How to Install a Rain Garden

CHRISTINA STEVENSON

A rain garden isn’t as complex an idea as it sounds. You can just use a small depression in your yard—the one where a puddle always forms when it rains. According to LifeHacker.com, the goal of a rain garden is to “temporarily hold and absorb rain water runoff coming from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns.”

Instead of putting up with a puddle that turns into a muddy mosquito haven, you can plant shrubs, perennials, flowers, and native grasses into the slope and make it look intentional and attractive. BirdsandBlooms.com maintains that rain gardens can soak up as much as 30% more water than a conventional lawn. They can also provide a natural habitat for birds, butterflies, and other helpful insects, says the site. 

If you really want to get scientific about it, rain gardens serve an environmentally sound purpose. The technical phrase for rain gardens is bioretention facilities, which refers to a number of practices that helps soil reabsorb rain runoff, slows the flow rate of runoff, and filters pollutants from roofs, driveways, and walkways. Rain gardens help reduce the “heat island effect” which makes cities much hotter than rural areas.

Plant your rain garden on a slope, at least 10 ft. from the house. The garden should be twice as long as it is wide. Use plants that absorb nutrients and water and release water vapor back into the atmosphere, such as small trees, shrubs, rushes, wildflowers, and sedges, explains FamilyHandyman.com. Click here to find suitable plants. 

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