Plant an Eco-Friendly Rain Garden
You Will Need:Highly water-tolerant plants
5 Golden alexanders
5 March Milkweed
Moderately water-tolerant plants:
5 Blue false indigo
5 Bee balm
5 Joe-pye weed
5 Prairie dropseed
5 Coreopsis (Tickseed)
5 Butterfly weed
5 Rudbeckia (Brown-eyed Susan)
5 Blazing star
- Rain gardens are a natural way to absorb storm water runoff, preventing overflow from polluting rivers and streams. Locate your rain garden 10 to 20 feet from a downspout or in a lawn area subject to heavy runoff.
- Call your local utility service to mark utilities before you dig.
- Rain gardens are bowl shaped and quite shallow. To measure soil drainage, dig an 8-inch deep hole and fill it with water. Wait 24 hours; then measure the depth of water drained. This is the drainage depth of your rain garden.
- Determine the size of your rain garden by computing the square footage (length X width) of the area that will drain into your garden and divide it by the depth of your garden.
- Using hose or marking spray to outline the shape of your garden, remove the sod and dig to the drainage depth. Till the soil, mixing in 2 inches of compost.
- Disconnect the downspout, using extensions, shallow channels cut into the soil or flat stones to direct runoff water into the garden. If you prefer to use buried pipe, but do not bury below the drainage depth.
- Plant your rain garden with native species. Place the most water-tolerant plants at the center and where water flows into the garden. Spacing plants 12 inches apart, work from the center, out, planting drought-tolerant plants along the garden’s outer edges.
- Mulch to a depth of 2 to 3 inches and keep well-watered during the first growing season. Your rain garden should be self-sufficient and require little care once established.