If you want to do your bit in helping conserve theenvironment around you and not only want a garden that looks good but also is practical, you could opt to create a rain garden. Rain gardens add beauty to low lying spots that tend to collect rain water. Rain Gardens filter runoff and protects the ground water after particularly heavy storms and they also attract wildlife like butterflies and birds.
The land around as we know it never always used to be like this. The landscape has been transformed over the years as we have taken over the land, taming it to suit our needs, cutting down trees and clearing the grass, scrub and forest areas for metros to be built. Those areas have now been replaced by cement, homes and roads that cover the surface and prevent the rain water from successfully being absorbed back into the Earth.
A Rain Garden is an effective and beautiful way to filter rainwater runoff and here are a few tips on how you could create your own rain garden.
Location, Location, Location
You have to choose the best spot for your rain garden. Choose an area that is particularly lower lying than the rest of your yard and ensure that it is at least 10 feet away from your home. This is to make sure that the water that collects does not damage your home in any way and for general stability.
Knowing the soil
It is very important to know the type of soil you will be planning to use for your rain garden. Loamy soils are considered to be the best as they slow down the percolation of the rain water and also hold the water as it slowly drains into the land. If you want to know about the type of soil you have in your garden, you could conduct a small soil test. These can be done for a small fee through your state’s extensions service. If the soil in your yard is sandy, you can just add water saving compost to it and also add top soil to the rain garden so that the compost and earth are protected from erosion.
Selecting suitable plants for your rain garden
When you are planning to create your rain garden, you should ensure that those plants are tolerant to wet sites. There are many native plants that work best in wet climates and environments. You could work with seedlings instead of direct-sown seeds to reduce the chances of the seeds being washed away. This is one reason why native plants are preferred when planning for a rain garden.
One good tip that most developers say is to ensure that at least one third to half of your rain garden should consist of native shrubs, grasses and rushes as they possess deep root systems that will hold on to the soil.
Other good plant choices would include marginal plants which are typically found in the edges of ponds and can tolerate high levels of moisture. They are comfortable with wet conditions as well as dry spells which means they are perfect for you rain garden. They will adjust to the dry spells and will thrive when the weather becomes wet again.
Some f these plants that will do well in your rain garden are plants like Bengal Tiger Canna, Yellow Flag Iris or Siberian Iris, Scarlet Rose mallow, Obedient Plant and Cardinal Flower.
When planting your rain garden, think about the layout. You could plant in larger drifts to achieve the most impact. Adding various types of foliage, color and texture to your rain garden will make it look visually appealing. Arranging your plants in order and spaced as per label directions would be a good way to start. All you have to do is to keep them watered well and mulch and your rain garden will thrive.