Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rain Garden - Part 2

(Picture Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, New Zealand)

Is it worth the effort to put in a rain garden?

According to Rutgers Research & Extension Fact Sheet, one rain garden in New Jersey receiving run off from 1,000 square feet could treat about 25,000 gallons of water per year. I think that alone makes rain gardens worth considering. If you multiply by any number of rain gardens, it adds up fast.

How difficult is it?

After checking for underground utilities (“PA One Call” dial 811) and figuring the size garden, the rest is manual labor. Detailed instructions are available from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources/University of Wisconsin Extension.
If you can convince a few friends to lend a hand, your only costs may be for mulch and plants (and perhaps a few cases of beer). Maintenance includes watering the first year, weeding and adding mulch when necessary. As the garden fills in, the need for weeding should be reduced. Pruning and trimming will take a little time in spring and fall. If all goes well, maintenance should take less time than mowing the area.

All proponents recommend using native plants. Most native plants grow well in the wet/dry conditions of the rain garden. Also an attractive mix of native plants is more likely to be pest and disease resistant. Natives can also provide habitats for beneficial insects, food for birds and butterflies and add biodiversity in the landscape. You can contact your local extension service for a list of natives for your area suited to rain gardens.

Recent rapid growth in the Lehigh Valley has caused basements and roads to flood. I can’t imagine how it is affecting our streams.
Rain gardens are being installed as a solution around the world. Google "rain gardens parking lots” for an extensive list.

Whether or not you think a rain garden is for you, encourage municipalities to promote rain gardens in new construction to lessen the impact of urban development.


Chandramouli S said...

That's a great way to keep the atrocities created by the so-called urban development! Now, I'm not one who complains about development, but I'm concerned as to what extent it is. This rain garden seems a great idea! Hope our government too looks into it and take steps to improve the cities here too.

Marie said...


I've been hearing a lot of talk about rain gardens lately. They can be one more way to help our environment. I hope it catches on.