Today’s Green Tip is actually an aritcle written by one of our members. He is discussing something we are doing right here in our community!
Build a Rain Garden, A Household Way to Clean Streams and Rivers
By Scott Fanello
This Fall, the Green Advisory Team in partnership with the Town of Fayetteville, New River Master Gardeners, West Virginia Deptartment of Environmental Protection, and Plateau Action Network plan to build a rain garden at Fayetteville High School that will help soak up rainwater, reduce erosion, and keep polluted runoff out of Wolf Creek. Why do we love rain gardens so much? Because they contribute to cleaner streams and rivers, create wildlife habitat, add beautiful landscaping, and provide underground water to streams during dry spells. Most importantly, they protect communities from flooding and drainage problems. Each rain garden may seem small, but collectively they improve the environment for your family and community.
So how do you build one? First, measure the area of your house. For example, a 30’ X 30’ home will have a 900 square foot rooftop. Rain gardens should be 20% of that size and 6-12 inches deep for sandy, well-drained soils and 30% of that size and 3-6 inches deep for clay, poorly drained soils. For our example, a clay soil will require 30% of 900 sq. ft. or a 67.5 sq. ft. rain garden, 3-6 inches deep.
Second, choose a location for the rain garden that is at least 10 feet away from the house where you can direct your downspout or sump pump. The site should be lower than the level of the house. Pick an area with as much sun as possible.
Third, please call Miss Utility at 800.245.4848 before digging! Use a string to outline your garden. A kidney or teardrop shape works best and it looks nice. Then dig in.
Dig to the chosen depth and use the extra soil to create a berm on the lower side of the garden. You can also add a bit of compost, if you like. Compact the berm to prevent erosion. Make sure the bottom is level to ensure water will be evenly distributed to all of your plants.
Lastly, plant your rain garden; use native plants if possible. Choose plants that are both drought tolerant and can handle wet soils for up to 24 hours, such as asters, switch grasses, and mints. You can also use shrubs like mountain laurels, holly, and clematis or trees such as dogwoods, oaks, even ash and cedar. Water frequently until the plants are established. To help with Fayetteville’s rain garden or for more information on building your own contact Scott Fanello at 304.465.6544 firstname.lastname@example.org.