Developing a rain garden is a great way to enhance the beauty of your yard and to help protect our Minnesota lakes and streams. You want to choose a location carefully so you get the most benefit of a rain garden. Look for a low depression or low lying area of your yard. Make sure your garden is located at least 10 – 15 feet and down slope from your home that basement leakage isn’t a problem. If you don’t have a low spot, one can be created by digging a depression in your yard where water would naturally collect.
A rain garden is nothing more than a depression in your yard planted with native plants that collects water run-off from your roof, driveway or other hard surfaces. It acts as an filtration system that keeps water out of the storm water system and on our property, re-charging the ground water. Rain gardens reduce the amount of storm water that ends up in our streams and lakes, and helps to improve water quality by filtering through plants and the soil. Developing a rain garden gives you the opportunity to keep the water clean and percolate through the soils.
So what’s so bad about storm water? Storm water is simply water that starts as clean rain that falls, runs off roofs and other hard surfaces like sidewalks and streets, picking up nutrients from the fertilizers we pump into our lawns, pet waste from our yards, salts from the roads, and other pollutants. These pollutants, carried by this once clean rainwater, end up in our creeks and rivers, polluting our waterways.
When creating a depression, it is recommended to have a six – eight inch drop from grade. The depression should be flat on the bottom, which allows the water to be evenly distributed in the area. The sides should have a slight slope. Remember, you are preparing the soil for plants. Having loose, workable soil will not only benefit the plants, but will also allow for water to drain.
A rain garden has three zones: wet, dry, and in-between. Usually, rain gardens consist of native plants, although non-invasive, non-native plants could be used as well.
Give Tony Reick a call today to plan your rain garden and do your part for our waterways.