Rainscaping offers beauty and function when heavy rains fall

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — In the early hours of July 26, 2022, training thunderstorms formed along Interstate 70 and Interstate 64, dropping more than a half-foot of rain from Montgomery County, Missouri, to St. Clair County, Illinois. The volume of water flooded streams and stormwater drains, causing terrible flash floods.

It’s hard to contain historic rain like that. But Jean Ponzi, the Green Resources Manager with theMissouri Botanical Gardenis passionate about finding a way to protect homes and property when heavy rain falls.

“You create living space. They manage rainwater. You mow less. You just have to win, win, win, all the way around,” says Ponzi.

This is called rainscapingand it’s any combination of native plants, water features, catch basin and permeable paving that catches and keeps rain where it falls.

“This should be designed and built for the topography of the site so that it manages the water in the best possible way,” explains Ponzi.

Urban landscapes are burdened with impervious surfaces such as concrete and asphalt. Rainwater cannot seep into the ground and drains into gullies. Rainscapes, like the large bio-trough in the Missouri Botanical Gardens parking lot, give water a place to drain.

“This is a constructed landscape feature,” says Ponzi of the lush parking lot garden. “It’s designed to catch rainwater from the top of the parking lot that runs down here and into this large feature, rather than going into the sewers.”

Ponzi calls it harnessing the power of plants. They catch water and filter it into the ground.

“Rain gardens, bioswales, rainscaping use native plant species that almost always have really deep root systems. These roots go into the ground and form little tubes, little tunnels.”

If you’re considering remodeling a home or upgrading a company parking lot, consider adding a rainscape feature.

“Rainscape isn’t putting concrete workers out of work. It brings the green industry into play. It brings the power of plants into play. And it brings in the landscapers. And we need all of that, especially when it comes to the crazy rain cycles.”

With the right combination of native plants, catch basin and other activitiesmanage rainwateryou can make your garden or property both beautiful and functional.

“Look at your property. Look at how water follows. Establish a balance. Balance plants, hardscaping, and buildings. And there is wonderful expertise in our community that can help you with that,” says Ponzi.

Learn more:

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/rainscaping-provides-beauty-and-function-when-heavy-rains-fall/ Rainscaping offers beauty and function when heavy rains fall

Sarah Y. Kim

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