Creating Rain Gardens
A unique garden that is worth the investment
What I find so amazing about the field of landscape and gardening are the many styles and features. Homeowners can now choose from an array of garden designs to meet their every need. In the category section of this website under garden designs, you will find a list of garden projects to choose from.
In this article, however, we will be having a very interesting discussion about a garden that has and is making waves in the gardening world and that is creating a rain garden. A rain garden is not new but these are gardens which have caught the attention of many landscape designers including home and business owners.
What is a rain garden
A rain garden is a place within your landscape or garden which has an area that is intentionally sunken or where depression is made. Because of this low lying area that was intentionally constructed heavy rains is directed or flows to this part of the landscape which is good because this is an awesome way to direct heavy rain downpours from your home or building to this area. Some places this depression can be found are roadways, parking lots, driveways, places in the area of downspouts, walkways etc…
The benefits of a rain garden
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider installing a rain garden.
- A rain garden can reduce garden maintenance
- Direct the flow of water so that it cannot be stagnant discouraging mosquitoes from laying their eggs
- Helps water to flow away from your home or building
- Improve water quality
- Birds, butterflies and other wildlife are directed to this area as a natural habitat
- These garden areas are great during drought seasons
- Conserves water
- Encourages beneficial insects
- Helps with water population
- A rain garden also adds to the beauty of your garden area
Planning a rain garden
Here are the steps to take for a rain garden.
1. Find a location
The location to install your rain garden should be a low lying area which can be about 10-12 feet from your home. It is a good idea also to position your garden somewhere in the area of your downspout so as the water drains it will flow naturally into your rain garden. The location should get full to partial sun.
2. Creating a design
Like other garden types, you must create a garden design, the gold is not only to direct water away from your home but to create a pleasing design that will look natural attracting wildlife. Visualize what you want, put it down on paper this way you will have a clear picture of the whole process from beginning to the end.
3. Choosing your plants
What is a rain garden without plants, when selecting, select plants which are native? Native plants will establish quickly, plant materials such as grasses and flowering plants should be chosen which can thrive both in dry and wet condition.
4. Laying out your rain garden
Before digging the area contact the proper authorities to inform you of any wires or pipes which may be underground. Also, lay the plants out before installing because this will give you a good visual of the finished design.
5. Working the area
Next begin to work the area by raking, shoveling and moving debris.
6. Bringing in the soil
A rain garden should have well drain soils remember one of the main features of a rain garden is to collect water, this water that is collected needs not only to be absorbed but drain through. Adding compost to your existing soil will be of great help.
7. Plant Material
Now it is time to install your plant material, plants should be installed base on the design. Install plants at the right depth and give the proper spacing for good air circulation.
8. Watering Methods
Until rain falls you must water your rain garden. Give your plants sufficient water keeping them healthy until the rainy season starts.
9. The finishing touch
Once you are satisfied with the design it’s now time for the finishing touch. Adding mulch or river rocks gives that finish detail look. My preference, however, is river rocks because this will compliment this type of garden seeing it is a rain garden. River rocks give a feel of the presence of water.
Maintaining a rain garden
You have put in the work and are so happy with the results but in order for your rain garden to keep its beautiful natural appearance, there is some work that must be done just like maintaining any other garden type.
1. Weeds will compete with your garden plants for sunlight, water and nutrients so keep your garden as weed free as possible.
2. Keep your garden free of debris, you will be amazed at how quickly debris can build up
3. After a while, your mulch should be replenished because mulches are natural organics besides beautifying. So giving your rain garden a fresh 3-inch layer of mulch will work wonders.
A list of rain garden plants
Here is a short list of plants that may interest you for your rain garden.
- Butterfly Weeds
- Swamp Milkweed
- Oxeye Sunflower
- Wild Columbine
- Black-eyed Susan
- Spotted Joe-pye weed
The final word
Creating a rain garden has many benefits besides giving that beautiful inviting appearance. I believe these gardens can work wonders, rain gardens has and is making its mark as it is added to the list of garden designs. Why not give this garden a try? I assure you, you will be glad that you did as you bring that much-needed flavor to your gardens and landscapes.