Rain Gardens on the BC Sunshine Coast

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Rain Gardens – Growing Opportunities
by Slowing the Flow

With your Rain Garden, you can conserve drinking water and exploit an otherwise wasted resource – the stormwater that runs off from your roof.

Stormwater can cause flooding and soil erosion. You can 'slow the flow' and use that wastewater in your garden.  Then the water has a chance to filter down through the soil and recharge the supply of groundwater in your area.

Rain Gardens have Three Mini-Climate Zones

Zone 1:  The lowest point in your rain garden has frequent flowing water and brief periods of standing water. At the very centre of your rain garden, Zone 1 needs water-loving plants – such as Rushes, Iris, and Salmonberry.

Zone 2:  This zone lies between Zone 1 and the outer berms.  Sometimes, the soil will becoming saturated during bigger rain storms. In Zone 2, plant those species that are flood-resistant but also relatively drought-tolerant – such as Sedges, Asters, and Thimbleberry.

Zone 3:  This area lies towards the outer edges of your rain garden and will demand the most drought-tolerant native species – such as Kinnikinnick, Lupines, Oceanspray shrubs, and Paper Birch trees.

Mulching – Make a Comfort Blanket for Your Rain Garden

Directly after planting, be sure to cover the bare ground with bark mulch – not wood chips, which deplete nitrogren in the soil.  The bark mulch will:

      • Help hold moisture in the soil and add important nutrients
      • Restrict growth of weed species (including invasive lawn grass)
      • Reduce erosion of the garden's underlying soil

Once you have established your rain garden, it should be relatively easy to maintain. Just keep the inflow and overflow areas clear of any water-borne debris.  Remove weeds and occasionally add more bark mulch as needed.

A well-planted rain garden creates a beautiful spot to rest your eyes upon and will impress your friends!  You may soon forget that you are slowing the run-off from your property and  helping to conserve drinking water.

Why do Rain Garden Designers emphasize Native Plants?

Some plants used in your rain garden will be flood-resistant, others will be drought-tolerant.  Still others will be resilient enough to stand up to both. Native plants are naturally going to be best-adapted to our coastal weather.

  Native Species Index  –  Listed by General Plant Type:

        1) Evergreen Emergents and Grasses

        2) Groundcovers and Ferns

        3) Herbaceous Perennials

        4) Small- to Medium-Sized Shrubs

        5) Large Shrubs to Small Trees

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