A rain garden is a depressed area in the landscape, planted with grasses and flowering perennials, that collects runoff from parking areas, driveways, walkways and roofs.
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.
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, and reduces the amount of polluted runoff entering our waterways, keeping our aquatic ecosystems and wildlife healthier!.
When stormwater filters slowly into the soil, rather than “running” off pavement, it also allows more water to recharge our underground water supplies.
In addition, rain gardens…
- are great solution when there isn’t enough space to redirect runoff into the lawn,
- can be installed in almost any unpaved space,
- use native species of plants that are tolerant of wet and dry conditions, and which don’t need artificial fertilizers,
- and can be filled with more formal plantings or designed for minimal maintenance.
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.