Having a well-watered flower garden does not have to be expensive. Nor do you have to ignore local or state restrictions on outdoor watering. All you need is a little bit of imagination and a rain garden!
A rain garden is a garden located in a low-lying area. The rain garden captures run-off from your roof or drive way where it slowly soaks into the soil. Rain gardens create a more natural flow for stormwater and reduce the amount of stormwater that runs into storm drains. By reducing flows into storm drains, they reduce peak stream flow and water pollution in nearby rivers and streams. Every time it rains, fertilizers, pesticides, debris and other pollutants wash across lawns and driveways and down streets into the nearest storm drain. From there these pollutants go directly into a river, lake or estuary. In urban environments, most pollution comes from stormwater runoff. Excess rainwater also damages streambanks and increases the risk of flooding.
Planting a rain garden filters stormwater runoff through soils and plants thereby reducing pollution while giving you a garden that is easy to maintain and needs little or no watering. Rain gardens typically allow about 30 percent more water to soak into the ground than an equivalent area of lawn. The plants in the rain garden are both beautiful and helpful. They add color and interest to your landscape and serve as habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife. There are numerous helpful links to guide the homeowner through the process of creating a rain garden. Peruse the following links for ideas on how to create your very own attractive and beneficial garden.
A simple guide for creating a rain garden - University of Wisconson
Gardening for Wildlife: Corralling the Rain - National Wildlife Federation
Reclaim Your Rain: Rain Gardens for Home Landscapes - Clean Water Atlanta
Rain Gardens: Gardening with Water Quality in Mind - Friends of Bassett Creek