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The Dual Benefits of Rain Gardens

Do you have an unsightly spot in your yard plagued by erosion? Or, how about an area that captures the majority of rain from your rooftop, driveway, or sidewalk? Rain gardens are the perfect management solution for these types of areas. Planted in depressed areas, rain gardens intercept stormwater runoff before it has the chance to enter our waterways, which often transports pollutants, such as sediment, fertilizer, and herbicide. Rain gardens slow down runoff, allowing it to infiltrate down into the ground and deeper into the groundwater. This helps to control erosion that may be problematic in the landscape, thus reducing the potential of flooding. As the water infiltrates, the soil filters nutrients and bacteria. The sediment is captured, and native plants remove the excess nutrients for their growth. This contributes to improved water quality downstream of the site.

Rain gardens not only address stormwater issues, they can increase habitat for an array of wildlife and recruit new species to the area. This is a must for areas with a growing population of people, as well as impervious surfaces. For instance, Joe Pye Weed is a great resource for swallowtails, skippers, and variegated fritillary butterflies. During the winter, the seeds of dormant plants are a source of food for songbirds. Most homeowners can agree that birds and butterflies are welcome, but mosquitoes are not included in the list of desirable wildlife attracted by rain gardens. Not to worry! Mosquitoes require at least seven days of standing water to complete their lifecycle. If a rain garden is constructed properly, its water should drain within a day after a rain event.

Learn how to construct your own rain garden at: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/raingarden/

 

Contractor training for rain gardens and shoreline buffers was recently held at Sandhill REC.

Contractor training for rain gardens and shoreline buffers was recently held at Sandhill REC.
Karen E. Jackson, ©2018, Clemson Extension

During the rain garden workshop with educators from the Midlands, the environmental club students from Lower Lake Carolina Elementary School finished this rain garden by adding mulch.

During the rain garden workshop with educators from the Midlands, the environmental club students from Lower Lake Carolina Elementary School finished this rain garden by adding mulch.
Karen E. Jackson, ©2018, Clemson Extension

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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