Rain Gardens


In the modern landscape we are seeing more innovative ways to become more sustainable and conscientious of our impact on the landscape around us. A large issue on most properties is storm water run off.


What is storm water run off?

Storm water runoff is any rain water that is running off of a impermeable surface, such as your driveway, roof or patio. The issue with storm water runoff is that the water is directed to specific areas and these areas become super saturated and the water flows on the soil surface unable to be collected and recharged into the ground.


Also storm water runoff can be very dirty, carrying pollutants into our water ways. The water then is channeled to storm drains and discharged into retention basins. Most retention basins are built conventionally with large machines creating a massive amount of compaction in the soil structure. This compaction defeats the purpose of the retention basin to slowly drain the storm water runoff after a storm. The soil is so highly compacted that most of the water passes over the soil and is discharged into small streams that lead to rivers and eventually the ocean. In this process most of the storm water runoff is not recharging the aquifers but is being channeled into the oceans.


This raises a concern with the population rising and more houses being built we are slowly depleting our drinking water sources an contaminating our water ways and oceans. Rain gardens help capture storm water runoff and recharge the water back into the aquifer. In some cases where the water table is high an the rain garden will have trouble draining the water is filtered and channeled to the storm drain system.


What is a rain garden?

There are two main types of rain gardens an under drained and an containment. Both systems do a wonderful job of collecting storm water runoff and help recharge clean water. To determine what system is best for your property you need to consider a couple of things. The things to consider are water volume, existing soil structure and last the budget for the project.



Under drained rain garden:

In some cases where infiltration is not desired, the under drain system can move excess water into a conventional storm sewer pipe system. Cases where infiltration would not be desirable would be if the bottom of the garden has less than 4’ of clearance to the seasonal mean high water table or if the adjacent soils are contaminated and the cleaned water from the garden would become recontaminated by coming in contact with the adjacent native solids. Under drained systems are designed to drained within two hours. A highly porous planting media must be selected to achieve this drain time. Also the plants planted in the under drained rain garden must be able to withstand flooding and dry conditions. The under drained system will flood during a storm and afterwards will become dry due to the high rate of drainage. Under the media is a series of water collection pipes to move the filtered water away from the site.

Containment rain garden:

Containment rain gardens hold storm water runoff for a longer period of time and tend to take longer to fully dry out. The amended planting media is porous like the under drained system but does not have the piping underneath to move the water away from the site. This allows the filtered water to directly recharge into the ground. The plant material selected for containment rain gardens typically is more adapted to prolonged periods of wetness.


Both under drained and containment rain gardens work well to filter storm water runoff and help recharge water in the ground. The most important step in installing a rain garden is selecting the proper system for your application.


There are a couple of different ways to channel storm water runoff into your rain garden. One of the ways to effectively collect storm water runoff is by installing a swale into your lawn to channel the water running off your house, patio or lawn into the rain garden. The Swales can vary from a slight channel in the lawn running into the rain garden to a decorative dry creek bed lined with decorative stone and landscaping bordering the swale. Another more direct method of storm water run off collection is by piping downspouts from your house directly into the rain garden. By piping the downspouts into the rain garden you can eliminate water lying around your house and potentially causing water issues in your basement. One more storm water runoff collection method is installing a system of drains around your property to collect water and pipe it underground into the rain garden. Also sump pumps can be piped to rain gardens collecting the water and purifying it before it enters the ecosystem.


A rain garden is a wonderful way to be more sustainable to our ecosystem. They also are a great way to deal with drainage solutions on properties. A rain garden can be installed in almost any area and can range in a variety of sizes, big and small. If you are interested in hearing more about how a rain garden works or would like to have Natural Beauty Lawn & Landscaping install your new rain garden please contact us today for your free evaluation!



Contact Natural Beauty Lawn & Landscaping for all of your Rain Garden needs!