When it’s pouring rain, the rain has to go somewhere. Often, it falls from the roof to the streets, sewers, and runs into nearby rivers, carrying pollution with it. Rain gardens are a solution to the problem. It captures the water, absorbing it like a sponge. The water slowly settles into a flowerbed, garden, or soil. Building a rain garden isn’t too challenging, once you understand how it works.
Gardeners build rain gardens in three areas or zones. Plants that can stand the most water are put in the garden’s center zone. You can place plants that require drier surroundings away from the center zone. Place the garden about 10 feet from the building and 15 feet away from septic systems. Choose an area that is not overly wet and soggy.
Check to make sure the area you’ve chosen isn’t above utility wires before digging a 2 foot deep hole. Fill the hole with 8 inches of water. If it drains less than 0.1 inch an hour, the drainage time is not adequate to support a rain garden in that area. If the hole drains at a rate of more than 0.5 inches in an hour, it’s time to add plants, soil and place 2 inches of mulch over the bed.