Saturday, May 23, 2009

Help Your Yard Use The Rain Better with a rain garden!

These are some of the problems with a heavy rain storm!
It can wash the pollution into our water ways.

* From roads, parking lots, paved driveways, and sealed surfaces ( including roofs) that contain oil and other contaminants.
* Pesticides and lawn treatments that contain high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus get into the water system.
* Pet and other animal poop.

How can we help to keep it from happening from our yards? The answer is to divert rainwater from the impermeable surfaces- paved ares or roofs-to a prepared bed, or rain garden. It can help when:

* Reduced risk of water in the basement, you divert the water away from the house.
* Recharge the groundwater supplies.
* A cleaner environment.

One way to help with this is to start a rain garden in your yard, it can soak up at least 30 % more water than a lawn can. Why do you want a rain garden in your yard? What is a rain garden? With municipal water costs going up for home owners everywhere. It is a good thing if you can take advantage of the free water supplied by mother nature better than you might have in the past. To start with a rain garden is a shallow, bowl-shape area that captures runoff water during a heavy rain and allows it to soak into the ground gradually. Using plants of all types and sizes can help in the managing storm water:

* Trees and large shrubs can deflect rainfall, slowing it down before it hits the ground, this allows it to soak into the ground and not run off immediately.
* Tall decorative grasses and other perennials act as filters, sucking up water, trapping pollutants and preventing silt from being carried off into ponds or rivers.
* Well-established deeply rooted plants hold soil and direct water into the subsoil.
* It can also be a wildlife habitat ( birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects will be drawn to the garden. How fun the birds and butterflies are to watch. What an added bonus to your yard.)

These are some things that will help with watering plants in the yard for less money and time.

This collects the rain water from the rain gutters on your home for you to use later to water the plants with. It looks nice and is very useful too.

This is helpful for young trees. When you first plant them. (Trees need to have deep roots so they do not blow over in the wind. ) It can also be used for other plants like roses.
that are better watered from down low as to keep them from getting black spot disease. If they have a lot of moisture on the foliage,then they can get black spot disease.

This lets the plants take the water that they need, when they need it. For the use of less water and only where you need it to be. Look for other such things to cut your use of water in your yard. It will save you money, time and water.

How do you create a rain garden in your yard? Start by preparing the area that you want the water to go to. The size of the garden depends on the size of the impermeable area draining into it.Aim to make the bed 20 to 30 % the size of the roof or driveway from which the water is being funneled into it.

* Create a basin by digging out dirt from a dry area at least 10 feet down hill from the water source. ( Avoid directing runoff to a naturally low spot that is already saturated with water. Also avoid sending it into your septic system.)
* Replace heavy soil (clay), this is a good mixture 1/2 sand, 1/4 compost, 1/4 topsoil-a fast draining mixture.
* Pile stones and extra soil on the downside of the garden to act as a berm and create a bowl where water can pool to a depth of about 6 inches.
* If water doesn't naturally flow to your rain garden, dig a 3 to 4 inches deep trench from the rain gutter downspout to the garden. Line it withe land scape fabric, and cover with stones to create a stream bed effect.
* Now for the plants-choose perennials and native plants that tolerate wet feet, for the center of the bowl area. Around these place plants that tolerate occasional standing water. At the outer edge, put plants that like the soil drier. Mulch with compost or shredded hardwood bark. If the water flow into the garden washes out the mulch, break up the flow entering the basin with a well-placed rock or two.
* Your rain garden functions like a sponge of soil, plants, roots and mulch. It should not become a breading ground for mosquitoes: the water does not stand.

The rain garden is a beautiful addition to your yard and landscape but also supports greater biodiversity and is environmentally sustainable.

What other things can you think of for the flow of water in your yard that would help you. We would love to hear your comments. If you would like more help on the rain garden go to:

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