Rain Gardens<br />Sarah J. Williams<br />UMass Amherst<br />Sustainable Sites- Spring 2011<br />
What Is a Rain Garden?<br /><ul><li>A garden with a shallow depression which is strategically located on a property to capture storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces- rooftops, patios, driveways etc, before it enters the waterways
The runoff water is held by the garden and allowed to slowly infiltrate the soil. The soil and plant roots naturally filter pollutants and reduce runoff. </li></li></ul><li>Benefits<br /><ul><li>Allows a natural cleaning process to occur before the water reaches open waterways.
Rain Garden Area = 5-10% Surface area of runoff collection (i.e. roof, driveway etc)
Depth and area are dependant on climate in area where garden is being planted
Best to use visually pleasing shapes- round edges, kidney shaped etc.</li></li></ul><li>Soil Requirements<br /><ul><li>Type of soil- sandy soil absorbs water faster than clay soil.
Compost makes a significant difference in root development.
TEST DRAINAGE FIRST - Dig a hole 18 inches deep and fill with water. If water is drained within 24 hours location is good for rain garden.</li></li></ul><li>Plants<br /><ul><li>Use native plants in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
Select plants with a well-developed root system. Seeds can take too long to develop and can be compromised by too much water or animals.
Plants need to be able to handle heavy amounts of water and periods of dryness.
Plants that can handle more water should be placed at the lowest point in the garden- center or back edge depending on slope.
New England Wild Flower Association Rain Garden Plant List
If you are outside of New England, Google “rain garden plants for Your Location” to find plant lists. </li></ul>New England Aster<br />Coneflower<br />
Last But Not Least…<br />Maintenance<br /><ul><li>Minimal regular maintenance required.