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Rain garden from existing gutter drain, suburban lot.. Would this work?  RSS feed

 
Nathan Strumfeld
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Location: Skokie, IL
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I've been thinking of putting a rain garden in my front yard. There's already a flexible plastic tube going from my gutter, underground to the curb. I thought of building the rain garden on top of this drain in the middle of the yard, and once I dig down to the tube, just cut it to flow into the rain garden.

I've done a crude diagram of my lot and what I was thinking.

There is a flood control system more towards my walkway and a large roughly 40' tree by the street.

Do you guys think this would work? Good idea? Any advice?
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Michelle Bisson
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Location: Quebec, Canada
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Interesting idea! 

What I would want to be concerned with is how much water do you want to collect and will the excess flow back out to the flood control system by the sidewalk.  You do not want to harvest more than your rain garden plants can handle.  What will you do with the soil you dig out from the rain garden hollow?  Do you have a use for it? 

You'll want to make sure that the rain garden does not trap too much moisture close to the house.  I would create it closer to the sidewalk than the house.

What kind of plants do you hope to plant?  Any edible plants? 

You could also possibly direct the water towards a small edible berry bush hedge along the sidewalk to give a bit of privacy to your yard.

You'll want to verify that there are no undergrown wires or other obstacles where you want to dig.
 
Nathan Strumfeld
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Location: Skokie, IL
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Thanks for your reply Michelle! Really useful info, I have a lot to consider here. I'm thinking of waiting till next spring. I would like some edibles, I'd like to incorporate hazelnuts somewhere. I need to spend some time designing the space. Most of my neighbors have neatly manicured yards, so I at least want to balance the aesthetics with everything I'd like to do.
 
Michelle Bisson
Posts: 221
Location: Quebec, Canada
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"Most of my neighbors have neatly manicured yards, so I at least want to balance the aesthetics with everything I'd like to do."

Makes sense!

Do continue to post your thoughts as you plan out your project this winter!
 
James Whitelaw
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We have a rain garden installed and mostly paid for by our city in our yard fed by a buried pipe from our downspout. The designer presented us with a list of a variety of appropriate plant and the work was done in an afternoon. They trucked in sand and topsoil that replaced the clay they dug up. I kept the excavated clay that was left over after creating the surrounding berm to build up around the house to help correct some minor water intrusion issues in the basement. At a recent follow-up inspection they suggested we add a bayscape to the opposite side of the front yard.  We are also slated to receive a subsidized rain barrel that we’ll put in the back to provide water to the raised garden.

Here is a document on the process that includes some designs and plants we were able to select from. The document also addresses sizing your rain garden predicated on distance from the structure and estimate of runoff from the roof.
 
Nathan Strumfeld
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Location: Skokie, IL
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Wow, thanks so much James! This looks like a really thorough and useful guide. Glad that it's from the University of Wisconsin too, which is in my zone. I'll definitely be referring to it when I plan my garden.
 
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