Rain Gardens Add Eco-Friendly Touch to Landscapes

July 10, 2010 | By Carrie Dubberley | Reply More

Rain gardens (also called bioretention) are assets for any home, school or business. They are beautiful, capture rainwater, and ease flooding, erosion and contamination of surface water. Whether we are in a drought or flood, we benefit by capturing rainwater in rain barrels and rain gardens.

North Texas rain garden after a rain

New rain garden after a rain

Home rain gardens for front, sides and backyards can be as simple as digging out a depression six inches deep with gently sloping sides, directing rainwater off your roof through a channel (dry stream bed) and watching it fill up after a shower storm. Designed and installed properly, the water will soak into the ground within a couple of hours, so mosquitoes will not be a problem.

Planting your rain garden with native plants will attract and feed birds, bees and butterflies, thereby increasing wildlife habitat and decreasing your carbon footprint. Anytime you can remove lawn area and replace it with native plants, you are decreasing the need for mowing, edging, leaf blowers, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.

Plants native to your area that produce berries and nectar feed endangered species. Types of plants to include are trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. Deep-rooted plants are the best choices because their water and soil requirements are usually met without added inputs such as irrigation, soil amendments and peat moss.

Quick facts

  • Droughts and increasing population growth will cause more water restrictions.
  • The city of Frisco requires all model homes have rain gardens.
  • One inch of rainwater from a 100-square-foot roof area will collect 62 gallons of rainwater – enough to fill a typical rain barrel.
  • A 2,000-square-foot home can collect 1,240 gallons of water. Yearly harvest nearly 41,000 gallons.
  • A typical lawn requires 10,000 gallon of water every year.

Includes excerpts from July 02, 2010 Dallas Morning News by Guest Columnist Carrie Dubberley

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Category: Rain Gardens

Carrie Dubberley is a horticulturist, garden coach, teacher, writer and speaker. Carrie's passion is sustainable landscaping, specializing in North Texas native and well-adapted plants and water conserving rain gardens. Learn more about Carrie.

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