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Planning Commission

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Sep 12

Why Rain Gardens Are So Wonderful!

Posted on September 12, 2014 at 11:20 AM by Rita McKelvey

Rain Garden at The Haverford School In Lower Merion
Rain Garden at The Haverford School in Lower Merion (2009 Montgomery Award Winner) 

There’s a type of garden that has been sprouting up all over lately—a rain garden. Rain gardens are shallow depressions that are planted with deep-rooted native plants. They’re designed to slow rainwater as it leaves driveways, sidewalks, downspouts, and other hard surfaces.  The depression and the soil hold the water for a short period of time, letting the plants absorb the water they need, and the rest of the rainwater soaks into the ground.  

Rain gardens are a beautiful way for homeowners, businesses, and municipalities to manage stormwater as a resource.  Without stormwater management, rain runs off into the street, down the storm drain, and into streams.  This runoff can carry pollutants like oil, fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste, and other contaminants.  Rain gardens capture that runoff. The plants, mulch, and soil break up the pollutants and make them less harmful.  Rain gardens practically do it all—they look great, manage stormwater, replenish groundwater, and create habitat for birds and beneficial insects. Once established, they’re easy to maintain (they water themselves each time it rains), and they’re easy enough to install so that almost anyone can do it with a little help.

We’re installing a rain garden at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park (101 New Mill Road in Oaks) on Saturday, September 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  This would be a great opportunity for municipal leaders, residents, and anyone interested in learning more about these beneficial gardens to come hear a brief presentation on rain gardens and then participate in planting one!  This is a family-friendly event, and children as young as 6 can participate!  Click here for more information or to preregister.

For additional information on stormwater management and flood reduction, visit our stormwater page. You can also discover your local watershed on our new interactive watershed map. Give it a try!

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