It’s that time of year when property owners notice the impact of water runoff. Excessive water runoff can create flooding, erosion, and destruction to landscaping as well as natural wildlife. There are many ways to manage water runoff, and creating a rain garden is a popular solution, particularly for smaller plots of land. Rain gardens allow you to add beautiful foliage to your property while at the same time controlling water runoff on your ground.
What are rain gardens?
Rain gardens are similar to swales in that they are excavated areas that become natural-looking features to pool water runoff and redistribute it for functional purposes. A well-constructed rain garden can be used to store water for later use in irrigation or can infiltrate the surrounding soil to create a botanical oasis in your yard. In brief, a rain garden is a deep hole in the ground holding a foundation of gravel or other similar material and re-filled with well-draining soil. Water either collects in the basin, where it slowly absorbs into the surrounding berm or into a physical storage unit that can be pumped out for other uses.
The most popular outline for a rain garden is a kidney shape. It should be aligned so that the flow of water is directed towards the inward curvature of the garden. If the flow of runoff is wide, then the garden should be wider than it is long to catch the water effectively. If the flow is narrow, a rounder circle or oval shape will work well. The raised edges, or berm, help keep water inside the garden and force it to absorb downwards instead of continuing its flow across the earth.
The inside of the rain garden is an ideal location for native plants and flowers. These plants are suited to grow with little care and maintenance; they just require adequate sunlight. Your local nursery can help you select the right plants for your location and the amount of water your rain garden collects. Avoid planting trees within the rain garden, as their root structures will counteract the construction of the garden.
Tips for determining the best place to build a rain garden:
- To avoid damage to structural foundations, rain gardens should always be constructed at least 10 feet away from the home or other buildings.
- Check the water table. If the water table is high, the water will not absorb into the ground properly.
- Never select a site where water pools naturally. That’s a sign that the soil has poor drainage and a rain garden will not work correctly.
- Because the rain garden itself needs to be flat, it’s best to use an area of the property with a 15% or less slope. An excavation company will need to grade the land towards the garden with a gentle slope to direct the water movement appropriately.
- Be careful about nearby trees. Digging into a root system can damage the tree.
Ideally, a rain garden should be responsible for collecting runoff from no more than a half-acre of property. However, that area may include runoff from roofs, driveways, and patios in addition to excess rainwater drainage on sloped land.
Excavation Oregon can build your rain garden or other water management system.
When your building project requires clearing or moving land, Excavation Oregon is the team to do it! Based in Southern Oregon, we know the landscape and how to optimize the use of your property. Our crews are experienced, using top-of-the-line equipment to do the job right the first time. With Excavation Oregon by your side, you’ll rest easy knowing your land will be managed correctly, so your dream home or commercial building will stand the test of time. Contact us today to learn more about all the services we offer.