Plants For Rain Gardens – By Katrina Layt

Plants For Rain Gardens

By Katrina Layt

A Rain Garden is a very useful way of removing excessive nutrients from water runoff before they enter our waterways. It will keep most of the water where it falls first as well as reduce erosion and pollution.

Rain Gardens - Melbourne

Example (Above) of a rain garden from raingardens.melbournewater.com.au

While a lot of people know about the technical side of things when it comes to gravel size, soil mixture and the number of slits needed in drainage pipes, they often fail at selecting the right plants for the job.

It’s recommended that you use indigenous plants particular to an area and this is great so long as you don’t forget to use plants that can handle wet feet as well as dry conditions. Australian native plants fit the bill perfectly, but make sure you choose the right ones.

Before water travels through to the storm water system and eventually into our waterways, a rain garden will catch water from rooftops and other hard surfaces to filter through its layers of plant roots, sand and gravel.

This is becoming a popular industry practice as the benefits are worth it. A reduction in waterway pollution as well as algal growth will be attributed to using rain gardens in some form, whether it be in ground, above ground, a swale, a retention basin, large or small.

Every rain garden helps and should certainly be considered in any new or existing development. With the recent flooding, if every house had a rain garden or just more gardens and less hard surfaces in general, flooding impacts could have been lessened.

Generally rain gardens aren’t always wet, only when it rains. The water is drained out quickly after rain because of the high drainage properties of the sand and soil used (this varies depending on the mix).

Rain gardens still do have more rain water coming through than normal gardens, so there are times when they will be inundated with water, that’s why certain plant species will not survive. They are dry for a large period of the year (depending on your rainfall patterns) so drought tolerant plants are still needed for the optimal low maintenance garden. The rain that does come through will be plenty for these selected plants here …read more

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