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Building a Rain Garden to Conserve Rainwater


Rain gardens are ideal for preventing wet basements and muddy puddles. They’re also a great way to capture water, when drought conditions leave landscaping yellow and dry. If you’d like to create an efficient rain garden for your lawn, use the following basic guide:

Step 1: Find a Location

Place the garden a minimum of ten feet from your home to prevent flooding. Try to choose a naturally low-lying spot in your yard and position the garden in the sun, where your sump pump outlet and downspouts can be used to direct rainwater.

Step 2: Create a Design

Plan your garden on paper before doing any construction. This will ensure that it provides both efficient function and an appealing aesthetic. You can find an array of design inspirations by searching online.

Step 3: Select the Right Plants

Because they are best adapted to the climate in your region, native plants are an ideal choice for your rain garden. Choose grasses and flowers that grow well in both wet and dry environments.

Step 4: Lay Out Your Garden

Use marking instruments to create a rough layout based on your design.

Step 5: Dig Out the Garden

First, contact your local utility provider to have them mark underground wires and pipes. When you’re ready, remove the overlying turf grass and dig your garden about four- to eight-inches deep. Use the displaced soil to construct a berm around the edges of the garden if necessary.

Step 6: Prep the Soil

Amend existing soil with about 2 to 3 inches of compost.

Step 7: Plant

Place your plants atop the ground according to your design. Be sure to keep a minimum of one foot between each one. Step back and assess the layout. When you’re satisfied, plant your grasses and flowers using a hand trowel.

Step 8: Add Mulch

Use shredded, fibrous, coarse woodchips that won’t blow or float away. Make the mulch about two to three inches deep to keep weeds and moisture at bay.

Step 9: Arrange Downspouts

Once it rains, you can monitor the flow from your downspouts and make adjustments as necessary. In the meantime, you may need to water your garden until you receive a good, steady rainfall.

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