants on the sides.

  • Add Mulch 

-Adding mulch will help keep water from evaporating.

-The mulch should be at least 3 inches thick. This is what you should do.

RAIN GARDENS PRESERVE WATER QUALITY

Gardens naturally clean water. They are very good at removing pollutants from rainwater runoff, which helps keep water clean. The butterflies and other insects that live in rain gardens also get food from them, as well. In the case of the monarch butterfly, they help them. Rain gardens are easy to care for and cheap.

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