As many of you know, my big project this year is installing a rain garden. I’ve wanted (and needed) a rain garden for a few years, but haven’t had a chance to install one yet. I wasn’t planning on doing it this year, but I received a grant from my city to cover the costs, and I couldn’t pass up that deal.
|Rain garden all staked out|
I finished the design for the rain garden a few weeks ago, and the city came out and staked the area shortly after that. Once that was all done, we were finally able to start digging.
|Rain garden – spray painted shape|
Building a rain garden is a bit complicated. They gave us a checklist of things we needed to do to build it…
1. Remove sod
2. Dig the basin – the basin is the bowl in the bottom of the rain garden where the water collects and soaks in. After removing the sod, we had to dig one foot down. (the depth of the basin depends on your soil type and drainage rate)
3. Build the berm – the berm is a the higher area around the rain garden which keeps the water from escaping. Basically, the ground around the rain garden needs to be level, so a berm is built on the lower side of the garden. We used the dirt from the basin to build up the berm.
|Digging the bason and building the berm|
4. Loosen soil at least 12″ below bottom of rain garden. Once the basin was dug, the soil at the bottom needed to be tilled so the water will soak in faster.
5. Spread compost in basin – The amount of compost needed depends on the size of the garden. My rain garden is 150 sq ft, so we had to add one cubic yard of compost into the basin of the rain garden. This helps the plants become established faster, and also helps with drainage.
|Getting ready to add compost to the basin|
6. Install edging – we chose to use plastic edging, but any type of edging or rock could be used (just like with any other garden)
Once the basin was dug, we could tell that the berm was WAY too high. My husband said it looked like a bunker.
|Line level for berm height|
After the guy came back out to inspect it, he confirmed that the berm was too high.
He said we just needed to use a line level to re-stake the areas and see how high the berm should be.
Yep, we had a lot of extra dirt to remove.
That was ok, because there are lots of areas in the gardens that could use more dirt. It didn’t take long to get the berm down to the right height.
Now all that is left to do is add the plants and mulch (sounds so easy).
I started buying plants already, but planting them was delayed a bit because we had a bunch of rain. Of course, being a rain garden, it filled up with water. Well, at least we know it’s working!
|Rain garden full of water|
I still have a few more plants to buy, but I’ve already started planning where I’ll put everything. This is the fun part! Of course, I’ll tell you all about it in a future blog post.