Rainscaping is an integrated system of directed water flow and settling basins that can reduce or prevent the problems associated with stormwater runoff. This runoff may contain sediment, excess nutrients, bacteria and other pathogens, debris, and household hazardous waste that pollute water environments, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Some residents who live in the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma metro regions have implemented rain barrels to capture excess rainwater for gardening purposes. Rainscaping goes one big step further by capturing and reusing the water to beautify properties and support local ecosystems, reports The Seattle Times. Pat Sauer, Rainscaping Iowa Program administrator, says that rainscaping offers comprehensive options for recycling excess stormwater to benefit commercial and residential landscapes.
Not all garden sites are naturally ideal rainscapes, so households should consider the following suggestions:
- Conduct a percolation or drainage test to determine if the soil drains properly.
- Incorporate plants that are native to the region, because they will fare better in the weather conditions.
- Consider implementing a residential rain garden (a saucerlike depression in the ground that captures rain from a downspout, driveway or patio), the simplest and cheapest way to rainscape.
- Regularly monitor the soil and water nutrients if you plan on consuming edible plants like berries, fiddlehead ferns, and herbs.