An Eco-friendly way to filter rainwater while providing a place to grow plants that like wet feet…
Rain-gardens start with the water from the roof…I prefer to collect the rainwater in a barrel and run a hose to the site. This allows me to also use the water from the barrel for watering my flower boxes and containers.
My barrel is fitted wit a faucet with a hose connected which leads to the garden. There is a splitter on the end to attached to two soaker hoses which are under the soil for even water distribution.
The image below shows the distance from the barrel to the garden…You need to have your garden 8-10′ from the foundation of the house. The hose at one time was between the flagstone…I need to work on that…
I used compost for my soil. Another good choice is 50% sand, 20% top soil, and 30% compost. Clay soils do not work. You want the soil to absorbed water.
Choose plants suited for water. Willows are great for this type of garden. They are available in many sizes and shapes. An added bonus, they host at least 23 different butterflies.
The garden shown above is planted with a Corkscrew Willow
Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’, a Marshmallow, along with a few herbs in the margin.
Dinner-plate Hibiscus is another great choice for this type of gardening. Their flowers are HUGH. They come in many varieties providing a wonderful show in late July through August. Although each bloom only lasts one day, they have many blooms per stem. Some of the varieties have flowers which measure 12” across, including the one pictured above. Others are smaller. There are some with heart shaped green leaves, and others with burgundy cut leaves. They can reach a height of 5’ with a spread as wide.
On a closing note, Rain Gardens can vary as much as each individual gardener. Native plants , as always are the best choice.
With that being said, choose what works for you. I tend to plant with Butterflies in mind. My gardens provide food, shelter, and water for the local “wildlife” while being conscience of my environment.