This year in Seattle, rain gardens seemed to explode in popularity. A rain garden is a strategically placed bed with carefully chosen plants that catch street or roof runoff before it goes into the sewers and waterways. They’re nature’s way of filtering contaminates or just absorbing large amounts of water. In Seattle’s case, millions of pounds of toxins go into the Puget Sound every year. So Washington State University and Stewardship Partners have launched a campaign to install 12,000 rain gardens in our area by 2016.
Sometimes cities will offer rebates for installing rain gardens. I encourage everyone in any part of the U.S. to investigate whether your city’s participating in such a program. From what I’ve learned, rain gardens are fairly easy to install. (I’ll be learning more when I attend a landscape professionals certification program in February.) They’re a project that homeowners or a neighborhood can do themselves. They don’t take a lot of special equipment, plants or tools. What a simple and pretty way to solve environmental issues.