Monday, September 9, 2013

Rain Garden

by: Brenda Gettinger, ISDA –DSC, Resource Specialist

I have been fortunate to have been a Resource Specialist for the state of Indiana for over 17 years and have installed many different types of conservation practices on the land.  But until recently had never assist in installing a Rain Garden, what an adventure which has become very functional and educational.
One of the five SWCD counties I assist is Wayne County in east central Indiana.  They received a Clean Water Indiana grant to install a Rain Garden at the county fairgrounds.  The site location was perfect for this type of practice because it was an area that received the parking lot drainage which after a rain event held the storm water runoff.

Site before Rain Garden
A Purdue student in the CAPSTONE program, Alicia Aldridge, was chosen to do the design work for the rain garden.  After a design plan was chosen, then began the task of ordering over 400 native plants by Wayne Co. SWCD Office Coordinator, Sheryl Brown, and Educational Coordinator, Luanne Holeva.  Technical aspects were left in the hands of the SWCD Technician, Raquel Baker, and me.  Raquel and I had to layout the rain garden to a specific scale going from the paper design to the actual ground.  Most people may not realize that there are four excavated pits in this rain garden area. 

During construction On left;  Ron Brown, contractor, Middle; Raquel Baker, SWCD Technician, Right; Brenda Gettinger, ISDA-DSC-Resource Specialist

The pits were dug to a minimum depth of 4’, in 10’ x 10’ areas.  The pits were filled with bedding stone and soil enriched with sand which acted like giant sponges, absorbing and draining storm water faster than the original landscape did.  Next a riverbed of stone was placed in the center of the rain garden to help with stability and give the garden a more natural appeal. 

Stone and Mulch laid…time to plant native plantings.

The next fun task was planting those 400 native plants in the ground, give them a good drink of water then mulch all in about a 1 ½ days.  Wayne Co. SWCD is thankful to have a willing staff and very dedicated volunteers.  What began as a wet soggy area has turned into a beautiful area that filters storm water, a great educational site and is a very proud addition to the Wayne County fairgrounds.   Staff and volunteers still maintain the garden on a regular basis with weeding and cutting back of plantings.   It was a labor of many loving hands!
Rain Garden completed

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