Meet your Chicagoland Stormwater Storage Requirements with a rain garden!

Drawing a Line in the Soil: Why Stormwater Professionals Fight Over Rain Garden Design

Question on Rain Garden SoilsWant to have some fun?

Lock an engineer, landscaper, hydrologist, and conservationist in a room and tell them they can’t leave until they agree on a rain garden design.

Then sit back and enjoy the fireworks as these professionals devolve into a lot of finger-pointing and name-calling.

Why the fighting?

That’s easy, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Continue reading

Posted in Rain Garden Soils | 13 Comments

Rain Gardens: Hydrology is back, baby!

Old time rain water harvestingRain gardens are one of the hottest gardening trends of the 21st century.

Which isn’t that surprising when you consider it was the only gardening trend prior to the 20th century.

That’s right.

The modern rain garden, with it’s concept of designing a garden around rain, was just a garden to anyone older than our great-grandparents. Continue reading

Posted in Stormwater Issues | 8 Comments

A Paved New World: How Residential Development is Creating an Impervious Planet

Residential Development Rain Gardens NeededAny experienced landscaper can tell you what kind of soils you have without even getting out of their truck.

How can we do this?

We use clues such as the maturity of the surrounding trees or the presence of any sudden topographic changes, but mostly we use the time period the house was built as our best indicator.

Why would this tell us about the soils? Continue reading

Posted in Stormwater Issues | 10 Comments

Where to Buy Native Plants for Your Rain Garden

Butterfly Weed and Wild ColumbineAfter expounding on the many ecological benefits that native plants have not just in rain gardens, but anywhere in the landscape, I received some enthusiastic responses from individuals wondering where they could find natives.

Hmm…I hadn’t thought about that.

Native plants are readily available to contractors like myself, but this is not the case for the typical homeowner who wants to put in just a few natives.

It then occurred to me that it isn’t just awareness of natives that limits their use; it is their availability!

To help with this, I have compiled my lists of different native plant sources and broken them down into the following categories: Continue reading

Posted in FAQs, General Information, Native Plants | 20 Comments

What Does 25,000 Gallons of Green Infrastructure Look Like?

North Barrington rain garden filled with water green infrastructure It’s been a pretty momentous week for Green Infrastructure here in Chicagoland.

First, Cook County passed their much anticipated Watershed Management Ordinance in an effort to prevent increased flooding through the use of Green Infrastructure.

Second, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced $50 Million in funding for Green Infrastructure in the city over the next 5 years.

With all this talk of Green Infrastructure, I thought it might be helpful to put a face on this abstract concept with an example of Green Infrastructure that I installed earlier this year which captures 25,000 gallons of stormwater annually.
Continue reading

Posted in Rain Garden Showcase | 2 Comments