Thursday, September 8, 2011

Think about rain gardens on your property!

Diagram from Ohio Wesleyan University
All the rain lately has highlighted the value of having rain gardens in your yard.  A rain garden is a depression, filled with shrubs and perennials that collect water runoff from a roof or paved surface allowing it to infiltrate into the soil of your yard. 
Water runoff is a major source of pollution to our nation’s waterways and run off and erosion contributes to the flooding which has really affected the northeast in the past couple weeks.   This fairly simple process (it requires a little more thought than a regular garden, and you need to dig a 6 inch depression).
A really helpful guide to a Do-It-Yourself rain garden is this brochure published by the UConn Cooperative Extension System. 
The brochure recommends that to design your garden you should consider placement of the rain garden – choose a location with good drainage that is fairly level that could catch water flowing from a gutter.  Determine if the soils are suitable at your rain garden site by doing a small percolation test – dig a hole about 6 inches deep and fill it with water, if there is still standing water 24 hours later, this location has inadequate drainage and your rain garden will  become a rain puddle.  The UConn brochure has detailed information about what kinds of plants to include in your rain garden and where to put them.
The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, UConn Cooperative Extension System and the town of Old Saybrook are hosting a "Build a Rain Garden" workshop on Sept. 22 from 9am – 1 pm at the Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook. 


  1. Also check out these resources from "This Old House" magazine:
    How to Build a Rain Garden:,,20517496,00.html
    Using Rain Gardens to Keep Waterways Pollution-Free,,20518925,00.html