Rain Gardens: Natural Rain Water Management

For customer’s seeking natural ways to manage run-off, while increasing soil permeability and fertility, rain gardens are an effective and attractive solution. Rain gardens are composed of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a slightly depressed garden or down-slope. The gardens are designed to catch run-off from hard materials, such as: roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and patios. These beautiful gardens are great way to utilize local, natural resources to reduce water waste and enhance your landscape.

 

How They Work

As previously mentioned, rain gardens are created in depressed areas with native plants and flowers to catch and absorb rainwater. The depressed bed holds the water allowing it to infiltrate into the soil. As the run-off is absorbed, pollutants are naturally removed by the plants, mulch, and soil. According to groundwater.org, rain gardens are effective in removing 90% of nutrients and chemicals, up to 80% of sediments, and absorbing 30% more water than conventional lawns. As a result, the run-off becomes groundwater for plants while encouraging healthy soil through increased permeability. As an added bonus, for homeowners with ponds, or near rivers and lakes, the absorption and filtration properties of rain gardens can improve overall water quality.

 

The Benefits

In addition to their beauty, rain gardens hold many benefits. First, rain gardens reduce the need for watering as a result of their high absorption rate. And, since they absorb and drain run-off within a 12-48 hour period, rain gardens can also reduce mosquito populations as they are not ideal for breeding.  Rain gardens also require very little fertilization and upkeep to ensure continued growth. Since they are comprised of native plant materials, rain gardens require minimal maintenance as the plants are acclimated to local conditions and rainfall. Further, the native plants act to attract local birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other helpful insects; thus, creating a mini-ecosystem from which other plants and trees can benefit.

 

Country Club Landscaping can help interested customers assess their landscape to identify rain garden placement, design custom rain gardens, and provide installation. With a wide variety of plants and flowers native to Ohio, we are able to create custom rain gardens that reflect each customer’s unique style in color schemes that complement their pre-existing landscape. As always, we remain committed to utilizing best practice and natural solutions to enhance the beauty of nature.

Getting to the Root of It: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Soil

As landscapers, we know our customers want the greenest lawns, fullest blooms, and hardiest roots. They want lawns and landscapes that are beautiful and thriving. The simple truth of it – none of this is possible without healthy soil. Soil is more than brown dirt from which plants and grasses grow. It is a complex, living being entwined in a symbiotic relationship with the plants growing from it. The slightest changes to the pH level and/or nutrients in soil can have beneficial, or disastrous consequences, to a landscape.

 

Is My Soil Healthy?

Healthy soil can be identified both by visual examination and soil testing. Visual examination can be completed by a simple soil dig. Healthy soil is dark brown in nature and should be full of root systems, visible animal activity (think earthworms and arthropods), and mycorrhizal fungi (white, fibrous hairs on root systems). The soil should crumble away and be moist to the touch. Soil testing uses small soil samples to measure the overall health and fertility of soil. The testing process assesses pH level and pinpoints any nutrient deficiencies. Test results provide information regarding any needed adjustments to fix the deficiencies.

 

How Do I Create and Maintain Healthy Soil?

The easiest way to create healthy soil is to feed it regularly. Utilize fertilizers to ensure soil is getting enough needed nutrients to feed plants and the complex organisms living in it. Soil can also be fed through composting, grass clippings, and organic mulch. Further, periodic aeration (creating small holes in your lawn and flower beds) aids in the exchange of helpful gasses from the atmosphere and from the soil. It also allows for better movement of water and nutrients through the soil and the roots of plants and grasses. Finally, complete annual soil testing and take the results seriously! In addition to the general fertilizer and methods mentioned above, add the specific nutrients identified through the test results to ensure your soil is in peak growing condition.

 

Enrolling in a soil and plant care program, like the County Club Landscaping Plant Health Care Program, is a great way to ensure your soil is getting the love and attention it needs! Our comprehensive, year-round program provides the necessary testing and fertilization needed to ensure proper pH, and a rich biome of nutrients and microorganisms, to create and maintain healthy soil for plant growth. It’s just one more thing we do to enhance the beauty of nature….naturally.