Rain gardens are a versatile and effective tool in managing stormwater. What is a rain garden? It’s a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from hard surfaces (such as roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas) to be absorbed into the ground. Runoff water from these hard surfaces may contain pollutants that we wish to keep out of streams, wetlands and the Puget Sound. Rich, healthy soil in a rain garden can filter out these pollutants as the water percolates down to aquifers, which are the sources of our drinking water.
Rain gardens can do much more than filter out pollutants. They can provide localized flood control, are visually pleasing, and offer many interesting planting opportunities. They also encourage wildlife and biodiversity, link the buildings and their surrounding environments attractively, and help provide significant partial solutions to environmental problems that affect us all.
By choosing appropriate plants for your rain gardens, you may also reduce your water bill and cut down on garden maintenance.
Rain Garden Resources
Washington State University Extension offers a comprehensive Rain Garden Handbook at http://bit.ly/19ZSVW5 at no charge.
Kitsap Conservation District offers free site visits, technical assistance and grants toward rain gardens (and other low impact development solutions) to landowners in unincorporated Kitsap County. Visit http://kitsapcd.org/programs/raingarden-lid for details.