A rain garden is a landscaped feature that replaces an area of your lawn in order to collect the stormwater (rain and melted snow) that runs off your grass, roof, and driveway. It's usually a shallow depression with loose, deep soil that absorbs and naturally filters the runoff, preventing it from entering the storm drain system and, eventually, our waterways. Essentially, it helps maintain the natural water cycle while protecting local rivers, lakes, fish, and drinking water sources.
Here's an example:
On behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation and its Homegrown National Park Project, college professor Marc Yamaguchi appeared on CBC's Metro Morning to explain the benefits of building your own rain garden. [Listen Here]
A resident of downtown Toronto and a Homegrown National Park 'Ranger', Yamaguchi was involved in a neighbourhood initiative called Rain Gardens of Danforth East Village. As such, he created a rain garden in his front yard to prevent a slow leak of stormwater into his basement. It soaks up the runoff from his home's downspout, naturally filters out pollutants, and replenishes the ground water. Plus, it's pretty!
Photo courtesy of Marc Yamaguchi
According to an article by the CBC, each rain garden requires four elements: a source of stormwater runoff (such as a downspout), an absorbent soil mix, full or partial sun, and native plants that are water tolerant and drought resistant. Yamaguchi reported that, along with a team of Park Rangers and neighbours, he was able to create his garden in a single weekend: one day to dig it and another to fill it.
Excitingly, the Rain Gardens of Danforth East Village initiative won the 2015 Vital Innovation Award from the Toronto Foundation and 100-In-1-Day. They have created a total of 11 front yard rain gardens to date, which continue to prevent flooding and eliminate contamination both downtstream and in Lake Ontario.
Here are a few more examples of residential rain gardens - so lovely!
~ Steven Fudge, the purveyor of houseporn.ca and proprietor of urbaneer.com, a division of Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage.
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