Rain gardens catch runoff from parking areas, driveways, walkways and roofs, allowing the stormwater to slowly filter into the soil rather than flow directly into storm drains, ponds or lakes. This allows more water to soak into the ground to recharge our underground water supplies. It also reduces the amount of polluted runoff entering our waterways, keeping our aquatic ecosystems and wildlife healthier!
During rainstorms, runoff enters the rain garden and slowly filters into the ground to provide moisture for the plants. The runoff is filtered and cleaned naturally by soil and plants.
Rain gardens are easier to build than you may realize, and can be installed in almost any unpaved space. In addition, they are:
- A great solution when there isn’t enough space to redirect runoff into the lawn
- Built by digging a shallow depression and planting native species of plants that are tolerant of wet and dry conditions and which don’t need artificial fertilizers
- Extremely flexible. They can be filled with formal garden plantings, or can be designed for minimal maintenance with native shrubs, small trees, or even grass. They can be mulched like a typical garden bed, or not
Ideally a rain garden would be about 6 inches deep and 10-15% of the size of the paved or roof area that drains into it, but they can be deeper, shallower, larger or smaller to suit your site and your tastes.
Additional Rain Garden Resources:
- EPA’s Soak up the Rain Campaign
- Native Plant Society of NJ.
- Rain Garden Network
- Low Impact Development Center.
- Advice for choosing plant species (Natural Resources Conservation Service)
- MN Pollution Control Agency
- Rain Gardens ‘Cut City Pollution’ (BBC, 2006)
- Make your yard environmentally-friendly
For more information, contact NepRWA Environmental Scientist, Chris Hirsch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-575-0354 x302.