I have been cutting grass since I was 12 and you could say I am a little partial to the stuff.
Turf is often viewed as enemy number one by environmental conservation groups, but it isn’t the turf that they should dislike; it is how most of us maintain the more than 40 million acres of turf in America.
If we could live with a few more “weeds” or use more life-friendly inputs, turf grass might be viewed as I view it; a great plant for certain applications.
One of these applications is as an overflow area for your rain garden.
By designing the lowest area of your rain garden as your deep-rooted, diverse, preferably native, plant group, and then incorporating a turf grass area that is sloped to drain into this lower area, you are creating a rain garden where the rain water will fill up the lower diverse plantings area first, then up and over the turf grass, and then after the rain has stopped, the rain water will recede back into the diverse planting area as it infiltrates the soil and is absorbed by the roots.
The diverse lower area will be the first area to fill up with water, and the last area to drain the water, leaving the turf with standing water for a limited time during larger rain events.
This rain garden design will allow you to create a rain garden with a large Design Volume Capacity that will also serve a recreational purpose when it is not in use; a great option for small lots, especially for households with children.
There is also a cost saving component as the turf area should decrease the costs of installation per cubic foot of volume, as installing grass seed is usually less expensive than installing planted beds.