IN THE YARD: Building a ‘rain garden’ to beautify poorly-drained areas

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 12:14 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Summer storms mean summer runoff and in the wetter weather pattern we’ve been stuck in, the extra water may be hurting your plants.

Heather Harrison, owner of the Pooler Plant Pick-Up Station, says, “A lot of the customers in this area have problems with runoff. So, with the runoff what you want to do is try to collect it in one area and have it drain at least ten feet away from the house.”

Once you have that drainage area, it is time to soften it up and make it beautiful.

“And then you plant plants in the area that are going to like the water such as agapanthus is a great one. Day lilies would do well. You know, carriage grasses would do well. Irises would do well. And you can actually have a lot of colors and you can actually have a lot of pollinators in those areas”, says Harrison.

Even these plants may like a little bit of dry time.

But, there may be some parts of your yard that are almost constantly wet. Even in these areas, there are some options.

“Elephant ears. Not the big elephant ears, unless you want those. But, not the big ones. But, they have different varieties now that they’ve engineered that will stay smaller and more compact. Agapanthus is another great option. These Philodendron here would do fantastic. You can also do different types of Aztec grasses and some carriage grasses and Bulbine that would actually do well in those areas,” Harrison said.

Considering the amount of water that may be moving through your rain-garden, adding a layer of mulch above the top soil will be a good thing.

“Another thing that you want to use in that area is most-likely a shredded mulch, versus a pine bark. Sometimes in these wet areas, pine bark may move away. Pine straw, as you may know, can blow in the wind. So, a shredded mulch – you can do the brown mulches, the cypresses,” explained Harrison.

Next time you look at your annual muddy mess, remember that all is not lost. Just find plants and create an environment that thrive in wetter conditions.

Happy gardening!

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