Where does all that rain water go? Do your gutters send water down and away from your home? Does the water form a small stream that runs down your driveway and street and into the nearest storm drain?
Or does that water flow into a rain garden? A rain garden is a common-sense feature for a Pacific Northwest yard. These gardens are planted in shallow depressions and are designed to collect runoff from rooftops, driveway, roads and other areas that don’t allow water to soak in. They can also be shaped to fit your lot and can be landscaped to fit the surroundings.
How do rain gardens work?
Rain gardens use soils and plants to slow and reduce rain water runoff, allowing it to soak naturally into the ground. Pollutants carried in the runoff collect in the rain garden and filter through the plants’ root systems and soil.
Neighborhood Rain Garden Program
The City of Kirkland partnered with groups of neighbors to build clusters of residential rain gardens in neighborhoods, working in a different neighborhood each year. 2012 was the pilot year of the rain garden program, and it concluded in 2016. Take a tour (pdf) of Kirkland’s rain garden neighborhoods!
By constructing rain gardens to serve existing residential properties, the City receives the benefit of reduced stormwater flow at a very low cost compared to traditional flow control facilities in the city right of way. The homeowner receives a beautiful garden that will complement their home. The project also educates residents about stormwater problems, and involves them in a solution to those problems.