I found an easy way to go Green, while beautifying my yard; I signed up for the DC Greenworks program and was treated to a beautiful garden of indigenous flowers. The program is a partnership between DC Greenworks, the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) and the District Department of the Environment RiverSmart. DC Greenworks has installed rain gardens for DC residents meant to capture rainwater runoff from impervious surface areas, including rooftops, paved streets, parking lots and compacted lawns.
It was easy to sign up for the program and I’d encourage you to check with your local Department of Environment to see if you have a similar program. Or, how about planning a rain garden of your own? Rain gardens absorb the rainwater runoff at or near where it falls. This reduces the load of runoff into municipal sewer and storm water systems.
According to the DC Greenworks website, “Rain gardens are typically planted with wildflowers and other native vegetation over a complex mix of soils, sand and gravel that allow approximately 30% more water to soak into the ground. Following a heavy rain, runoff will pond in the rain garden and be slowly filtered by the plants and soil.”
A simple rain garden can be planted in most landscapes with little or no modification to existing conditions. It is easiest to plant the garden based upon natural drainage flows (look for low spots where water ponds following a heavy rain). However, if this is not feasible due to the location of existing structures (or other reasons) some minor landscaping can redirect flows to areas that better meet site conditions.”
Because the depth of a rain garden can be as little as six inches, heavy machinery is not necessarily required. Even sites with heavy clay, like my backyard, make a wonderful home for your rain garden. I hope you’ll consider planning a rain garden soon!
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