Go Native for the Great Lakes, Plant a Rain Garden!
You can make a difference in local water quality by planting a Rain Garden in your yard to control stormwater or by collecting roof runoff in a Rain Barrel.
Rain gardens capture water in a shallow depression planted with native plants. They help infiltration and filter the water as it slowly seeps into the ground.
Rain Gardens are an example of Low Impact Development. Low Impact Development uses the basic principle that is modeled after nature: manage rainfall where it lands (SEMCOG LID Manual, 2009). It is land use/development that helps precipitation infiltrate the ground thereby preventing storm water run-off. Find out more about Low Impact Development projects in Southeast Michigan with this interactive map.
Find native plants to put in your own Rain Garden, visit the Michigan Native Plant Producers website for links to nurseries.
Attention Teachers! Download Rain Garden Curriculum to lead your students through the process of building a Rain Garden at your school. Visit the Earth Partnership for Schools website.
"Rain Gardens for the Rouge River" Video, view this video for general instructions and special tips for building Rain Gardens in the Rouge River watershed.
Rain Garden Links
Contact your local watershed organization for information on yearly Rain Barrel sales.
Watch a video and download instructions on how to build your own rain barrel.
Rain Barrels & Rain Gardens
Reduce storm water runoff from your property by redirecting downspouts away from hard, paved surfaces into rain gardens and rain barrels. A rain garden is a sunken flower garden that collects rain water from your roof or driveway. The garden uses some water to grow and lets the rest seep slowly into the ground.
Rain gardens use native Michigan plants.
A native plant is one that grew in Michigan prior to European settlement. Because they have evolved to Michigan's climate, soils, and animals - native plants usually don't require fertilizer or watering. Native plants have deep root systems that help storm water soak into the ground.
Along with absorbing storm water, rain gardens provide important habitats for birds and butterflies.
By planting native plants, you support the native insect population; helping to feed the 360 songbirds that pass through or breed in Michigan!
Like any other home landscaping feature, rain gardens require maintenance, such as periodic weeding. Once established, they are a beautiful solution to storm water pollution!
A rain barrel is a large container that collects and stores rainwater from roofs and gutters.
In the summer, approximately 40% of typical household water use is for lawns and gardens. Instead of paying for this water - on your utilities bill, or on the electric bill for a well pump - you can capture the water from your roof, store it, and draw on it for your gardening needs. Rain barrels also help reduce runoff during heavy rains. Is rainwater safe? Rainwater is oxygenated, non-chlorinated, low in minerals and warmer - better for plants and better for the environment.
Rain barrels are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit in with your home landscape. From white plastic recycled food containers, to elaborately painted bins, to oak barrels, many options are available. Rain barrels are often made from recycled materials.