Rain, man!

puddle

Austin is in the midst of a deluge today, so what could be more topical than dealing with leaks? All of a sudden they started sprouting everywhere. I’m still not sure what caused it. A neighbor had just had roofing work done so we talked to them for a while. They were pretty happy to recommend them, saying they did a very solid job, so now we have a reliable expert to help us at least. I hope it’s not too expensive, since it wasn’t just one or two leaks.

Lisa Cowan, studioverde landscape architecture + design

Lisa Cowan, RLA  studioverde landscape architecture + design

We used to work hard to get extra rain to move quickly off the land into a storm drainage system. We now know this water is not something to be gotten rid of, like guests who’ve overstayed their welcome. Rain gardens help replenish ground water supplies and reduce pollution by keeping some of the junk from roofs, driveways and roads out of creeks and streams, I had to change part of my roof because it was taking it away, so I used materials from http://www.profoam.com/mobile-spray-foam-rig-layouts/

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TypesofRainGardens

From article by Jann Ichida (jmichida@owu.edu)

To make your own rain garden, locate the lowest spot in your yard, or perhaps place it at the end of a downspout. Add compost and partially decomposed leaf litter to your existing soil. You’ll want to make sure there is some kind of drainage system installed or else you could get some flooding, which would be disastrous for your garden. Hire drain cleaning services if you ever notice that the water isn’t draining correctly or you’re going to run into the exact same issue. Be vigilant so that you can catch it early.

park rain garden

As for what to plant, Austin has a phenomenal Grow Green program, that teaches us about all kinds of gardeny things, including what to plant in local rain gardens. Do wait until the soil is no longer saturated to get started. You will damage soil if you work it while it’s wet… it will become compacted and no longer able to transfer water and nutrients to roots. It takes years to undo this damage, so avoid it in the first place!

~ Sue Lambe

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