That frequently wet spot outside your yard after a heavy downpour can be turned into a rain garden, a depressed area filled with soil, compost, and mulch that houses plants that can withstand constant wetness. During downpours, the rain garden temporarily holds and soaks storm water runoff and acts as a mini filtration system by absorbing the runoff; sending cleaner water down into the aquifer instead of polluted water directly into our streams, bays, and oceans. The rain garden, therefore, is a great way to help lessen water pollution.
Aside from being a great way to reduce water pollution, a rain garden can be a creative addition to your garden’s landscape design. For the plantsperson with a flair for beauty, nothing is more exciting than waking up in the morning with sunshine on your face, knowing today is the day you will adorn the home of your beloved plants with another variety of plants.
Plants look pleasing; even a small plant in a terracotta pot is a sight to behold. A rain garden, while already beautiful on its own, can be your garden’s centerpiece. All it needs is a little imagination and these tips:
- Use a good colour scheme when planting colourful wetland plants. A rain garden has three zones: zone 1 or the wet zone, zone 2 or the middle zone, and zone 3 or the transition zone, with zone 1 being the centremost and should contain plants that can thrive in flooded conditions. A variety of shrubs, perennials, ferns, and trees are available in lovely colors that you can mix and match. There’s really no rigid rule what a colour scheme should be as long as it’s aesthetically pleasing.
- Ensure that your gutters and the downspout leading to your rain garden look in tiptop shape by painting them with a colour that complements your colour scheme. First, clean the gutters and the downspout. If there are signs of rust, apply a corrosion-resistant metal primer. Then apply 100% acrylic latex paint.
- Arrange decorative stones around the berm (or the mounded hills of dirt surrounding your rain garden). A good choice is river rocks, which are large decorative rocks with a smooth finish and, combined with the sound of rain, gives your garden a tranquil feel. Make sure your berm is compact by tamping with a tamper or shovel. Unleash your creative juices by juxtaposing other attractive stones or pavement fragments around your rain garden for added visual interest.
- Hang rain chains over your rain garden. A rain chain, or gutter chain, is a series of copper cups chained together that collects rainwater runoff from a rooftop gutter. These are widely used in Japan, and their main function is decorative. There are a lot of DIY sites that will teach you how to make them.
- Build a small outdoor patio near your rainwater garden. Use permeable paving with skid-resistant surface to reduce runoff to drains and to recharge groundwater reservoirs. Commune with nature and enjoy some moment alone while seated in an Adirondack chair as you admire your lovely rain garden and being alive.
- No amount of decors will compensate a rain garden that looks weathered and untended. Always ensure cleanliness around your rain garden by sweeping away fallen leaves and pulling out weeds growing in the soil and around the berm. For better upkeep, choose plants that’s native to your region, as they are more likely to flourish with minimal care.
Wetland plants are always thirsty, so remember to water them during days when it doesn’t rain. A cost-effective way is using rainwater collected from reservoirs. Rainwater tanks are ideal as they have larger volume capacity than buckets. You will have more water to use for other household chores, like your laundry or cleaning the car. If you still don’t have a rainwater tank, be sure to enquire from a trusted provider with years of experience in the water tank industry.
Help us protect the quality of our waters in the most beautiful way—by planting a rain garden. If you still don’t have one, we will be happy to help you out.