For those who don't know what a raingarden is, here is a little blurb from my Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens:
Have you ever wandered what to plant in that low spot in your backyard where the grass won't grow because water puddles there after it rains? Or how to fix the erosion gully where rainwater drains away from one of your downspouts?
Well, there may be an easy, attractive solution! Try planting a raingarden!
A raingarden is simply a garden with a depression that is designed to catch rainwater runoff in your yard, growing plants that don't mind getting partially flooded on occasion. Raingardens provide wildlife habitat and an opportunity to create beautiful landscaping. And, by soaking up rain where it falls, raingardens slow stormwater runoff, help prevent erosion, and remove pollutants in the process.
The point is to catch as much rainwater as you can and give it a place to soak in. We've had some spectacular downpours in the last couple weeks and I've never yet seen standing water in our raingarden. We have great drainage! We just wanted to encourage it to drain into the earth - instead of into our basement.
Here is the beginning of our raingarden, before and after we dug out the Gingko tree:
Here you can see things have begun to leaf out a bit and our rose dropping petals all over. I transplanted quite a few things into the garden - at first mostly creeping charlie!
That last picture was from June; this is from July:
It has filled out even more since then. This is one of my favorite parts of the garden. Just under the rose and little cherry tree there is a mass of violets, wood sorrel, wild geranium, and some other unknown ground cover. Spraying out from the midst of that and draping over into the garden is a patch of this decorative grass. It hangs into more wood sorrel and creeping charlie, and whatever else is hiding in there.
Many months ago I started noticing a type of grass growing. It was so thick it made me think of corn - so I didn't pull it up. It eventually grew to be about 4 feet high and have these great huge fluffy ends. There are several of them and they are matched by lots of little native grasses growing in the yard.
We hope to put a raingarden in the backyard someday, but recently I was noticing how much water pools in the sidewalk when it rains. I'm going to try to put in a bit of a raingarden in the boulevard strip. I've read this isn't always a good idea, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully it will at least keep our sidewalk from turning into a lake every time it rains!
Before and during (not after) - I'm afraid I haven't gotten very far yet!