A rain water garden is a small residential depression planted with native vegetation instead of a turf grass lawn. It’s an excellent way to conserve water and create beautiful landscaping. This type of gardening does not mean collecting rainwater to use for watering, but instead, refers to a type of garden design where the garden is growing in an area that is lower than the rest of the land around it. The garden is strategically placed in depressed ground, which allows the rainwater to be caught naturally.
The soil in the rain garden catches the runoff, but does not leave the water standing for more than 3 days, which means mosquitos and other water loving insects will not survive. A rain garden isn’t a mucky pond because the water is absorbed into the ground and used to provide plants with the storm water.
Rain gardens are quite easy to make yourself. There are four main steps involved in the process.
First, choose a place in your garden where water collects after a storm. Stay away from placing the garden too close to the house foundation or on top of a hill. Also, a place with partial sunlight will dry out more slowly, allowing for plants requiring more moisture to be grown with less frequent watering. The garden shape does not have to be a huge circle in the middle of the lawn. Instead, the garden can run along a sidewalk or a path or accent the yard.
Next, dig the depression if one isn’t there naturally. It should be as big as you want the garden, and about four to six inches deep. If the area naturally accumulates rainwater, dig the hole shallower so the plants don’t drown, and dig the hole deeper if less water gets to the area.
Prepare the soil with added compost and plant your garden! Native plants tend to work the best in rain gardens since they are used to the soil and levels of moisture, but almost any vegetation can survive in such an area. Be sure to cover the soil with a layer of mulch to keep it from drying out too quickly.
Finally, water the garden normally for the first few weeks to get things going. You may also need to water during extended dry spells.