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Rain Gardens

Reduce Your “Storm Water Footprint” with Rain Gardens

The occasional flooding in Brentwood reminds us of how devastating such a disaster can be to residents and businesses. The effects of a major storm are made dramatically worse in a developed area such as Brentwood, where storm water runoff from all of the buildings and paved surfaces quickly overburdens creeks and sewers.

The City of Brentwood has been working with commercial developments to reduce runoff by including storm water retention elements in the plans. Residents can also play a part in reducing runoff with the use of rain gardens.

It’s important to note that a rain garden is not a pond or a water garden. A rain garden only holds water long enough for it to soak down into the soil. Since rain gardens do not have standing water for very long, mosquitoes are not a problem. By allowing the storm water to be absorbed on site, rain gardens also help remove pollutants from the water that would otherwise flow into creeks and sewers and help restore the water table.

Rain gardens are easy and inexpensive to build. All it takes is a depression that holds storm water runoff. The water can come from a down spout, a driveway or even a basement sump pump discharge. To make a rain garden, simply create a depression by digging out soil from the area and moving it to the down hill side to make a low berm. Loosen the soil in the bottom of the depression and mix in some compost or other organic material. Planting native perennials, shrubs and trees that thrive in moist soil and have deep roots will help the water to seep away. A side benefit is lush landscaping that is an attractive haven for birds and butterflies that does not need to be watered!

There are several good resources on the internet that have detailed rain garden plans and lists of rain garden plants. These two will help you get started planning your rain garden: