WaterRICH is a RiverLink Initiative to assist homeowners in understanding rainwater management. Through the program, RiverLink provides an on-line resource designed specifically for smaller sites and private individuals. The WaterRICH program is an easily accessible, comprehensive resource for understanding how to manage water in the residential setting. WaterRICH will teach you how to harvest rainwater, create garden features which promote water seeping into the soil (stormwater features), and reduce outside water needs. The Program offers hands-on workshops that teach site analysis and introduce design tools needed to select water quality and infiltration mechanisms to use right in your backyard.
The WaterRICH Program is a program built to help residents understand how they can be good stewards of our natural resources. The goal of the project is to increase infiltration of stormwater into the ground and the water table, reduce the use of potable water, improve water quality in the French Broad River Watershed and reduce pressure on the existing stormwater system.
See what WaterRICH can do for you:
Understanding your landscape and how water flows across your property is the first step. Start by downloading and completing the Site Inventory Questionnaire. This will help determine the best places to build a rain garden on your property.
Once you determine the options for locations of rain gardens, you will need to conduct a percolation test. This is a simple way to determine if the soil in the selected areas will drain well enough to construct a rain garden. Follow the steps below or download instructions to conduct a Infiltration Test Here.
|Drain Time||Appropriate BMP|
|< 12 hours||Quick-draining rain garden|
|12 hours—3 days||Standard rain garden|
|> 3 days||Consider a wetland garden or contact a professional|
Typically rain gardens and other water quality features in landscapes are sized to capture and treat the first inch of rain. Although there are certain times, like wet basements, where a homeowner will want to capture more than the first inch of rain fall, therefore knowing the amount of rainwater that drains from and through your property helps determine the size of rain gardens or the number of rain barrels you will need at your site. The simple 10-10-10 rule will determine the area necessary to capture 1” of rain fall if the rain garden is 10” deep; this should be your minimum size. Use the formula below or download our Stormwater Calculator here.
At my house I have 1000 sq. ft. of impervious area that drains to the area I want to install a rain garden. It consists of my driveway and half of the roof, which drains on this side of the house, along with about 200 sq. ft. of landscaped pervious area.
EDA (sq. ft.) = Impervious area (sq. ft.) + 10% of Pervious area
EDA = 1000 + (200 x 0.10)
EDA = 1000 + 20
EDA = 1020
EDA x 0.10 = Rain garden Area
1020 x 0.10 = 102 sq. ft.
A rain garden a landscaped bowl-like depression that captures and infiltrate water into the soil. To construct your rain garden define the area and edge of garden, then excavate 12” of soil in this area, sloping down from the edges. Construct the water inflow; this can be an above ground swale that directs water over land to the rain garden or through an underground 4” or 6” plastic corrugated pipe, often from downspouts. Make sure inflow is 8” higher than the over flow (out flow). If using corrugated pipe the bottom of the pipe is a minimum of 6” above the out flow.
Download rain garden construction instructions.
Download the plant list here! This is a list of native species which can be planted within the rain garden of other water quality feature. These plants are suited for wet areas and help breakdown pollutants within the rain water runoff.
Proper maintenance and up keep of your rain garden or water quality feature is critical to the long term success of your landscape.
Many residents have site constraints or specific water issues in which a rain garden is not suitable as an independent garden. Below are a variety of garden styles to serve as alternatives to a Rain Garden. As well as, water harvesting, earthworks and conveyance mechanisms used in conjunction with these gardens.
WaterRICH workshops and free informational presentations will be posted on RiverLink’s Calendar as they become available. Check out the calendar or sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter here for updates.
Frequently Asked Questions: