With the funky weather we have been having in the past few years, it seems as though Mother Nature is either sending too much or not enough rain our way. Those who find themselves becoming drenched in the spring and summer months, or are having problems with standing water and flooding, should explore the idea of building a rain garden. It helps alleviate problems such as erosion, standing water, and will also create a beautiful statement and attract wildlife to your outdoor space.
Building a Rain Garden is fairly easy, just follow these simple steps:
Choosing Your Area
When choosing the location for your Rain Garden, you will want to make sure to examine rain flow patterns. If you haven’t had much rain lately, run a hose down where you receive flooding and build your rain garden where most of this water seems to collect. Make sure to build the rain garden at least 10 feet away from your house to prevent any flooding. Remember to choose an area that could use landscaping, as the rain garden will be aesthetically pleasing.
Designing Your Rain Garden
Rain Gardens can be calculated based on many factors, but most gardeners will create a Rain Garden that best suits the space they have available. You will want to dig the garden at least 8 inches deep (the deeper, the better) and slope the sides down towards the center, to help guide the water. Make sure there is a direct route for the water to get down into the Rain Garden – When necessary, many gardeners will use a pipe or dig a ditch to guide the water directly towards their garden.
The best choices of plants for a Rain Garden are plants that are native to your area. They thrive naturally in your area and require less care. We also suggest planting Grasses and Groundcovers among other plants to help with erosion and resist weed growth. You will want to choose plants based on the moisture in the different aspects of your Rain Garden.
The center of your Rain Garden will have the wettest soil, so try planting things such as Caesar's Brother Siberian Iris. The borders of your garden will not get too much water, so plant items here that will do well with less water, such as Creeping Phlox. If possible, apply around 2 inches of mulch to the tops and side of your Rain Garden.
Sweet Betsy Trillium, aka Toadshade, is a perennial native wildflower that blooms during the spring. A small deep burgundy flower blooms from the center of the three main leaves. Leaf patterns vary, but include shades of forest green, light green, and silver that together resemble the coloring of a toad’s skin—hence the common name. A beautiful addition to woodland or shade gardens in zones 5-8. (Trillium cuneatum)
A versatile and adaptable native shrub, Winterthur Smooth Viburnum brings dynamic interest to the landscape. In spring, flat-topped clusters of lightly fragrant white blossoms grace the plant, drawing pollinators. Flowers are followed by berries that mature from pink to inky blue, providing food for birds. Glossy green foliage turns burgundy red in fall, contrasting beautifully with the berries. (Viburnum nudum)
The Woodland Wildflower Collection includes 6 varieties of beloved plants found in the woods of North America. Blooming in the spring as the sun peeks through the tree canopy, each variety will provide rich foliage in summer and autumn as they spread and naturalize. Includes Virginia Bluebells, Snowy White Trillium, Dwarf Crested Iris, Jack in the Pulpit, Bloodroot, and Dutchman's Breeches.
The Variegated Hosta Mix combines color-coordinated shades of green, yellow and white, making an attractive, tapestry-like groundcover for shady areas. Known for their tough, easygoing ways, hostas are an ideal choice for poor soils and weather-prone areas and will spread and multiply if you let them. One of the most low-maintenance perennials you can choose! (Hosta)
Maintaining Your Rain Garden
Make sure to water your plants every few days for the first several weeks. Once the plants are established, natural rainfall should keep them watered and fed properly. Only weeding and end of season care is necessary.
Once your Rain Garden is established, it will not only help with any standing water or flooding problems you have been having, but will also create a beautiful look to your outdoor space and provide nourishment and protection for wildlife.
What are your experiences with Rain Gardens? Please feel free to share below.