Rain gardens are a stormwater treatment method that can be used in your own backyard! Rain gardens are used as pollution treatments for water runoff from roofs and driveways. When stormwater moves over pavement, it carries with it fertilizer, pathogens, toxic contaminants, sediment and other pollutants before entering drains that will eventually lead to our streams. Polluted runoff can harm aquatic life and make streams unsuitable for fishing and swimming. The more efforts there are to reduce polluted runoff, i.e. rain gardens, the better!
Picking a Site
Planning is a very important step when it comes to building your own rain garden.
- Avoid placing a rain garden in a low spot in the yard that seems to be wet all the time. A rain garden is not a water garden or a wetland.
- Keep rain garden at least 10 feet away from your house if you have a basement. Infiltrating water too close to the foundation may cause water problems in the basement.
- Do not install over your septic system or too close to drinking water well.
- Don’t install where bedrock or stone outcrops are closer than 2 feet to the surface.
- Avoid steep slopes
- Plan for overflow from the garden. Be aware of where water will go if it overflows from the garden.
Check the Infiltration of the Soil
- Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep where you plan to build your rain garden
- Fill the hole with water and wait.
- If it takes 1-6 hours to drain, it is an excellent spot
- If it takes 6-18 hours to drain, amendments may need to be made
- If it takes more than 18 hours to drain, a different location should be used.
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