What is a rain garden? It’s a beautiful solution to stormwater run-off that comes from the roof, driveway, or any other area that collects rainwater.

A rain garden can look decorative. But it is a practical solution to prevent flooding, as well as protect against toxins that rainwater may carry. Run-off collects dirt, bacteria, and pollution as it pools. So it can turn your home into a real health hazard. 

A rain garden catches rain run-off and help it absorb into the ground. You create this by planting grass and flowers in a garden that will help encourage water absorption.

And since this is simple to grow and maintain, you can protect against flooding in a way that’s economical.

How to build a rain garden

It is essential to pick the right spot. To start, you must have a depressed area of land, preferably that slopes away from the home. The slope must be a minimum of one inch. Make sure that your rain garden is at least ten feet away from the home.

It’s important to place it where running water will feed from other areas in your home like roof downspouts. You can use a PVC pipe to channel the water into your garden. Or you can choose something aesthetically pleasing like decorative rocks.

You’ll then need to dig a depression and level the bottom to make sure it is flat. This will help the water absorb evenly. With a slope, you want to use some of the excavated soil to create a berm. This will help the low side retain the water. 

At this point, you’ll want to test your garden. Do this by filling it with water. The water should absorb within 24-hours. If it doesn’t, you’ll  need to adjust your garden foundation before moving forward. A swamp will just collect bugs, bacteria, and other problems.

Finally, you’ll add compost soil. And then you’re ready to plant. 

Designing your rain garden

The most important ingredient to your rain garden is the grass and plants. Not only do these enhance the beauty of your garden, but they are the main tool for water absorption.

Keep in mind, your rain garden will not always be water-logged. In fact, more often your rain garden will be dry. So when you design your garden, you need to build with the knowledge that there will be wet and dry times.

The goal is to have a mix of plants that do well in different conditions. Not only will this variety help your garden thrive, it will help beautify it as well. When you add perennials with many beautiful colors, you get a rain garden that is functional, and eye catching as well.

There is a certain strategy for an effective rain garden. The plants that do well in drier conditions should stand on the edge of your rain garden. And ones that thrive in wetter conditions should go in the center of your garden, where they can absorb the most water from the storm. 

So which perennials are good for wet conditions? And which will do better in a drier environment? 

Perennials for wet conditions

These perennials can absorb the most water and you should place them at the center of your garden.

  • White Turtlehead
  • Pink Turtlehead
  • Bugbane
  • White Snakeroot
  • Rose Mallow
  • Blue Flag
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Swamp Milkweed

Perennials for dry conditions

These are the ones to place on the outskirts of your garden. You want these in a place where they won’t be inundated with water in a storm since they thrive in the driest conditions.

  • Big Bluestem
  • Black eye Susan
  • Tickseed
  • Gayfeather
  • Switchgrass
  • Little Bluestem
  • Goldenrod

Maintaining your rain garden

While your garden has a functional purpose, you want to maintain it for ideal health as well as beauty. Make sure to regularly prune it and make sure to remove anything if it is sick or dying. Also, you’ll also want to apply mulch as needed.

Make sure to water it during the dry times. It’s easy to forget to water a rain garden. 

Also, inspect it regularly. As things die or conditions change, you will need to fill in areas. If you notice that the water is no longer properly draining, you will need to add to your garden to aid absorption.

Stockslagers has a variety of perennials for your rain garden

Come down to Stockslagers for a wide array of perennials. You’ll find those that are perfect for both wet and dry conditions. Pick up your favorites for a beautiful and functional rain garden. It will prevent excess rainwater while making your home more attractive.

It’s an economical solution that provides beautiful results. If you have run-off issues, consider building one today.

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