The Benefits of Rain Gardens, Rain Barrels and Cisterns
- Helps to keep more water where it falls; reducing the amount of run-off that is taxing our city's storm water system and washing more pollution from our city streets into Lake Michigan and the greater water shed which flows from our area down to the Mississippi River.
- Makes use of our purer rain water for watering plants rather than using chlorinated municipal waters
- Filters the water as it passes through the soil into the larger underground natural aquifers.
- creates beauty where once a muddy puddle may have existed
- Provides a source of irrigation for the garden a few days after a rain if it's a rain barrel and even longer if a larger cistern is installed
- Provides habitat for a rapidly disappearing local ecology of birds and related fauna
Rain Barrels work best if elevated to help create better water pressure when using a hose. Overflow can be directed into a rain swale.
The big question many people ask is "what is sustainability?" This question is answerable from many perspectives. When you combine rain water harvesting with the cooling effect of a green wall you have a system that can sustain itself quite well once it is established. This is not a maintenance-free system. Most people recognize that a garden grows best in the shadow of a gardener. Maintenance is a part of stewarding the piece of earth that is ours to care for, one of cultivating the garden and using organic methods of fertilizing. The more water we can keep in our gardens and out of the larger water shed, the better. And wherever possible we recommend native species plants to enhance water absorption and create more home space for the insects and birds that enrich our environmental diversity.
Rain Gardens can be established right off a downspout extension starting at about 10' from your foundation, though a well constructed Rain Garden can be even closer to the house if the ground water in the area is not high near the foundation.