Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rain Garden for Investment

From Naterraland Reality
It makes common sense that part of the reason for protecting the earth is just protecting your investment.
Not surprising, lakefront real estate with cleaner water commanded significantly higher prices.
Rain gardens are landscape areas planted with wildflowers and other native vegetation designed to replace portions of lawn.
Rain gardens are beneficial to lakefront property for several reasons.
• To help protect streams and lakes from pollutants carried by storm water – lawn fertilizers and pesticides, oil and other fluids that leak from cars and other harmful substances that wash off roofs and paved areas.
• To enhance the beauty of your lakefront property and the surrounding area.
• To provide a valuable habitat for birds, butterflies and many beneficial insects.
Spring and early summer is the best time to build and plant a rain garden. It’s easier to dig and the plants are more likely to thrive.
Determining the right size and plants.
The appropriate size of your rain garden depends on how deep the garden will be (typically between four to eight inches), what type of soil the garden will be planted in and how much roof and/or lawn will drain to the garden. The length and width is important to ensure it properly catches water. A good rule of thumb is to make the rain garden about twice as long (perpendicular to the slope) as it is wide, usually about 10 feet wide.
For plant selection, choose native plants with a diverse mixture of sedges, rushes and grasses. They not only add to the garden’s beauty, they also create a thick underground root matrix that keeps the entire plant community in balance. In fact, 80% of the plant mass in native prairie communities is underground. Once the garden has matured with a deep, thick root system, weeds will naturally decline.
Another nice benefit of a rain garden is the low maintenance required once the plants are established.
As you make plans for your rain garden, consider the following tips and proven guidelines.
More tips and proven guidelines to remember.
• Place the garden at least 10 feet from the house or cabin.
• Do not place it directly over a septic system.
• Although tempting, don’t put the rain garden on a part of the land where water already ponds. The goal is to encourage infiltration and your land’s wet patches show where infiltration is slow.
• Keep the garden level to prevent rain runoff.
• Make a berm across the bottom and up the sides to keep water in the garden.
• Select plants with a well-established root system, usually one or two years old.
By reducing storm water run off, a rain garden can help you improve and maintain the water quality of your lakefront real estate or riverfront property while increasing its value. And that’s beautiful any way you look at it.
Source: University of Wisconsin Extension; “Rain Gardens: A How-to Manual for Homeowners.” And “Protecting Your Waterfront Investment.”

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