Riverwoods Preservation Council

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Rain Garden
 Rain Gardens are Great!

 September, 2008


(photograph courtesy of raingardennetwork.com)

Well, you've probably heard about rain gardens but what really is a rain garden?
Let's make a quick review of this smart, sustainable and natural way to reduce storm water runoff and protect our waterways.

Why plant a rain garden?
As we increase the build up of our cities and towns by adding buildings, roads and parking lots we pave over the open ground that once absorbed the rain and helped to reduce flooding and stream erosion. To counteract these effects of our "growth" a number of techniques can be implemented by property owners that will help keep the rainwater that falls on their property . . . on their property.

A rain garden is basically a landscaping technique that is designed to hold rainwater that comes from downspouts and hard surfaces. Rain gardens hold the water for a short period of time and then allow it to soak slowly into the ground. This keeps the excess water and any pollutants it picks up out of the sewers and rivers.

How is a rain garden created?
A rain garden should be dug as a shallow depression (perhaps 6-8" deep),
positioned near a runoff source (downspout, driveway, etc.) and planted with deep-rooted native plants that will survive wet periods after a storm, as well as, dry periods.

Although you can use a variety of hardy perennials we suggest planting the garden with plants native to your area because they are adapted to the local climate and are able to search out water in the ground. Native grasses, sedges and ferns, at home in the woodlands, wetlands, savannas or prairies of the Midwest work well in Riverwoods rain gardens. Add asters, native goldenrods, monarda, wild columbine, Joe Pye weed and other native flowering plants for color through the seasons.

Rain gardens are just one simple solution to reduce storm water pollution.
For additional information, please visit The Rain Garden Network web site at www.raingardennetwork.com.

by Sue Cubberly
Rain Garden Network

© Riverwoods Preservation Council- - Page last updated: December 2009