Rain Gardens

A Rain Garden is a planted depression that is designed to accept runoff from a nearby impervious surface such as a parking lot, roof, walkway, or compacted lawn. The rain garden is designed to absorb rainwater running off these impervious areas, allowing it to soak into the ground or absorbed by the wetland vegetation that is planted there. The benefits of these strategically located depositories are many. They reduce runoff by 75-80% after storms, and trap nutrients and pollutants before they can be deposited into streams or other water ways. Rain gardens can also enhance the beauty of the landscape by providing seasonal colors and fragrance. These wet areas also supply habitat and food for local wildlife.

Credit: frederick.forestryboard.org - Mike Kay

The idea of the Rain Garden was developed in 1990 by Dick Brinker in Prince George’s County, Maryland to provide a smaller scale version of the water retention ponds that are often built in conjunction with a large development. Since their inception, thousands of rain gardens have been installed throughout the county and overseas, especially in Great Britain and Australia. Raingardens can be found on public and private lands, wherever conditions allow for these structures. An internet search will reveal numerous plans for the development and installation of rain gardens. There are also numerous articles that provide recommendations on what types of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants to establish there. Some of the more common varieties are river birch, red maple, spicebush, ninebark, pawpaw, swamp milkweed, sensitive fern, cardinal flower, and NY Ironweed.

Article by FCFCDB

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