Benefits of Rain Gardens

Rain gardens provide a multitude of benefits for gardeners, homeowner, naturalists, conservationists and bird watchers alike. Here are some of the benefits that each of these groups can receive from a rain garden:

Rain gardens are very beneficial to the environment, and help increase and maintain biodiversity by providing food and shelter to wildlife. In addition, Missouri native plants tend to have roots that run very deep, which makes it easier for runoff to seep through soil and reach the ground water. Further, the roots themselves take in runoff, and clean the dirty water in the process. Planting a rain garden saves energy and lowers emissions.

Bird Watchers
Growing a rain garden in your own back yard provides a place for birds to nest, hide, and feed, potentially increasing one’s local bird population. Rain gardens also provide grubs within the soil and insects on and within plants as food for bird species. Birds clean trees, bark, foliage, buds, and stems, and eat the possibly harmful seeds of weeds. Rain gardens also provide an oasis for migratory birds that have a difficult time finding any resting ground in urban or suburban areas.

Rain gardens can be planted in place of an ugly ditch or wet spot in a lawn. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, rain gardens are low maintenance and relatively inexpensive. Since they are composed of native plants they are relatively self-sufficient and require no watering after the root system is established. Choosing a good location for your rain garden will provide the plants with a natural influx of water and sun, and will save you money on your water bill. Planting native perennial plants will provide the garden with a hardy collection of plant species that grow on their own year after year while simultaneously managing runoff and promoting an overall healthy garden.

Rain gardens help replenish wetlands lost to urbanization and industrialization. Restoration of these wetlands is key to preserving the natural landscape and habitat of your area. Not only does rain garden help restore land, but it also provides great habitat for a variety of species. For instance, certain amphibians, a wildlife population currently under threat in Missouri, will inhabit rain gardens. Rain gardens also help control erosion as well as prevent runoff pollution from reaching local aquatic ecosystems. They also act as a filter for thermal pollution and help preserve watershed quality.

Homeowners often struggle with water in their homes. In fact, homes particularly in Saint Louis often flood after large storms. Rain gardens can help protect your basements by soaking up extra water in your yard. Many backyards also contain low lying areas that tend to be more prone to collecting water. Rain gardens are perfect for these areas, and consist of plants that can tolerate the varied climate. This will even help lower your irrigation bills, since rain gardens require no water after root systems have been established, and hardly any maintenance.

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