Rain gardens are where form meets function and the gutter meets the ground. Simply put, rain gardens are gardens that are specifically designed to soak up stormwater run-off mainly from roofs, but also from driveways and patios.
Rain gardens look like regular flower gardens but are truly much more. When it rains, a rain garden fills with a few inches of water and allows the water to slowly filter into the ground rather than running off to the storm drains. Rain gardens enhance local water quality by allowing water to be naturally filtered by soil instead of being piped, untreated into large bodies of water.
Compared to a patch of lawn, a rain garden allows about 30% more water to soak into the ground
Beyond its environmental use, rain gardens provide attractive landscaping and a natural habitat for birds and butterflies, while encouraging environmental stewardship and community pride. In addition, using native plant species in your rain garden will be an excellent way to increase native plant populations.
And the best part — making a rain garden is easy and inexpensive, even for a gardening beginner! A typical residential garden runs only three to four dollars per square foot.
Rain gardens should be located in a relatively flat place where it will receive runoff. You want to make sure runoff flows toward your rain garden site. However, rain gardens are NOT a solution to wet areas with standing water. The garden must have good drainage so that water can soak in within 24 hours after a rainfall. Your rain garden should be at least 10 feet away from the house, receive full or partial sunlight and not be constructed over a septic system.