How rainscaping can solve storm runoff problems
Stormwater runoff can quickly drain a homeowner's wallet. The flooding erodes yards, soaks basements, pollutes streams and wastes a precious resource.
But rainscaping — an integrated system of directed water flow and settling basins — can convert those losses into gains by providing new wildlife habitat, beautifying properties and, in some cases, providing food for the dinner table.
“It's becoming a pattern of capture and reuse rather than simply moving the water off,” said Pat Sauer, Rainscaping Iowa Program administrator. “There are more options out there than just rain gardens. We're looking more comprehensively at what can be done on the landscape.”
Yards vary, and rainscaping designs must be site specific. Suggestions:
• Perk. Conduct a soil test to see whether your yard will percolate (drain) rainwater. If it doesn't perk, then all you'll be left with is standing water. If your yard is hard, like concrete, you'll have to improve the soil.
• Plant native. Prairie plants and woodland seedlings with deep roots help soak up stormwater, filter pollutants and recharge groundwater levels. Using native plants also helps ensure they'll survive their new setting.
• Installing a residential rain garden, which is a saucer-like depression in the ground that captures rain from a downspout, driveway or patio, is the simplest and least-expensive way to retain stormwater.
• Use permeable materials like bricks, paving blocks or gravel on driveways and walkways, with spacing that allows water to seep into the soil.
• Edibles. Berries, asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, fruit trees, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, and culinary and tea herbs can be creative additions in the right rain0garden sites, but use them with care. Be aware of from where the water is flowing into your rain garden. Rain gardens serving to intersect runoff from potentially polluted surfaces are not ideal for edibles unless soil and water nutrients are tested and monitored.
• Rain gardens and related rainscaping features give homeowners a chance to be part of the stormwater and pollution solution, while serving aesthetic and functional purposes, says Bob Spencer, RainWise program manager for the City of Seattle. “Not only are the gardens attractive landscaping, they are protecting our water bodies and the creatures that live there,” he says.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Winter weather advisory for Western Pa. in effect until Monday afternoon
- Defensive lineman commits to PSU during campus visit
- Crosby, Malkin dazzle fellow All-Stars
- Starkey: Rinaldo doesn’t belong in NHL
- Woman killed in Washington Township crash
- Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
- Increasing pressure on QBs will be offseason focus for Steelers
- ‘I almost left here’ says Highland Park woman who contracted flesh-eating bacteria
- Paying cost of attendance worries Power 5 schools large and small
- Lure of tuition aid, gifts draw college students to ‘sugar daddy’ sites
- Classes increasingly blend in technology in Western Pa. schools