Rain garden

Rain gardens are shallow, excavated garden areas, vegetated with native plants. They are designed and engineered to receive, retain and infiltrate stormwater runoff from individual lots and their impervious areas. The native bunch grasses and sedges sequester carbon dioxide in their extensive root systems and help to deep-mulch the soils. This process of adding soil organic carbon improves the infiltration and water holding capacity of the soil over time.

Rain gardens (also referred to as bioretention) help to minimize the amount of untreated stormwater that drains to the local storm sewer. This offers some protection from localized flooding and removes pollutants from runoff. The infiltration process further helps to restore the natural water cycle, maintains base flows and recharges ground water levels.

Our two residential rain gardens were installed to receive rainwater runoff from the south roof once the rain barrels were full. We started construction in 2004 and seeded the entire rain garden area with native prairie plants, including prairie grasses and sedges. Within two years the vegetation was well established, and now manages the rainwater with amazing efficiency: No standing water has been observed, even during heavy storm events. The rain gardens provide floral and textural interest throughout the year and attract a variety of wildlife.

You can download an INFO SHEET for more detailed information. You can also browse images of the rain garden INSTALLATION, THE 1ST SEASON, THE FIRST BURN, LATE SPRING, and SUMMER AND FALL VEGETATION, or view time-lapse animation of the 2006 and 2007 growing season.

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