A Big Project: Time for a Rain Garden?


JBtheExplorer

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A few weeks ago I posted about my little project. It was designed to make better use of available garden space around my pond. At the time, I was also contemplating a bigger project, and today I made the decision to do it.

Ever since I started using native plants, I've wanted to make a rain garden. In my yard, there are a couple of areas where it would make sense. The first is in my front yard, however, there's a tree in the way, so that's pretty much out of the question.

The second area is behind my garage, where two of the garage's three downspouts come out. Right now, they lead into the grass and don't serve any purpose. I've considered adding a rain barrel, but in reality, I don't use much water, so it wouldn't be much of a benefit to me. Instead, the downspouts can be redirected into a rain garden, where they'll water plants, and in turn, the plants will filter the water. Pollinator habitat, and cleaner water! Win-win!
PondBluePrint2018potential copy.jpg




The process may be a little slow, since this particular area has gravel that will have to be dug up and removed, which will definitely take some work. I also have some bricks and a dirt pile that I'll have to move out of the way, not to mention the grass that has to be removed. I think the time and effort will definitely be worth it in the end.


One minor detail I haven't yet mentioned is that the rain garden project will actually be an addition to my pond area! It'll make my pond area about 65% larger and add a lot more space for plants. As you can see below, the green line separates my current pond area (right) and the future rain garden (left). The green line is currently a fence that will be moved 16 feet to the left.

PondBluePrint2018potential.jpg


The new addition will add a lot more room for plants. I'm not completely finished designing the new rain garden yet. The path in the blueprint may be moved or completely removed, the rain garden may change size or shape, but overall, I'm pretty happy with this current plan. As you can see, I may also add an area for chairs and a table, but that's yet to be decided.

There is one flaw with this plan. Moving my fence over 16 feet will actually remove quite a bit of privacy, which I'm not thrilled about. I could add a taller fence, but that's out of the budget for this project. I may do something about that in the future, but for now it's going to have to be a little more open than I'd like.


So, let's get to the most important part: The plants.

A couple years ago I bought Monarda didyma seeds. I assumed the were the wild red variety. They weren't. It was a variety of colors. I'll be removing them from my native garden, but this hot pink one stood out. I'm a little more open about what I plant in my pond area, so I think this would be acceptable to keep.

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Similarly, I have Jacob Cline Bee Balm. I'm also thinking about moving this from the native garden to my rain garden. I'm not sure I'll add both red and pink, so I'll have to think that over.
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Blue Flag Iris is an obvious choice. I have to remove some from the bog this year, so it'll be moved over to the rain garden.
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Spiderwort could be another option.
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Swamp Milkweed is another obvious choice, and I know the Monarchs would appreciate it.
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I also want to add a native sedge to the rain garden. I'm not sure what local garden centers sell as far as native sedges go, so that's something I'll have to look into.



I can't wait to get the project started, and really can't wait to finish it!
 
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Mmathis

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A few years ago we visited St. Louis, MO. My hubby was doing educational stuff, so I had 3 or 4 days to explore on my own. I was amazed at the amount of “nature” there is in and around that city! And one of my favorite places — which was on the way to another of my favorite places — was a huge botanical garden right in the middle of the city! Lots of cool sculptures and stuff! But a big part of it was a rain garden! I’d never heard of this before, and was intrigued! I was fairly new with my pond, so tried to equate it to a bog garden — similar but different. It was fascinating!

Can’t wait to see how this turns out. Love the flowers you are considering, too!

Looked back though some pics I took, but this is the only one that I can confirm came from the rain garden. You can see how they have the curbs designed to channel the rain water.
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JBtheExplorer

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JBtheExplorer

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Looked back though some pics I took, but this is the only one that I can confirm came from the rain garden. You can see how they have the curbs designed to channel the rain water.
View attachment 110022
We have a local park that does similarly. Parking lot runoff goes directly into their rain gardens.
 

j.w

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Will enjoy watching you do this! How long will the water stay in the rain garden? We get tons of rain but our soil is so sandy that we never have any standing water anywhere. Only French drains were allowed on our house when it was built. The county built a deep retention area on the edge of our property but no water ever in there even w/strong continuous downpours.
 

JBtheExplorer

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Did some more grass removal tonight after the sun went down. Got about 75% of the grass removed. The gravel wasn't as bad to dig through as I was expecting.

Once the grass is removed I'll have to move all the bricks and my canoe.Then comes the fence, which is going to be a little more difficult than I originally realized. Apparently, when I put the fences up, I didn't connect the 4' fence and 6' fence directly, and the 4' fence that has to be moved will leave a 2" gap, which means I may have to move as many as 6 fence posts instead of the two I had planned on. Yikes. (n) I'm just glad I used fence post spikes and not concrete!

fence.jpg



However, once that mess is done, I'll be able to start creating the shape of the rain garden. After that, it should be smooth sailing. I do expect weeds to be an issue. This area was very weedy, and I'm sure there will be plenty of weed seeds just waiting to grow.
 
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JBtheExplorer

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Hard at work today. Moved the fence, the canoe, and the bricks. Picked up some wood chips for the new path, and now just deciding on where the new path is going, and then comes digging the shallow depression for the rain garden.

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JBtheExplorer

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To follow up my earlier post, I ended up figuring out where I wanted the path and started digging the rain garden. Still have a lot more work to do but it's coming together. So far, this project has been too easy.

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Here's my updated plan.
PondBluePrint2018potential.jpg
 
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cas

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I can't wait to see this when the flowers start growing. It's going to look awesome.
 

j.w

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Me too can't wait to see how this goes. Never, ever say the words this is going too easy :whistle::smuggrin:
 

JBtheExplorer

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Had to move some plants this morning so I planted them in the shady section along my garage. A few species of ferns, Wild Geranium, Indian Pink, and Virginia Bluebells, which have been struggling to survive this year.
 
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callingcolleen1

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How exciting! Project sounds very interesting. Its like reclaiming the lost creeks and bogs we might have had naturally if we never built house's and subdivisions. I read a while back that Toronto Ontario lost losts of these natural water features and they were planning to reclaim lots of lost ponds and creeks and have rainwater feed these new ponds and they said that they would plant lots if sedges as they clean best. You could use some of that overgrown iris for your new feature garden.
 
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I start out every project saying it will be easy and fun. Then after I have tweak it or do a major over hall it turns into a chore. But it is my nature to tinker with things.
 

JBtheExplorer

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You could use some of that overgrown iris for your new feature garden.
I'm ahead of you on that one! Already had that plan even before my bog troubles. :) It's always nice when you can use your own plants to help with a project.


I start out every project saying it will be easy and fun.
That does happen. Can't foresee this becoming anything too difficult, unless I someday add a stream to my pond, which would them lead me to having to remove the entire new rain garden. I'm sure I won't do that. ;)
 
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JBtheExplorer

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Did more today than it looks. Moved quite a few plants today and laid about 75% of the new pathway. Should be able to get quite a bit done tomorrow as well. If all goes well, all I'll have left to do after tomorrow is plant plants, although I need to pick up another bag or two of wood chips to finish the path. You can see the small sticks poking up along the garage. Those are marking the ferns and other shade-loving plants I put in today.


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