Submitted by Aeliyra Kendall on March 1, 2023 - 12:02pm
How to Reduce Stormwater Runoff in Your Own Backyard
Stormwater runoff is a serious environmental issue that affects our local waterways and ecosystems. But, did you know that you can make a difference in your own backyard? Let us introduce you to rain gardens - a simple yet effective landscaping feature designed to capture and filter rainwater, reducing the amount of stormwater runoff that enters our local waterways. In this article, we'll take you through the steps of creating your own rain garden, so you can play a role in reducing the negative effects of stormwater runoff on the environment.
How a Rain Garden Works
Rain gardens are designed to capture and filter rainwater, making them a powerful tool in the fight against stormwater runoff. By providing a place for water to soak into the ground, rain gardens help to reduce the amount of water that flows into local waterways, which can be particularly harmful during heavy rain events.
Stormwater runoff can be a major contributor to water pollution, carrying pollutants from our roads and hard surfaces into streams and rivers. By capturing and filtering rainwater, rain gardens help to minimize the negative impact of stormwater runoff on the environment and keep our waterways clean and healthy.
Designing Your Rain Garden
Determine the Best Location for Your Rain Garden
The first step in designing a rain garden is to determine the best location for it. Look for a low-lying area in your yard where rainwater naturally flows or pools. This will ensure that your rain garden will be able to capture the maximum amount of water during a storm. It's also important to choose a location that is at least 10 feet away from your house to prevent water from seeping into your basement.
Consider the Size of Your Rain Garden
The size of your rain garden will depend on the amount of rainfall your area receives, the size of your property, and the slope of your yard. As a general rule of thumb, a rain garden should be at least 100 square feet, but larger is always better. A larger rain garden will be able to capture more water and will be more effective at reducing stormwater runoff.
Choose Appropriate Plants for Your Rain Garden
Choosing the right plants is crucial for the success of your rain garden. Native plants are a great choice as they are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, and they also attract beneficial wildlife to your garden which supports local biodiversity.
When selecting plants, consider their water needs, as well as their size and color. It's also a good idea to include a mix of plants with varying root depths to ensure that water is absorbed throughout the soil profile.
Redbud (cercis canadensis)
Beautyberry (callicarpa americana)
Virginia Sweetspire (itea virginica)
Inkberry (ilex glabra)
Blue Flag Iris (iris virginica)
Black Eyed Susan (rudbeckia fulgida)
Switch Grass (panicum virgatum)
Make Sure Your Rain Garden Has Proper Drainage
Proper drainage is crucial to the success of your rain garden, as it ensures that water is able to flow freely and be filtered by the plants and soil. Before you start digging, make sure to check the drainage of your chosen location by observing how water flows through the area during and after rainfall. . Without proper drainage, your rain garden may become waterlogged, which can lead to plant stress, disease, and even death. To prevent this, make sure that your rain garden is sloped correctly and has well-draining soil. You may also need to add a layer of sand or gravel to improve drainage.