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Rain Gardens Gone Wild! By Frank Reilly Prince William County Master Gardener Design Principles Near the drainage area Must empty within ~2 days May Need an overflow structure Porous soils Suitable plantings (“Bio”-retention) Acceptance related to aesthetics Possible locations

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Rain gardens gone wild l.jpg

Rain Gardens Gone Wild!

By

Frank Reilly

Prince William County Master Gardener


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Design Principles

  • Near the drainage area

  • Must empty within ~2 days

  • May Need an overflow structure

  • Porous soils

  • Suitable plantings (“Bio”-retention)

  • Acceptance related to aesthetics


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Possible locations

Where can I put my rain garden?

  • Any of the problem areas mentioned in step 1

  • 10 feet away from the foundation of your house!

  • 25 feet from a septic system drainfield

  • 25 feet from a well head

  • Avoid underground utility lines

  • Partial to full sun

  • Water table is at least 2’ below the surface of the soil.


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Locating Rain Gardens

  • Between area to be drained (roof, driveway or yard) and storm drain or street

  • Where downspout or other area can drain to it across a grassy area, or “filter strip”

  • At least 10 feet from your house’s foundation

  • An oval or oblong shape approximately 5-7% of the size of the area draining to it (roof, etc.)


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Building Rain Gardens

Call Miss Utility!

Call before you dig

Allow time for marking

Respect the marks

Excavate carefully

One Number for all Virginia :

1-800-552-7001


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Size matters

  • Determine your roof or drainage area

  • Determine the amount of rain water that you want it to hold.

  • Consider the soil type

    • Tighter soil gardens require more volume

    • Or overflow structure


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Size matters (Continued)

  • Estimate the drainage area of your roof: (Length x Width)

    Example: Length of roof = 40' Width of roof = 20'

    (Calculate the area of the roof that is draining to one gutter.)

  • Estimate the depth of rain: (In VA, use an estimate of 0.25" of rain per event)

    Example: event depth of rain = 0.0208' (0.25"÷12"per foot = 0.0208')

    (You can also use a depth of rain from a specific rainfall, just be sure to convert it into ‘feet’ units.)

  • Calculate the Volume: (Length x Width x Depth)

    Example: 40'L x 20'W x 0.0208'D = 16.6 cubic feet


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Size matters (Continued)

  • Calculate the Garden Size: (Length x Width x Depth to contain 16.6 cubic feet)

    Example: Depth of 6 inches need 33 square feet. (16.6 Cubic feet of water/ 0.5 feet = 33.2 square feet)

  • Poor drainage = bigger area (resources at NC State web site)


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Design

  • Shape of the depression for homes consider shallower depths to alleviate drainage problems

  • Consider type of plants and arrangement (Put the more aquatic plants where most standing water will be.)

  • Grass on berm to avoid erosion


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What can go wrong?

  • Size

  • Blow out

  • Not enough water

  • Too much water

  • Bad drainage

  • Your neighbors could find out!


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NOTE CHANNELING, MULCH WASHOUT

Too small or steep = too much flow


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FLOW IN

FLOW OUT

Make sure water can get out

It doesn’t always rain the “average amount”



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FLOW PATH

OVERLAND RELIEF

GREEN GABLES – RAIN GARDEN




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LOT 4, RG 4

NOTE SHAPE AND STANDING WATER

If it isn’t flat the neighbors WILL know!


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FLAT SURFACE GOOD, SLOPES TOO STEEP

HOPEWELLS LANDING SEC 1


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GRADING, NOTE BOWL SHAPE

HOPEWELLS LANDING SEC 1


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NOTE: STANDING WATER, BOWL SHAPE, STEEP SLOPES

HOPEWELLS LANDING SEC 1 GRADING ISSUES


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NOTE STANDING WATER

Poorly drained soils



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Questions?

  • www.AdvancedMasterGardener.org follow the water buttons


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