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Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

Rain GardenWith the funky weather we have been having in the past few years, it seems as though Mother Nature is either sending too much or not enough rain our way. Those who find themselves becoming drenched in the spring and summer months, or are having problems with standing water and flooding, should explore the idea of creating a rain garden. It helps alleviate problems such as erosion, standing water, and will also create a beautiful statement and attract wildlife to your outdoor space. Building a Rain Garden is fairly easy, just follow these simple steps:

Choosing Your Area

Native PlantWhen choosing the location for your Rain Garden, you will want to make sure to examine rain flow patterns. If you haven’t had much rain lately, run a hose down where you receive flooding and build your rain garden where most of this water seems to collect. Make sure to build the rain garden at least 10 feet away from your house to prevent any flooding. Remember to choose an area that could use landscaping, as the rain garden will be aesthetically pleasing.

Designing Your Rain Garden

Emerald Pink PhloxRain Gardens can be calculated based on many factors, but most gardeners will create a Rain Garden that best suits the space they have available. You will want to dig the garden at least 8 inches deep (the deeper, the better) and slope the sides down towards the center, to help guide the water. Make sure there is a direct route for the water to get down into the Rain Garden – When necessary, many gardeners will use a pipe or dig a ditch to guide the water directly towards their garden.

Partridge PeaThe best choices of plants for a Rain Garden are plants that are native to your area. They thrive naturally in your area and require less care. We also suggest planting Grasses and Groundcovers among other plants to help with erosion and resist weed growth. You will want to choose plants based on the moisture in the different aspects of your Rain Garden. The center of your Rain Garden will have the wettest soil, so try planting things such as Dwarf Crested Iris. The borders of your garden will not get too much water, so plant items here that will do well with less water, such as Creeping Phlox. If possible, apply around 2 inches of mulch to the tops and side of your Rain Garden.

Maintaining Your Rain Garden

Crested IrisMake sure to water your plants every few days for the first several weeks. Once the plants are established, natural rainfall should keep them watered and fed properly. Only weeding and end of season care is necessary.

Once your Rain Garden is established, it will not only help with any standing water or flooding problems you have been having, but will also create a beautiful look to your outdoor space and provide nourishment and protection for wildlife.

What are your experiences with Rain Gardens? Please feel free to share below.

Happy Gardening!

March 13, 2012 · Amanda Shepard · 4 Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Gardening in the Winter, How-Tos, Perennials, Wildflowers

4 Responses

  1. Tracey L. Kosenski - March 22, 2012

    My rain garden is one of the favorite features of my landscape, functional and beautiful.

    The Pacific Chorus frogs love it too!

    I love that clients are very open to the idea of installing them as well. After all, we do live in very rainy Washington!

  2. Amanda Shepard - March 22, 2012

    Hi Tracey,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with Rain Gardens! I’m sure they are a very popular garden feature in Washington.

    Best,

    Amanda

  3. David Hymel - March 24, 2012

    For more on a recent rain garden installation, please visit our 8th Ave NW Street of Green project at http://raindogdesigns.com/wordpress/?page_id=1877

  4. Amanda Shepard - March 26, 2012

    Hi David,

    What a wonderful post about your rain garden installation. Thanks for sharing!

    Best,

    Amanda