A rain garden is a garden that’s designed for a particular purpose: to collect and infiltrate storm water runoff from the impervious places around your home, like your roof, driveway, or even lawns. Storm water is considered a major source of water pollution and is responsible for carrying up to 70% of the pollution found in local waterways. Gathering storm water in a rain garden instead of letting it go directly into a storm sewer increases groundwater recharge and improves water quality, and reduces erosion and the occurrence of flash flooding. In addition, a rain garden also provides habitat for wildlife and attracts birds and butterflies.
More than Just an Eco-friendly Addition to Your Home
Having a rain garden not only has plenty of ecological benefits, it also offers practical advantages. First, it prettifies your property, increasing its value and making it more attractive to buyers if you’re planning on selling. It looks unique, too, and makes your place stand out from all others. Second, rain gardens are very low maintenance, and they typically don’t need to be mowed, fertilized, or watered. Once the garden has been established, you can leave it alone to take care of itself. Of course, you can add accessories to it, like a natural-looking rock fountain from Kinetic Fountains, to change or update its look from time to time.
That said, there are a few requirements when setting up your own rain garden. Here are some of them:
- The rain garden shouldn’t be placed directly over a septic tank, well, or any underground utility.
- It should be located at least 10 feet away from your home or building.
- Its depth depends on the garden’s infiltration rate, but it should not be deeper than 12 inches.
- The water in the garden should completely infiltrate into the ground within 24 hours.
- Its size depends on your landscaping needs, so you can make it as small or as large as needed.
- It’s advised to put the garden in full or part sun and give it access to a downspout.
Installing a Rain Fountain
Decide on the dimensions of the rain garden first. The floor and side slopes should have a ratio of 3:1, and the garden should have a flat bottom to ensure maximum water infiltration. The depth of the garden depends on how wide it is, the type of soil it has and its water infiltration rate, and how wide the garden will be. After digging, place stones at the water’s entry point to prevent erosion. If you want hardscapes in the garden, you can use permeable concrete and gravel.
Native and stress-resistant plants are the best choice for a water garden, since they are more capable of withstanding the added stress from water pooling and the dry season in between. It’s also advised to use plants with large and developed root structures, as these plants can aid in water infiltration, make a strong root mass that will prevent erosion, and easily settle in the garden. Just like in a normal garden, take note of a few aesthetic considerations like the plant’s height, color, and bloom time.
Maintaining a Rain Fountain
During heavy rains, observe the rain fountain and take note of where the water flows. The mulch should stay in place but if it doesn’t, consider adding more rocks to the garden to slow down its movement. If a plant dies or is eroded by heavy rain, plant a replacement and replace the mulch as needed. On the first 2 years of the garden and during dry spells, regularly water the plants to promote their healthy growth. While this type of garden is pretty low maintenance, make it a habit to check on it periodically to ensure that your plants are thriving and the garden is working as designed
Starting and keeping a rain garden is a rewarding hobby. You’ll feel a lot better about your garden knowing that it not only looks great, but it also helps the environment and improves the overall value of your property.
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