What’s a Rain Garden?
A “Rain Garden” is simply a shallow depression in your yard that’s planted with native wetland or wet prairie wildflowers and grasses.
Why plant a Rain Garden?
The Rain Garden is one of the most popular new perennial garden designs for three reasons
1. Rain Gardens make good use of rainwater runoff, thus conserving precious water supplies and helping protect the water quality of downstream lakes and rivers.
2. Rain Gardens are planted with native wetland and prairie wildflowers and grasses. These perennial plants naturally grew here when the first pioneers rolled across our land-so they’re hardy and low-maintenance, not to mention beautiful!
3. Rain Gardens provide food and shelter for many interesting birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects-mosquitoes! -and they’ll provide you with many hours of enjoyable bird watching.
How do I make a Rain Garden?
Size, soil type and vegetation are important factors when designing a rain garden. Rain gardens can be designed in any shape. Long and narrow ones may best fit between houses and sidewalks. Typical gardens are 100 to 300 square feet. For roof top runoff, place rain gardens at each down spout, at low points in the lawn. Each garden should be one-third the size of the roof area being drained. To control driveway and sidewalk runoff, apply these same concepts.
For rain gardens to infiltrate runoff, soil needs to be porous enough to quickly soak up water-ideally emptying within 48 hours. This helps prevent plants from drowning. It also prevents gardens from becoming mosquito breeding grounds.
Where should I put my Rain Garden?
Rain Gardens should be at least 10 feet from buildings to prevent foundations and basements from being damaged by water. They should be 35 feet or more from septic system drain fields, and 50 feet or more from drinking water wells.
Contact the Douglas SWCD at (320) 763-3191 x 3 for more information or help with garden designs.