Rain Gardens


Photo credit: Detroit Storm Water Hub, Viola Liuzzo Park, 20053 Winthrop St, Detroit, MI

Do You Have Areas in Your Landscaping That Collect Water?

Native Plants to the Rescue!

Planting a native plant bioswale or a rain garden can help reduce flooding. These plantings also reduce water pollution by directing water into the ground with the deep and dense root systems of native plants. The deeper the roots, the deeper the water will go. Their roots also can clean the toxins in the soil before they get into the watershed.

See below for the difference between native and non-native plant roots:

Image courtesy of  Clinton River Watershed Council: Homeowner Resources

A Watery Place

The Great Lakes and surrounding land make up the largest fresh water system in the world, and Michigan is right in the center of it. Most of us in Oakland County live relatively close to a waterway, lake, pond or wetland. This may mean wet areas in your yard and even the possibility of water leaking into your house. Native plantings can help!

Why So Much Flooding?

Yearly rainfall fluctuates, but has been increasing overall in recent years. At the same time, development continues to increase. Pavement and roof-tops usually block water from seeping into the ground which causes more rain water to runoff into storm drains. Storm drains run directly into waterways. In a heavy rain event our storm drain systems become overloaded and dump too much too fast into creeks and streams. This is a common cause of flooding.

Additionally, all of this run-off brings pollutants directly into waterways with very little, if any, filtering through plant roots and the ground. 


What is a Bioswale?

 A bioswale is a buffer zone between your home and the place where water runs to and collects. It is a densely planted band of native plants that absorb water and direct it into the ground before it goes where it isn’t welcome. This helps to manage surface water flow and replenish groundwater that wells depend on. The plant roots also filter pollutants out of the water that runs off of roadways. They can be planted in drainage ditches and along shorelines.

Image from Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council 

What is a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is similar in function, but may be designed with more aesthetics in mind. See the info graphics below, courtesy of our local Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC) for more details about the placement and design of a native plant rain garden.


What Does This Have To Do With Pollinators??

Our native pollinators need native plants. Our problem with flooding can be helped with native plantings and thoughtful design. Native plants are good for pollinators and for people!

More Resources for Rain Gardens: 


Landscaping for Water Quality: Garden Designs for Homeowners, 3rd Edition, by State of Michigan-DEQ, Van Buren Conservation District and Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, April 2014. 



Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes: Guide to Rain Gardens