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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

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.