Rain garden is one of our favorite ecological landscapes. It’s essentially a large dent in the soil of a landscape. It can contain native plants that grow in wetter soil. It can also contain gravels, stones, sand, and other pervious materials. The goal of a rain garden is to collect as much rain water as it can, so that the water slowly filters through the soil, removing many pollutants before it goes into our wet lands, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc.
Often times in cities, much of our surfaces are impervious concrete, where rain water run off can quickly carry pollutants into our natural water systems, or into a city’s sewer systems that have limited capacity, especially in sever storms. Having more rain gardens can greatly prevent such pollutions and reduce the burden on our sewer systems.
A well engineered rain garden can have a much larger water collection and filtration capacity that handle not only the runoff from your lawns but also the runoff from your rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and streets, using pipes and swells.
Aside from all the environmental benefits, they are also just cool to look at and provide more diverse types of habitats for your landscapes, because of the wetter soil. (See the video below, where one of our rain gardens attracted ducks after a storm.) Did I mention that the city of Portland also give discounts on your water bill? (See this article for specific requirements.) What’s not to like?
The photo at the beginning of this article is of a large rain garden that our team recently installed. Below are a few other rain gardens we have installed recently too.
A large rain garden for multiple apartment units
A rain garden with a living willow wattle retaining wall for erosion control