Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

The Why, What and How of Rain Gardens

The Why, What and How of Rain Gardens

Perhaps you read about (or are living through) steadily increasing precipitation in the Midwest since the 1930s. Or, you checked out the water quality at beaches in your state and learned that the biggest known sources of contamination to these water bodies is stormwater runoff and raw sewage from sanitary overflows.

Stormwater runoff is a serious issue. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The fact is, stormwater runoff is a serious issue—fertilizer nutrients fuel toxic algal blooms, marine life-damaging plastic bags are carried into streams and rivers that lead to the ocean and stormwater mixes with oil, pesticides, animal waste and other pollution en route to the nearest storm drain or creek.

So what can you do to minimize harmful stormwater runoff that creates toxic and sewage-filled waterfronts? There are a number of options, from installing rain barrels to pervious pavement—collectively called green infrastructure—that are designed to capture and treat rainwater, thus reducing polluted runoff.

One way to slow runoff while enjoying beautiful flowers is to plant a rain garden.

Perennial native plants make a lovely, functional rain garden. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

What is a rain garden? It is a plant bed grown in a shallow, landscaped depression where water naturally flows, which slows and filters rainwater. Plants and soil filter pollutants in the water and allow runoff to percolate slowly into the soil, recharging groundwater supplies.

Watch this short video by ShowMe Rain Gardens that explains how you can make a difference by planting a rain garden—or, as they call it, a living, eco-friendly sponge.

Luckily, if you are interested in installing a rain garden on your property, there is no shortage of information available, including a survey to determine if one is right for you, steps to take before you start, directions on how to build the garden, a DIY resource center and an illustrated rain garden manual for homeowners.

Why not consider planting a beautiful garden of perennial native plants that don’t mind “wet feet”? Benefits extend beyond the major issue of clean water. With your own rain garden you can provide habitat and food for pollinators and birds, and enhance the beauty of your property and neighborhood, while eliminating the need to mow and avoiding flooding in your yard.

Do you have a rain garden?

 


OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Gwen Ranniger

In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Protestors walk past an image of a Native American woman during a march to "Count Every Vote, Protect Every Person" after the U.S. presidential Election in Seattle, Washington on November 4. Jason Redmond / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."

Read More Show Less
Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less
Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less