A rain garden is a depressed area or a “manmade puddle” in your landscape, planted with native plants, shrubs or trees (or even just grass), that collects rainwater from parking areas, driveways, walkways, or roof downspouts.
Rain gardens allow water to soak into the ground naturally instead of rushing off over the pavement and into a storm drain. Any contaminants in the runoff get filtered and cleaned naturally by the soil and plants before the water reaches our waterways.
Rain gardens can be beautiful, but they don’t have to be fancy to do their job. Sometimes simply removing a little soil at the edge of your driveway or street, or redirecting or extending a downspout will allow runoff to flow away from pavement and storm drains, and into a natural depression or a lawn area where it can soak into the ground.
During rainstorms, runoff enters the rain garden and slowly filters into the ground. Allowing rainwater to slowly filter into the ground also allows more water to recharge our underground water supplies.
In addition, rain gardens…
- are a great solution when there isn’t enough space to just 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.
Watch below as NepRWA Executive Director, Ian Cooke, and Environmental Scientist, Declan Devine, present information about rain gardens, as part of the Sustainability Program with the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood.
Rain Garden Resources:
- NepRWA’s flyer on rain gardens with a plant list
- Introductory guide on how to site, design, plant, and maintain a rain garden by the Mass Watershed Coalition
- EPA’s Soak up the Rain Campaign
- UCONN Rain Gardens
Why it’s Important to Slow Runoff From Entering Storm Drains
When rainwater from the street flows directly into storm drains, it carries the pollutants that are on the road into our waterways – untreated. (Pollutants include motor oil, gasoline, fertilizer, pesticides, dog waste, etc.) This dirty runoff can cause water pollution in our local streams and ponds. Rain gardens are a great way to intercept and filter that polluted water!
For more information, contact NepRWA Environmental Scientist, Declan Devine at firstname.lastname@example.org