Rain Gardens

 

Rain Garden

A rain garden is a shallow, gently sloped channel filled with topsoil and plants. They are an attractive and natural way to manage rainwater runoff in developed neighbourhoods. In fact, they allow about 30% more water to soak into the ground than a regular lawn.

How do they work?

Runoff from small, frequent rain showers is stored in the topsoil. When the topsoil is full, water flows into the pipe and enters the municipal drainage system. Rain water treated by topsoil is cool, clean, and has nutrients that benefit wildlife.

Plants and soil help absorb pollutants, preventing them from washing into watersheds.

Who takes care of the Rain Garden?

Land developers design, build, and maintain rain gardens until the plants are established. Once established, it becomes the responsibility of the adjacent property owner(s). Per Township Bylaw No. 4758  property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their road frontage, including rain gardens.

How do I take care of my Rain Garden?

Like any garden or landscape, rain gardens require some upkeep. While they typically don’t require fertilizers, winter protection, or irrigation, the following maintenance tasks are recommended for an effective and attractive landscape:

  • pick up litter
  • mow grassy strips
  • remove dead plants and broken stems by using clean, sharp tools
  • remove weeds, including the roots and ideally before seeds set
  • check for erosion in the rain garden channel
  • clear sediment and debris from cobbles and in front of drainage pipes
  • apply a layer of topsoil or compost to planted areas as needed
  • water new plants and remember to water all plants as needed

What if I have issues with my Rain Garden?

Contact the Township of Langley. Some issues you may encounter are:

  • blockages that you cannot clear
  • broken culverts or other damage you are unable to repair
  • significant erosion in the rain garden channel
  • spills and pollution that appear to be harmful

For additional information and/or maintenance tips, refer to the documents listed below.

Suggested Plants

Ornamental Grass

  • Sedge (Carex spp.)
  • Northern oat grass (Chasmanthium latifolium)
  • Tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia capitosa 'Goldenhaage')
  • Rush (Juncus effuse)
  • Blue hairgrass (Koeleria glauca)
  • Woodrush (Luzula spp.)
  • Panic grass (Panicum spp.)

Perennials & Groundcover

  • Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Deer fern (Blechnum spicant)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro')
  • Siberian iris (Iris siberica)
  • Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum)
  • Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

Shrubs

  • Low blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)
  • Low cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lowfast)
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
  • Creeping Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa)
  • Red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)
  • Carpet rose or bald hip rose (Rosa spp.)
  • Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum

Trees

  • Redbud (Cercis Canadensis 'Pansy')
  • Crabapple (Malus fusca)
  • Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)
  • Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Land developers design, build, and maintain rain gardens until the plants are established. Once established, the rain garden becomes the responsibility of the adjacent property owner(s). Per Township Bylaw No. 4758 , property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their road frontage, including rain gardens.

Remove by hand. Do not use chemical weed killers, which could enter and pollute the water and natural creek system. Do not use a string trimmer or other machine; it might chop off a desirable plant. Dispose of weeds in your Green Cart.

It's not advised unless a plant has died; rain gardens need plants. Your plants have been chosen because of their environmental properties, removing them may lead to clogged streams and messy ditches.

Definitely! Additional plants will enhance the attractiveness and wildlife value of rain gardens. There are many plants on the market that are suitable for rain gardens – but choose wisely. Avoid plants that grow aggressively and steer clear of invasive plants, which cause more harm than good. For the best advice, speak to a garden specialist at a nursery.

Consider visibility and safety. Choose plants that won't grow higher than one metre when fully mature. Place taller plants away from driveways and intersections so that drivers can see pedestrians and cyclists fully. Choose drought-tolerant plants that don't need much watering.

Absolutely! See above for a few suggestions to help you design and build your own rain garden.

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