Monday, May 23, 2011

How to build a small rain garden on your terrace

How to create an easy rain garden on your terrace--one that drains puddles !

1. Pour some water to make sure it will flow to your garden.  Sidewalks usually tilt towards the street, but not always.

2. Dig out a series of deep squares about 8 inches from the sidewalk, to make a trench 8" or a foot deep.

3. Using a sharp shovel, bevel the edges of the trench you made.   The shallow bevel on the sidewalk side will make it safer for pedestrians.

4.  Enrich the soil with compost--especially if you dug down to gravel or clay.  You can also enrich with grass clippings, leaf litter, or coffee grounds.

5.  Add native plants for your condition--sun or shade.  Suggestions here.   Don't plant them too close--they will grow!

6.  Add some mulch around the plants to prevent weeds and keep them moist.  (Bark mulch may float away!  Grass clippings make good mulch.) 

Water until they become established.  Don't rake in the fall--let leaves accumulate to enrich the garden.

What to do with the soil you removed?
  • Use the blocks of turf you removed to create little dams elsewhere in your yard.  These pools can become additional rain gardens.
  • If you separate the soil from the roots, you can scatter the soil on your lawn or garden.
  • Fill an eroding gully in your neighborhood.  Make sure the soil is stabilized with vegetation.

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