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Maybe you have water coming into your basement or you have the less severe – but no less irritating – problem of water pooling on your lawn. The lawnmower leaves muddy tracks and you want a solution! Rain gardens are one more tool in the toolbox used to address drainage problems. Along with drywells and French drains, rain gardens move water to a safer, more convenient location in the landscape and soak the water into the ground.
Rain gardens have several advantages over other drainage solutions. Rain gardens work in clay soils; dry wells don’t. When a dry well on clay soils fills up with water, the dry well stays full. Rain gardens on clay soils perform well. They fully drain because they spread water over a larger area to maximize infiltration. Also, roots from perennial plants create pore spaces in clay that accelerate infiltration. Rain garden plants evapotranspire up to 0.25” of water per day during the growing season (or about 20 gallons per day from an average 120 square foot (SF) rain garden). Rain gardens are the go-to tool for the clay yard.
Rain gardens also manage more water at a lower cost per gallon – a good selling point. For example, whereas a dry well might hold 50 gallons and cost $2,000+, a typical 120 square foot rain garden on average soils might soak up 650 gallons of water and cost $1,800 to $3,600+ ($15 to $30+ per SF, depending on style preferences and build quality). You can see the value of your money well spent – you get a beautiful garden feature that can be part of your overall design.
Are you looking for a certified contractor to install a rain garden at your home to fix your drainage problems? Here is a list of businesses that have had one or more employees become certified Master Rain Gardeners. With over 25 local organizations, you are sure to find one to meet your rain garden needs.
Take the Master Rain Garden certification course, and install an approved rain garden, to be added to our list. Find out more on the next Master Rain Garden course here.