The Residential Rain Garden Program:

This past year with help from the City of London, The London Environmental Network supported four local residences in creating a rain-garden on their property as they were experiencing significant flooding. In total, around 900 square feet of land within the London community was converted into aesthetically pleasing, stormwater management rain gardens!

What is a Rain Garden you might ask? A rain garden is different from a normal garden as it is specifically designed to capture and manage rainwater runoff from roofs and other non-permeable surfaces. A rain garden is built away from the house foundation, with a shallow depression in the center. An inlet and an outlet are installed to direct water runoff; the inlet directs water into the garden from roofs and eavestroughs, while the outlet manages any excess water away from the garden. Mulch, native and hydrophilic plant species are used to absorb the water and decrease any runoff from entering storm drains and polluting the nearby watershed. If water does enter the storm drains, it’s at a much slower pace, and the chemicals and sediments have been filtered out by the plants.

Why is managing storm water important? Many of the city surfaces are non-permeable: concrete, roofs, asphalt, and even grass lawns. What this means, is that rain water is unable to be absorbed into the earth, and instead is directed to nearby storm drains. Unfortunately, this runoff collects any toxins or pollutants along the way including chemicals, oil and gasses, fertilizers, pesticides, and even debris and liters. All of these end up in our local water systems, and then ultimately polluting our larger water sheds; the great lakes. 

How Rain Gardens contribute to London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan:

  • Rain Gardens eliminate storm water runoff. They capture, absorb, and filter water that is unable to be absorbed through impermeable surfaces such as roofs, concrete, and asphalt.
  • They deliver this water back into the soil for the native plants and surrounding root systems to absorb.
  • Rain Gardens build climate resilience by decreasing flooding, erosion, and clogged storm drains.
  • Plants are able to filter and slow the water, which eliminates pollutants from entering our water systems, local watershed, and then the great lakes.
  • They reduce the heat island effect by capturing heat and carbon from the atmosphere, cooling urban areas.
  • By installing a Rain-Garden, water is directed away from the house foundation, which decreases the chances of basement flooding.
  • Rain Gardens are biodiverse, full of native plants, and pollinator friendly; attracting beneficial bees, butterflies, insects, and wildlife

Check out this video from The City of London in partnership with the London Environmental Network:

Last years Rain Garden participants are already experiencing flood relief, and are excited to watch their garden grow, especially during springtime when there are large periods of snowmelt. They are also witnessing an increase in biodiversity, as Rain Gardens bring pollinators and native wildlife. 

Stay tuned for 2024 Residential Rain Garden applications!


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