healthy landscapes clean water starts at homerain garden a beautiful way to protectNarragansett Bay and replenish your water supply
Demonstration Rain GardenThe North Kingstown Town HallThe new garden that adorns the North KingstownTown Hall’s front lawn provides more thana pleasing array of ornamental shrubs and plants.It protects the environment and serves asa demonstration rain garden. A rain garden isa natural or dug shallow depression designedto capture and soak up stormwater runoff.How the garden worksStormwater runoff from a roof gutter downspoutis directed to the rain garden through an under-ground plastic pipe. We hand dug the garden toform a depression, using the excavated soil tomake a berm around the low side of the garden.The garden is designed so that water does notpool for more than four to six hours after a stormevent due to both plant and mosquito concerns.
Why the garden was installedBefore the rain garden was installed, runoff fromthe Town Hall’s southwest corner downspoutemptied onto Reynolds Street through an under-ground pipe. The runoff flowed over ReynoldsStreet and into a storm drain, eventually makingits way to nearby Narragansett Bay.The rain garden provides the following benefits: Enhances landscape beauty and attracts wildlife Conserves landscape watering needs Reduces runoff leaving the property Reduces potential water pollution to nearby Narragansett Bay Replenishes valuable groundwater resourcesThese are important benefits to a community suchas North Kingstown that has 31 miles of coastline,enjoys an abundance of fresh water resources,and relies solely on groundwater resources for itsdrinking water supply.
Design featuresAt approximately 10 feet by 16 feet (160 squarefeet) and six inches deep, the garden is sizedto handle the first one inch of runoff from the roofgutter downspout and the surrounding lawnarea that drains naturally into the garden. The firstone inch of runoff typically contains the greatestamount of pollutants.In planning and locating the garden, we tookseveral factors into consideration including: Proximity to buildings, septic systems, wells, and underground utilities Soil type and slope Potential rain garden overflow Frequent pedestrian trafficThere are several methods and important factorsto consider when planning, locating and sizing arain garden. For more information including detailsand photos of this demonstration rain garden, visitthe URI Healthy Landscapes website atwww.healthylandscapes.org or call (401) 874-5398.
CostsMaterials for the rain garden have an approximateretail value of $1,075. Hiring a landscape contrac-tor to install the rain garden (including materialsand rental equipment) would cost approximately$2,400. The demonstration garden is a result ofgenerous donations by local businesses. (See theback panel for donor recognition.)This demonstration rain garden has a few featuresthat raise the costs compared to an average raingarden installed at a private residence. The garden inlet relies on underground pipe to accommodate pedestrian traffic. The garden demonstrates a variety of large shrubs.A rain garden can contain an elaborate mix ofplants that provide year-round seasonal interestand attract butterflies and hummingbirds, orit can be simple and functional, planted to a fewshrubs or a native tree. Suitable plants canalso be transplanted from other gardens as longas they have a well-established root system. Approximate Materials retail cost Plants $741 Compost and mulch, 2 cubic $189 yards of each, delivered Sod cutter rental, 1⁄ 2 day $78 Pipe and fittings, 50 ft, free local $50 delivery * Crushed stone, 0.5 cubic yard, $17 pick-up Total $1,075 * Crushed stone can be used in place of field stone used in this garden.
Choosing plantsand garden maintenanceThe rain garden contains mostly native perennialshrubs and herbaceous plants that can tolerateboth temporary pooling and dry periods. Weselected suitable plants based on a combinationof aesthetic beauty, wildlife value and theneed for low maintenance. We also chose a widevariety of suitable plants in order to monitortheir performance. Container plants or plants witha well-established root system are important whenstarting a rain garden in order to guard againstsoil erosion and plant wash-out.
The garden currently containsthe following plants: Wild Columbine, Aquilegia Canadensis Sweet Pepperbush ‘Hummingbird’, Clethra alnifolia Red Twig Dogwood ‘Ivory Halo’, Cornus sericea Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium purpureum Inkberry ‘Shamrock’, Ilex glabra Winterberry Holly, Ilex verticillata Highbush Blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosumThe installation crew mixed compost into thenatural soil and spread it over the entire gardenupon planting. They applied mulch to conservesoil moisture, reduce weeds and protect againstsoil erosion. URI Master Gardener volunteerswater the plants periodically, especially during dryspells. The plants are otherwise low maintenanceplants and should not require added fertilizer,pesticides or water. Other periodic maintenanceincludes monitoring during and after storms,weeding, mulching, plant thinning and pruning.Rain gardens conserve and protect water qualitywhile also adding beauty to our landscape.Consider whether this is an option for your yard.As each of us takes steps to reduce stormwaterrunoff and increase groundwater recharge, thebenefits to our community and the quality of ourwater can add up and make a big difference.Visit our website at www.healthylandscapes.org
Donor RecognitionThis rain garden was installed on May 2, 2005 aspart of the University of Rhode Island CooperativeExtension (URI CE) Healthy Landscapes Program.The garden is a result of generous donations bylocal businesses. Most notably, David Renzi, ownerof Out in Front Horticulture and a URI MasterGardener, assisted with the planning and designof the garden. David also donated his services andcrew to install the garden.Special thanks to:David Renzi and crew, Out in Front HorticultureDr. Michael E. Dietz, NEMO, University ofConnecticut CE systemTown of North KingstownHolly Ridge NurseryLittle Tree Farm and GardensMorningstar NurseriesRose ShackSchartner FarmsTaylor Rental CenterThe Farmer’s DaughterWickford Lumber Co.Wildwood NurseriesURI Master Gardener volunteers who helped installthe rain garden, and who will monitor and maintain itover the next two years include:David Renzi, Valerie Harvey, Dori Gerhardt,Joy Gerstenblatt, Evelyn Quinn and Hilary Sowawww.healthylandscapes.org or (401) 874-5398 Healthy Landscapes is a project of the University of Rhode Island Cooper- ative Extension and the Town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. It is fundedby the USDA CSREES, National Integrated Water Quality Program. Written byHolly K. Burdett and Alyson McCann, URI Cooperative Extension Home*A*SystProgram, July 2005. Cooperative Extension in Rhode Island provides equal oppor-tunities in programs and employment without regard to race, sex, color, nationalorigin, sex or preference, creed or disability. This is contribution number 5019 ofthe College of the Environment and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island.Printed with vegetable based inks on 100% totally chlorine free paper.