Rain gardens are not only the most popular solution to address flooding problems, it’s also a sustainable one. If you aren’t sure you actually have a problem with flooding, here are some telltale signs.
- Does your backyard flood every time it rains?
- Is your yard receiving sheets of rain from your neighbors property?
- Is your backyard still full of water days after it last rained?
- Is your grass struggling in the areas you see standing water?
If you answered yes to any of these problems then you are most likely in need of a sustainable solution to your flooding challenges. Traditionally there were two ways to address flooding challenges. An engineer will tell you to put a pipe in the ground, also known as a “french drain” and landscapers will tell you to lay gravel.
These solutions while effective aren’t sustainable because water shouldn’t be treated like waste product. The problem isn’t water, it’s too much water. Now that we are clear on the problem let’s dive into a sustainable solution to resolve it.
How We Install Sustainable Rain Gardens
The first and most important step is to decide on the size of your garden. If you don’t have enough space, it just won’t work. Next, you have to check the soil structure. Proper soil structure is critical for rain garden success. This is an example of a percolation test.
In this case, there was a ton of clay so we had to dig a little deeper than normal.
Noting about their current landscape was working. Thanks to sustainable landscaping we were were able to get them to a better place with the following steps.
First we laid out the excavation and replaced its old pad with a permeable base. The white line pictured below, represents the excavated areas and the orange line represents the flat bottom we need and the lines coming out of it are the bioswales and the overflow at the back.
Then we mixed up our secret ingredient to create a natural sponge for all of that water. We used equal parts coarse sand, compost and some of the the dirt that we just dug out of the hole and mixed it all together. We put the back into the excavation, leaving a slight depression in the middle.
We then placed an underlayment on the bioswales to prevent water erosion and started to lay out the stones which slows the velocity of the water. Then we installed a variety of native plants that have deep root systems which assist in the evaporative transpiration process, more simply put, these plants soak up the water.
There you have it! A fully sustainable landscape that solves your water challenges. The only thing left to do is to sit back and enjoy your working rain garden. A beautiful cost-effective solution that is also attractive and beneficial to wildlife.