Bay Area Bountiful

Rain_gardenAs the rainy season returns, perhaps your yard or garden would benefit from keeping more of that water around for a while. There's no doubt that the environment as a whole would. Rain gardens are one good way to do just that.

SPAWN's tours of Marin area rain gardens will be held Nov. 19 & 20 and Dec.3. Information and sign ups here.


Rain gardens can be added just about anywhere, regardless of soil types. Even thick clays can be amended to accept water more readily, says Chipkin, but that's not always necessary.

To estimate the amount of storage needed, calcuate the surface are that the rainwater will drain off from. An average storm will bring around one inch of rain per square foot. But few rainwater capture systems can hold all the precipitation from major storms. So that gardens that receive that water need to be designed with a outlet for the excess.

Even without adding or changing a garden, there are ways to facilitate increased rainwater absorbtion into the ground through "hardscape reducution" measures. Note that this issue also relates directly to concens about the future reliability of groundwater resources in the Santa Rosa Plain, as previously reported on the North Bay Report.

Top 9 Reasons to Build A Rain Garden


1. Reduces stream flooding and downstream erosion.

2. Provides habitat for wildlife.

3. Requires less maintenance, watering, fertilizers and pesticides than traditional gardens because of use of native and other locally adapted plants.


4. Filters pollutants and reduces pollution in our waterways via native plant roots and healthy soil.

5. Recharges groundwater by allowing water to filter into the ground rather than run along the surface into drains.

6. Reduces the volume of water flowing to sewer treatment facilities.

7. Transforms your property in an inexpensive and easy way.

8. Saves money on landscape irrigation and lowers your water bill.

9. Beautifies neighborhoods, models water conservation.

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