The Village is currently in the process of implementing a stormwater management plan. As part of this plan, the Village would like to encourage the use of rain gardens on public and private property. On Saturday, May 16th 2009 the Village, in conjunction with Openlands, a partner of Clean Air Counts (http://www.cleanaircounts.org/) , installed the Village's first rain garden on public property. The 1,000 sq ft. demonstration rain garden is located in Lincolnwood Centennial Park, approximately one block south of Pratt Avenue. Click here to see pictures of the installation. Click here to see a complete list of the plants installed in the rain garden.
What are rain gardens? Rain gardens are a planted depression that is designed to absorb rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas. They reduce rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater). Rain gardens may reduce the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.
What types of plants are utilized in rain gardens? Native plants are recommended for rain gardens because they generally don't require fertilizer and are more tolerant of one's local climate, soil, and water conditions. The plants usually include a selection of wetland edge vegetation, such as wildflowers, sedges, rushes, ferns, shrubs and small trees. The native plants collect excess water flowing into the rain garden. Water filters through soil layers before entering the groundwater system. Root systems enhance infiltration, moisture redistribution, and diverse microbial populations involved in bio-filtration.
What type of maintenance is required for rain gardens? As with any garden or plant regular maintenance is required for rain gardens.
Mulching is an important part of rain garden maintenance. Mulch keeps the soil moist, allowing for easy infiltration of rain water.
Depending on the selected garden design, there will be varying degrees of weeding and pruning involved. It is important to weed regularly during plant establishment, as newly planted species may have a tough time competing with weeds. Once plants become established, (approximately 3 years) less weeding will be required.
Rain gardens should be periodically cleared of dead vegetation and any debris that may collect.
For additional information on rain gardens please visit the links below:
Rain Garden Installation Resources
Rain Garden Cross Section