Rain Barrels & Rain Gardens
As we develop our land and increase the amount of paved surfaces and buildings, the water cycle changes.
There are two things you can install to help slow down the water and reduce the amount of pollutants headed toward the storm drains:
Rain Barrels & Rain Gardens.
With more impervious surfaces, less rainfall and snowmelt seeps into the ground and more water flows over the land into our waterways. This stormwater runoff can lead to increased flooding, erosion, and pollution, and decreased groundwater recharge.
Did you know stormwater picks up pollutants as it runs across our roofs and yards, driveways and roads, as it heads toward the stormwater drains? Did you know that the water that flows into the drains is not treated, but instead flows right into our rivers, streams, and lakes? Unmanaged stormwater is recognized nationally as a leading cause of water pollution today.
We offer workshops and programs about rain gardens and rain barrels. Watch our website and Facebook page for upcoming dates!
Rain barrels are a great way to get water for your garden while helping the environment!
Rain barrels are specially designed containers that divert water from your downspouts to store for later use. Rainwater can be used for any non-potable purpose such as watering plants, washing cars, or bathing pets. Did you know that just a quarter inch of rain can provide about 150 gallons of water from a 1000 square foot roof? During the summer months, lawn and garden watering can be 40% of their total household water usage. Utilizing water from a rain barrel can save up to 1300 gallons during that time!
There are a number of places you can purchase rain barrels, including many online sources. Also, here's a list of local places that may carry them: Rain Barrels.
Or consider making one yourself! They really aren't that hard - it just takes a couple of hours and the right materials! We have put together directions on all of the supplies and a couple of methods to choose from here: Rain Barrel Directions.
As long as the water collected doesn’t remain in the barrel for more than a week or two, mosquitoes shouldn’t be a concern.
Consider connecting a soaker hose to your barrel for watering flower or garden beds.
Does your rain barrel fill up to quickly? Consider adding a second rain barrel.
Paint away! Most paint manufacturers offer spray and brush on paints for use on plastics.
Winterizing your rain barrel can prolong its life.
Take a look at our Rain Barrel Installation & Care brochure for tips on installing and caring for your new rain barrel!
In natural areas, water is slowed by plants, leaf litter and soil, and is more easily absorbed into the ground. In developed areas, impervious surfaces do not allow the water to seep into the soil. Instead, the water runs over the surfaces and into storm drains or, in some areas, cause flooding.
Rain gardens are designed to mimic natural areas and capture some of the stormwater, allowing it to seep into the soil instead of flowing across the normal surfaces. A rain garden is an attractive, landscaped area slightly lower than ground level, commonly using native wildflowers and grasses that do not mind being wet or flooded for a short period of time. They are places in specific areas to capture rainwater runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roofs and driveways.
Rain Gardens protect streams, rivers, and lakes from pollutants that are washed from house roofs and other impervious surfaces and may reduce potential of basement flooding and improve or eliminate wet spots in yard!
Interested but not sure where to start? We can help! We are available to offer technical assistance to get your rain garden started! Get in touch!
For other sources of information about Rain Gardens:
Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water has a great book and online resource for all things Rain Gardens.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has an especially informative page on Rain Gardens.
The University of Wisconsin Extension website features a wonderful guide called "Rain Gardens: A How-to Manual for Homeowners". You can download the PDF version.
Rainscaping.org - Imitating Nature with Rain Gardens
For a listing of Indiana Native Plants