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Rain Gardens

Excess water from rain events that flows straight into the Bay without soaking into the ground first is one of the biggest source of water quality problems, especially in urban and suburban areas. When water does soak into the ground first, vegetation and soils serve as important filtering agents, removing excess nutrients from fertilizers and other pollutants.

One way individual homeowners can help filter rainwater before it flows into the Bay is by installing "rain gardens" in strategic locations on their properties. Rain gardens soak up water from rain events flowing off impervious surfaces like roofs, driveways and streets, as well as excess water that cannot be absorbed by an already saturated lawn. It is estimated that rain gardens allow 30 percent more water to be absorbed compared to an equally sized patch of conventional lawn. Because rain gardens reduce the total amount of water entering storm drain systems, they can also help prevent street flooding and reduce shoreline erosion.

Rain gardens are not restricted to individual property owners, but can be used in schoolyards, in public parks, and on commercial property.

Interested in learning more about rain gardens on your property? Check out the Chesapeake Bay Trust's Guide to Rain Gardens for information on cost, time and materials needed.


 Rainscaping.org is a great resource to use when you begin planning your rain garden. Check out this video:

 

Online tools:

Additional resources include:

Rain garden case studies: