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Southern Plains Regional Reports

Rain Gardens for the Southern Plains

These water-wise gardens allow you to grow new and interesting plant species while taking advantage of natural rainfall

Rain gardens naturally conserve and filter water. Photo: Karen Beaty

Mention rain gardens, and many folks imagine lush pondside displays. This type of garden, with permanent standing water, is more accurately called a wetland garden or water garden. A rain garden is a garden bed located in a depression in a landscape that only holds water for up to about 48 hours after a rain event. Rain gardens, in addition to their natural beauty, serve a number of interesting and valuable purposes in a landscape, including water conservation, water quality protection, and flood and erosion mitigation. The first function, water conservation, is perhaps the most intuitive to understand because the plants in a garden bed that collect water runoff are naturally going to need less supplemental water. And rain gardens don’t just collect rainwater runoff; they filter it. After water is collected, it is slowly absorbed by the soil, which acts as a filter for pollutants, sediment, and debris carried…

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