The standard solution to surface run-off has always been to create a series of pipework and divert often contaminated rain into local streams and rivers that struggle to cope with the increased levels of water. If we channel this water into vegetated areas we can create a series of habitats that can even be linked to create natural wildlife corridors.
Water is a vital resource for people and wildlife. In the UK we expect to have enough water to meet our needs – having water readily available is something we often take for granted. Even in record breaking periods of prolonged summer rain, water is a precious resource, to be used and managed wisely. Even one rain garden can make a small but positive difference in addressing localised flooding and the quality of the local water environment. Alongside other sustainable drainage systems and actions to tackle diffuse pollution, rain gardens can be an effective part of a bigger solution. (Excerpt from the UK Rain Garden Guide)
Dave WardleEnvironment Agency
Benefits of Rain Gardens
- Simple and Attractive
- Low maintenance
- Do not usually require any redesign of existing drainage system
- Replce the need for irrigation
- Relieve pressure on drainage and sewer systems
- Easily added to most locations
- Can be designed to filter poluted run-off water
Rain Garden Planting
Rain gardens can be planted to attract wildlife and can reduce the cost of maintenance, for example, where frequently mown lawns are replaced. They can be easily combined with schemes to harvest rainwater. By increasing the amount of water entering the soil, rain gardens help to reduce the effects of drought and help gardens to thrive without the need for irrigation.
A very wide range of plants can be planted in rain gardens, however we avoid using plants that do not withstand occasional flooding – for example species which are usually associated with dry Mediterranean style gardens, like Lavender. Other plants to avoid include those susceptible to root rot including Azalea, Juniper and Chinese privet.
Occasional weeding may be required during the first two years of the life of the rain garden. As the plants in the beds mature, they will fill in any gaps and suppress weed growth.