Rain Gardens

What is a rain garden?

Rain gardens are specially constructed gardens that collect rain water from homes and businesses and use it to grow plants, shrubs and trees.   Water from roof drains is collected in a trough beneath the garden and this water is used by the plants to grow.  Excess water is gradually absorbed into the ground and does not enter the storm sewer systems. This keeps rain water on your property and out of storm sewers where it can cause flooding and scour stream banks, causing erosion.

Why should you have a rain garden?

  • They are beautiful
  • They help reduce flooding
  • They provide habitat for butterflies and birds, particularly hummingbirds
  • They don’t allow water to pond, so there will be no mosquitoes
  • If you have a wet spot in your yard, a rain garden may help reduce it
  • They require little maintenance – just a little occasional weeding

How do rain gardens help the environment?

  • Up to 70% of pollution in our waterways comes from storm water runoff and rain gardens help to minimize storm water runoff
  • Rain gardens allow the soils to filter out urban pollutants, such as pesticides, oils and sediment and keep them from entering the waterways
  • Rain gardens allow approximately 30% more water to soak into the ground, minimizing runoff to our streams and preventing stream bank erosion

The Westmoreland Conservation District has compiled a list of native plants suitable for rain gardens in southwestern Pennsylvania and a planting guide for four different types of rain gardens: Shrubs only, Birds & Butterflies, Perennials only and Seasonal Interest.

For more details on Rain Gardens, please visit Westmoreland Conservation District at www.wcdpa.com or call 724-837-5271.