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It’s Raining Flowers, So Hold Your Water

2010 May 6
Beneficial uses of Rain Gardens

Beneficial uses of Rain Gardens

On my block, you’ll know if we had a good rain if the river of water along the street curbs and sidewalks is heading to the corner storm drain. Heck, why waste that water when I can keep it on my property and grow a lovely rain garden. I planted one in 2009. It’s a modest little rain-sucker, but one that at least showed I cared. It makes good sense to plant a rain garden and take other steps to contain rainwater on your property and to do more for the environment with these tips. How does a rain garden work? The soil and plants absorb the water and filter pollution. The garden slows down and reduces the volume of rainfall runoff before it enters the drain, but doesn’t pond since it’s quick draining. The water from your roof, driveway and sidewalk collects fertilizers, pet waste, oil and other pollutants as it runs off into the nearest storm drain and out into your local river or stream. Rain gardens are just one way to contain runoff and protect your streams and rivers. You can find more suggestions here. Have you planted a rain garden, installed a rain barrel or taken other steps to reduce runoff? If so, let us know how you’re doing in holding your water.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. rainy permalink
    May 10, 2010

    Rain gardens really are very cool. I have one in my backyard and it worked really well in the spring this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  2. Sue permalink
    May 17, 2010

    That’s a great question! Well, it’s actually the plants and the dirt that make up the rain garden that do the real work. When installed properly, with the right layers of mulch, sand, gravel and native plants, the garden helps to reduce the speed and the amount of rainwater that would normally go straight into a storm sewer or other conveyance and then, from there, into the stream. So as the water slowly goes into the garden, the layers help to trap and filter out pollutants. And, so the garden helps to return cleaner water to nearby streams. The gardens also help reduce flooding by sending the water back underground instead of into the street. If you’d like to learn more about how this works, check out these links from some state and local organizations. http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/topic/raingarden/stormwater.htm
    http://www.epa.gov/nps/toolbox/other/cwc_raingardenbrochure.pdf

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. May 24, 2010

    I am so glad I came across this. My daughter has been doing a project at school about composting and making better use of resources. I will pass on these links about how to make a rain garden. Helping reduce the toxins that get into water supplies is great. Anything that can reduce the toxins in our environment has to help our overall health and who better to learn about that than our children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. May 25, 2010

    Hi,
    This may be a dumb question, but is this something that should be considered in a rainy climate like Florida? I’m afraid that the excess water would attract mosquitoes and/or other mold/mildew problems. Our water table is extremely shallow in some areas only a couple of feet.
    I run an Orlando Information Website and would like to repost this with permission, but would first like to see if it is valid for FL.
    May I have permission to repost this on 411 Orlando Information Directory? Please advise.
    Thank you ,
    Rich Bianco

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. August 14, 2010

    Rich, No question is dumb! If installed correctly, a rain garden shouldn’t create standing water, instead, it should provide a way for water to percolate from the surface to below the surface, not only helping thirsty plants, but also reducing standing water and run off. Plants will take up lots of water so even if ground water is close to the surface, the garden should function just fine. You can certainly feel free to post this on Orlando’s Information Directory. Thanks!

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  6. November 24, 2010

    Hey I like your post !

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  7. Kunstplanten permalink
    January 29, 2014

    A rain garden sounds really cool. I guess that with the current weather circumstances your rain garden wont be in very good condition though.

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  8. Irrigation Boucherville permalink
    November 28, 2014

    The rain Garden idea seems really neat! We are in the Irrigation business and you won’t believe how many inquiries we get about rain barrels and options for watering the lawn using stored rain-water. we love conserving water (and saving clients money)
    great post!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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