February 19, 2009
Welcome to the Rain Garden Blog! This will become a regular feature here at World Goin’ Green. In this space we are going to share information on using rain gardens and landscaping to manage stormwater. Our initial focus will be on residential yards, but over time, we may expand into design approaches for municipal and commercial properties as well.
My name is David Dods. I am the host of the rain garden video featured on this site. I live in the Kansas City area, work as an environmental engineer for URS Corporation designing “green” stormwater management systems, and I love to spend time outdoors. I also had the good fortune to help co-author the book, “The Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens,” with Rusty Schmidt and Dan Shaw. Rusty and Dan are landscape ecologists living in Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively. I will be dragging them into this space periodically to take advantage of their wealth of knowledge too.
My intent with this blog is to cover rain gardens, native landscaping, and stormwater management topics that are timely to the current season of the year. Dan, Rusty, and I live in the Midwest, but we will try to cover issues in a manner that can be applied throughout the country.
Over the next three months we will write a series of articles to help get you ready to plant a rain garden in your yard for this spring planting season. After that, we will head in new directions based on the questions received at this website.
What is a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is a garden constructed with a low spot in it designed to catch rainwater in your yard, growing plants that don’t mind getting partially flooded on occasion. They are typically shaped like flat-bottomed bowls 4 to 12 inches deep. By soaking up rain where it falls, rain gardens slow stormwater runoff, help prevent erosion, and remove pollutants while creating attractive landscaping and wildlife habitat. Stormwater runoff is something that we often view as a problem. We collect it in drains and pipes to get it out of our way as fast as possible. Unfortunately, doing so can cause erosion and flooding farther downhill. Instead of viewing rainwater as a nuisance, use it to create attractive landscaping for your yard. Have you ever wondered how to fix the erosion gully where rainwater drains away from one of your downspouts? Or what to plant in that soggy spot where the grass won’t grow because water puddles there after it rains? Try planting a rain garden.
In the next blog, we will start the design process by talking about how to select rain garden locations in your yard.
Have fun playing in the rain!
For those looking for more information, the Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens is available at terracehorticulturalbooks.com.