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Rain Gardens & Rain Barrels

Rain Gar­dens, also known as bio-retention sys­tems, mimic nat­ural water reten­tion and serve as a stormwa­ter man­age­ment fea­ture, as well as a beau­ti­ful gar­den. They are low lying areas cre­ated to absorb, and fil­ter runoff from roofs, dri­ve­ways and park­ing lots. Rain gar­dens are planted with native plants adapted for high lev­els of water, which help to hold the runoff and fil­ter pol­lu­tants while the runoff water slowly soaks into the ground. Here is a sug­gested list of plants that work well in rain gar­dens.

For more infor­ma­tion about rain gar­den pro­grams in Howard County, visit the CleanWaterHoward.com web­site. There is alot of infor­ma­tion there about poten­tial reim­burse­ments, cred­its and other pro­grams regard­ing rain gardens.

Rain Bar­rels col­lect and store water runoff from roof down­spouts to be reused as needed for land­scape water­ing, car wash­ing, or other out­door uses where non-potable water is accept­able. Because they allow water reuse, rain bar­rels are a prac­ti­cal water con­ser­va­tion tool and reduce our demand on treated tap water. Trust us, your grass and flow­ers won’t notice the dif­fer­ence! (See “Drink­ing Water” to learn where your tap water comes from and how it is treated.)

Howard County gives away bar­rels that can be mod­i­fied to become a rain bar­rel. The bar­rel comes with pre-drilled holes, but addi­tional parts and assem­bly are required. To col­lect your FREE BARREL visit a rain bar­rel work­shop at Alpha Ridge Land­fill. Mas­ter Gar­den­ers will explain how to build the rain bar­rel and answer ques­tions. Work­shops are usu­ally the first and third Sat­ur­day of the month, April through Octo­ber, except some hol­i­days. Click here for a detailed sched­ule and more infor­ma­tion about rain bar­rels. The sched­ule is towards the bot­tom of the handout.

There is usu­ally a Rain Bar­rel Work­shop and give-away every April at Green­Fest. Check hcgreenfest.org for details.

Please see Addi­tional Links below for Rain Bar­rel Instruc­tions and the Rain Bar­rel Pledge Form for Res­i­dents that are used in the workshops.

Green Tip

Use cloth napkins.It’s actually cheaper to throw cloth napkins in the wash than to buy paper ones.