What is a rain garden?
A rain garden is a shallow garden with enhanced soils and a rock reservoir designed to collect rainwater from roadways, parking lots or other hard surfaces. They can be planted with a combination of shrubs, grasses and flowers.
Rain gardens provide stormwater control at the source, or where the rain falls. Rain gardens are designed to mimic nature in an urban setting, increasing infiltration to native soils and removing pollutants prior to releasing surface runoff to the Thames River. Rain gardens can also provide an aesthetic landscape feature.
Why Rain gardens?
Limit the amount of water that enters the storm sewer
Reduces the potential for flooding drainage problems and stream bank erosion by slowing the water down and reducing flow into the waterways
Removes pollutants that run from yards, parking lots and roads straight into the waterways
Restores and recharge groundwater
Are low maintenance. They are planted with beautiful, hardy plants that require little to no watering.
Attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects, such as mosquito-consuming dragonflies
Enhance the beauty of the surrounding neighbourhood
Consider building a rain garden at home.
A rain garden only requires four elements:
- A source of stormwater runoff, such as a downspout or sump pump discharge
- An absorbent soil mix with lots of compost
- Full, or partial sun
- Native plants that are both water-tolerant and drought-tolerant. Properly constructed rain gardens are designed to allow overflow in a large. rain event and hold standing water for no more than 48 hours.
Compared to a similar sized patch of lawn, a rain garden allows for 30% more water to soak into the ground!