I beg your pardon, did I hear you say rain garden? When we spend so much of the year covered in snow, we look forward to sunshine, not rain. But as the climate changes, Edmonton’s summers will become prone to more intense–albeit infrequent–rain showers. More accurately, we might call these events rainstorms. When rain falls with such intensity, there is little time for the water to soak into the ground, unless the ground is porous, like a vegetable garden, inviting the rain to soak in. If you need more to absorb a downpour, you might consider constructing a rain garden. Watch this video for an overview and find detailed instructions on EPCOR’s website. Don’t forget to locate any buried utilities before you start digging!
Spring is a great time to begin construction since you can see where melted snow pools and where it drains away. The more water that drains into the street, the more must be moved by the stormwater system. Multiply the amount of water draining from your yard by everyone in the neighbourhood. Now consider a summer rainstorm event. Sometimes, there is a limit to how much water the pipes can handle.
Perennial native wildflowers with deep roots might adorn your rain garden, providing beauty and habitat. Or, you might experiment with some edibles like asparagus, strawberries, high bush cranberry or rhubarb!
If you find yourself humming this song (by Joe South), modernize the lyrics for this century:
I beg your pardon, did I hear you say “rain garden”? Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain some time.
- In addition to its stormwater absorption and retention, the rain garden also provides a habitat for wildlife and gives staff a place to enjoy nature. (from https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/PDF/Rain_Garden_Eastgate_Yard_Case_Study.pdf
- City – Why a Rain Garden/ In a Box: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcozgNn-Oz0 (35 secs)
- City – How-to guide: Rain Garden in a Box: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzhXNZi1_pM (3 mins, 4 secs)
- EPCOR -How To: https://www.epcor.com/learn/efficiency-conservation/outside/Pages/installing-a-rain-garden.aspx
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