What Can I Do At My House?

What is a Rain Garden?

A "Rain Garden" is simply a garden planted in a shallow depression which features plants that will tolerate both wet and dry conditions.  Rain gardens soak up rainwater from your roof, yard, driveway, and sometimes even from the street and allows it to soak into the ground rather than letting it run directly into storm drains.

Rain gardens are an easy, natural way of reducing the amount of water that flows from impervious surfaces into storm sewers.  The soil and plants in rain gardens remove pollutants from stormwater, help restore natural infiltration that was lost due to development, and recharge groundwater. 

Why Plant a Rain Garden?

Rain is natural - stormwater isn't.  Although most people never think about stormwater, much of the pollution that stormwater carries comes from our everyday activities!

Planting a rain garden may seem like a small thing, but if you calculate the amount of rain that runs off your roof, you would be very surprised.  That rain would naturally soak into the ground, but because of development it heads down the street to the storm drain instead, carrying pollution with it.

Keeping rain where it falls with a rain garden is a natural solution. You not only get a lovely garden, you have also helped protect our rivers, streams and lakes from stormwater pollution. You can be part of a beautiful solution! 

Who Should Have a Rain Garden?

EVERYONE!  The more rain gardens there are, the more stormwater volume is decreased and water quality improves!  Rain gardens are relatively inexpensive and are simple to design and install.  If you decide to go ahead and plan a rain garden of your  own, use the following guides to take you through the design process. 

Other Benefits - Rain Gardens...

  • are an effective tool to decrease runoff, recharge groundwater, reduce flooding, and improve water quality can be used by individual home/business owners or
  • can be the main stormwater management practice in a larger system, allowing some communities to forego expensive curb and gutter altogether
  • help to relieve the pressure on our municipal storm sewer systems
  • add an aesthetically pleasing landscape feature to any yard or park
  • require little maintenance once established
  • feature deep rooted plants that stabilize soil to prevent erosion during large storm events
  • create habitat and attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife
  • help to educate the public about the problems that stormwater runoff create and highlight how EVERYONE can help solve these problems

What is a Rain Barrel?

A rain barrel is a rainwater collection system that stores rooftop runoff to be used later for watering lawns and gardens. When rainwater falls on your rooftop, it runs off into gutters and downspouts and either soaks into the soils of the surrounding landscape, or flows into the street. The water that ends up in the street is called stormwater.

Rain barrels are a fantastic way to reduce the amount of stormwater running into storm drains during wet weather and reduce the amount of fresh water being used up during dry weather. Rain barrels are an inexpensive and effective way to be green!

Rain barrels and larger collection systems can be purchased from many lawn & garden stores or made out of food-grade plastic or wooden barrels.

Parts of a Rain Barrel

1. Inlet - where rain water enters your barrel. In order to keep debris out of the barrel, it should be screened or covered in some way.

2. Outlet - how you get water out of the barrel for use in your yard. You can hook a hose to the spigot or simply transport the water with a watering can. If you are having trouble getting water out of the barrel, make its stand higher to increase the water pressure.

3. Overflow - allows excess water to leave the barrel when it's full. During most rainstorms your barrel will fill up long before it has stopped raining. Attach a hose to the overflow and place the hose's end away from your foundation. If you are interested in capturing even more stormwater, you can hook another rain barrel to the first barrel's overflow.