Rain garden (it should not be confused with Gardening in the Rain) is an interesting concept. It not only increases your gardening beauty but also helps in water preservation. Here in this article, I want to give you a brief idea about this concept.
What is a rain garden?
Rain garden refers to a garden which takes the advantage of the water from the rainfall in growing plants. The garden is designed to withstand a great level of moisture and concentration of nutrients. It gave the run-off water the opportunity to slow down as it go downhill and thus reduces its erosive power.
Rain garden looks as like any other garden from outside but the specialty lies in the fact that it gets its water from the runoff and what happen after the water enters the garden.
The rain garden is a shallow depression in your backyard with absorbent yet free draining soil and it is planted with vegetation. It acts as a personal water quality system as it filters the waste water of the roof and other hard surfaces and recharges it.
Why should I plant a rain garden?
The main purpose of having this is to receive the run off water from hard surfaces like the roof, sidewalk etc. By having a rain garden you will do your little bit to preserve this invaluable natural resource called water.
It increases the scenic beauty of the garden and protect streams and lakes nearby from pollutants and also help reducing flood.
It holds water for quite some time and thus provides a natural habitat for Birds, Butterflies and many other beneficial insects.
It also helps in reducing your water needs by recycling the waste water. So you would have lesser municipality water requirements.
How to build a rain garden?
Building a rain garden is very easy and is not at all expensive.
The first thing to do is to choose a spot to prepare the garden. It can be near the house if you only want to collect roof runoff or can be a little further in case lawn water is also in your plan.
Just keep this in mind that it should not be near a big tree or very near of the foundation of the house or it can damage them.
Next, you need to find the are that will drain the water to your rain garden. The larger the area more the water will come to the garden. Ideal size of the garden can be from 100 sq ft to 250 sq ft depending on the total area. It should not be deeper than 6 to 8 inches.
While digging the garden you need to make a berm (a low wall) to prevent the water going downhill. Dig a couple of inches more than the actual size of the garden. Add 2-inch thick compost for the nourishment of the plants.
Now come the most interesting part THE PLANTING. First make a rough plan of the actual garden in terms of the plants you want to grow and their positions in the garden.
Choose the plants carefully considering their height flowering time and composite texture of the garden. Choosing different blooming time will ensure a longer flowering season for the garden.
Use one or two years old plants, with the well established root system. Until the rain starts you need to give them much needed water for their survival. Use native plants to reduce cost and increase the chances of survival.
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