Rain is great. I heartily encourage my kids to stick out their tongues and catch a few cold drops of precious spring moisture every April. Rain on impervious surfaces, however, is bad. In our developed environment, impervious surfaces such as streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and roofs are often more prevalent than green space. And lacking any way to soak into the ground, that rain becomes stormwater, picking up sediment, oil, road salt, trash, and anything else sitting on the ground, and sweeping it all into the nearest storm drain. Once there, it goes straight to the nearest stream in massive amounts, entirely untreated.
Now imagine your yard as that tongue stuck out, catching the rain. Plants and healthy soil happily suck up vast quantities of rain, filtering out excess nutrients and pollutants and slowly sending the water down to recharge our groundwater supplies.
Replacing part of your yard with a rain garden allows your yard to soak up even more rain, and you’ll have less grass to mow and more time to enjoy your beautiful and beneficial conservation landscaping. The concept is simple: create a slight depression in your yard relatively close to one of your rooftop downspouts. Replace the slow draining clay soils that are so common in Baltimore with fast draining sandy soils. Then plant any of a wide selection of low-maintenance native plants. Now, instead of going straight into the stormdrain, the rain coming off your roof will instead pour into your rain garden, pond briefly, and then soak into the ground within 24 hours (so no, you’re not creating a mosquito wonderland).
Simple, low cost, low maintenance, attractive, and highly effective, rain gardens are a terrific choice for residents looking for options on how to help our streams, harbor and Bay. Contact us today to find out how Blue Water Baltimore can help!
- Stay tuned for future blog posts discussing other great, low-cost practices such as rain barrels and impervious surface removal!
- Ready to take things into your own hands today? Come to one of our spring sales at Herring Run Nursery and start planting your way to a cleaner Bay!