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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

Rain Gardens Gone Wild!

By

Frank Reilly

Prince William County Master Gardener

design principles
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
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.
locating rain gardens
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.)
building rain gardens
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

size matters
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
size matters continued
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

size matters continued9
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)
design
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
what can go wrong
What can go wrong?
  • Size
  • Blow out
  • Not enough water
  • Too much water
  • Bad drainage
  • Your neighbors could find out!
slide12
NOTE CHANNELING, MULCH WASHOUT

Too small or steep = too much flow

slide13
FLOW IN

FLOW OUT

Make sure water can get out

It doesn’t always rain the “average amount”

slide15
FLOW PATH

OVERLAND RELIEF

GREEN GABLES – RAIN GARDEN

slide18
LOT 4, RG 4

NOTE SHAPE AND STANDING WATER

If it isn’t flat the neighbors WILL know!

slide20
GRADING, NOTE BOWL SHAPE

HOPEWELLS LANDING SEC 1

slide21
NOTE: STANDING WATER, BOWL SHAPE, STEEP SLOPES

HOPEWELLS LANDING SEC 1 GRADING ISSUES

slide22
NOTE STANDING WATER

Poorly drained soils

questions
Questions?
  • www.AdvancedMasterGardener.org follow the water buttons
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