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Rainwater harvesting is one of the most important things anyone can do if they care about the environment. We don't have an unlimited amount of water, so wasting our supplies to look after our gardens isn't the smartest idea in the world. It's not even the biggest reason why it's crucial.
Everyone thinks water that lands on your roof is completely innocent, but in reality it can actually cause a lot of damage. It's filled with heavy metals, animal droppings, and lots of other pollutants you wouldn't even think of. The polluted water will make its way down the drains and into our rivers.
Rain gardens are the perfect solution!
Rain gardens will allow us to put the harvested rain to good use by growing beautiful plants. Water can be diverted from driveways and roofs into the rain garden, plus the way they're designed will mean most water in a storm will naturally flow into them instead of ending up in places that could hurt our health.
We're going to look at the steps you need to take in order to create one. You'll need tools, so ensure the clutter is gone so you can find everything easily and they're all stored away neatly. Once you're done we'll proceed to focus on the individual steps you need to take.
How to build a rain garden
By building a rain garden, you can redirect the gutter water into an appealing planting bed that works like a sponge and natural filter to clean the water and let it permeate gradually into the soil. Building a rain garden isn't hard, especially if you have will and tools (machines) to help digging. Below, you'll find some basic tips on how to easily build a rain garden and make the most of a downpour.
Choose your location
Make sure your rain garden is at least 10 feet away from your home, plus it should be at a low point in the ground to help it attract water naturally. The downspout on your house and garden shed should be able to reach it too.
Ensure it's large enough
When you're collecting water from a roof it's going to have a big surface area, so you want your rain garden to handle it easily. You'll have to work out if the area is large enough while taking the type of soil into account.
Designing your rain garden
You're not just trying to protect the environment at the expense of your beautiful garden. The rain garden needs to be attractive too, which will mean sitting down with a piece of paper and coming up with the perfect design.
Choosing specific plants
The same kind of thing applies when you're choosing plants. You want to pick the ones that will make your garden more aesthetically pleasing. One big piece of advice is to use native plants as they'll be able to handle the environment.
Start mapping it out
Now you will have to create the shape you plan on using based on your previous design work. It needs to be mapped before you do anything else. It's also worth finding out at this point if there is anything like pipes underground.
Digging rain garden
Once you're sure everything is clear you'll be able to start digging the soil away. You want to make sure you dig between 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) deep and measure it just in case. Use some of the soil if you want to build a berm around the edge.
Getting the soil ready
You'll want to add around 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 in) of compost into the hole you've dug, but it will also need to be mixed in with most of the soil until the ground is level again. You need to ensure you mix everything together properly.
Planting your flowers
Go back to the design you came up with earlier and lay your plants in the ground. Make sure they are roughly 12 inches apart. Once they're safely in the ground you can use your hand trowel to put flowers and grasses into the spaces.
Mulching the rain garden
When you're mulching it's good to use coarse wood chips as they won't fly away when the weather gets bad. It should be around 2 inches deep once you're finished, which will help to lock all the moisture in.
Photo: Nadine Mönkemöller / Pixabay