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Stormwater Solutions for Homeowners Fact Sheet: Rain Gardens

Find fact sheets on techniques to control runoff and reduce stormwater contamination, developed by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

The Stormwater Solutions for Homeowners fact sheets—developed by CZM as part of the Coastal Water Quality Program—give property owners a variety of options to effectively reduce runoff pollution and other stormwater impacts to local waters.

    Fact Sheet Summary

    rain garden cover

    This fact sheet explains how rain gardens, which are specially designed and planted depressions, reduce stormwater impacts. Rain gardens allow collected water to be taken up by plants or slowly filtered through the ground, reducing the amount of water running off site. Amended rain garden soils can also remove pollutants before they reach groundwater or flow to coastlines and local waterbodies. Rain gardens are a great choice for most properties and make an excellent runoff-control alternative for lawn areas.

    For the complete PDF version of the fact sheet, download Stormwater Solutions for Homeowners Fact Sheet: Rain Gardens (5.7 MB).

    Other Available Stormwater Solutions Fact Sheets

    Fact sheets are currently available on these techniques:

    • Vegetated Buffers - Trees, shrubs, high grasses, perennials, and other vegetation can be strategically planted to help slow, capture, and filter runoff and reduce stormwater impacts.
    • “Green” Lawn and Garden Practices - Environmentally friendly yard care methods—such as planting native species, conserving water, and reducing fertilizer and chemical use—help to protect water quality and can save time and money.
    • Vegetated Swales - Vegetated swales are channels with moisture-loving plants and amended soils that intercept, treat, and slowly convey stormwater runoff to where it can be effectively infiltrated. 
    • Reducing Impervious Surfaces - Impervious surfaces (such as asphalt driveways and concrete patios) allow greater volumes of stormwater to flow quickly offsite, carrying contaminants and causing local flooding and erosion. Replacing impervious surfaces with gravel driveways, planted areas, and other options that infiltrate or absorb water can significantly reduce stormwater problems.
    • Minimizing Contaminants - Household contaminants—such as oil from automobiles, toxins from pesticides and cleaning products, and bacteria from pet waste and septic systems—can contribute to stormwater pollution. But simple changes at home, from reducing fertilizer use to properly disposing of batteries and other hazardous household products, can help keep inland and coastal waters clean.
    • Preventing Erosion - Stormwater can carry sediments that fill storm drains, obstruct channels, smother wetlands, and cause other water quality and habitat impacts. Erosion and sediment controls can help slow and redirect stormwater, reducing erosion and capturing sediments and attached pollutants on site.

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