WHY SHOULD WE HAVE RAIN GARDENS in Grand Rapids, Michigan?
Clean Water the Natural Way
With all the rain that we have had in the last week you’ve probably been wondering where does all the water go and what pollution is carrying with it. Before the days of pavement most of the water was absorbed back into the aquafier where it fell. Today with pavement and pipes the water is transported into our rivers and lakes along with the residue from our cars. Rain Gardens slow the flow of runoff as temporary reservoirs designed to contain, filter, and absorb the water keeping it from the storm sewer.
Beautiful New Habitat
Properly designed rain gardens can be amazingly beautiful features of the landscape. They are also a source of entertainment for the owners and home to many butterflies beneficial insects and songbirds.
Build it Once
Rain gardens are meant to filter the runoff rapidly, meaning the water drains within 24 hours of the storm. For proper filtration you need the right mix of about 50% sand, 20% soil, and 30% compost. No topsoil is needed for sites of heavy clay. Care must be taken during construction to minimize soil compaction in the rain garden by equipment and foot traffic.
Right Plant, Right Place
Different plant species will be needed for the low level, mid level, and top level of the rain garden. Conditions of sun and shade will influence the selection process. And you will want to top it off with 3 inches of mulch to keep the plants moist during dry spells and to help discourage weeds.