This innovative project turned the concept of fixing a backyard drainage problem, on its head. A flat area in the homeowner’s backyard held surface water, indicating a seasonally high water table and posing a challenge to implementing a typical rain garden plant palette.
The proposed solution: make it wetter! The project piped several of the home’s downspouts to a modified catch basin. The initial flush passes through the filter then enters a series of sub-surface detention chambers placed adjacent to the ponding area. Runoff in the chambers can slowly percolate into the sub-grade under the ponding area, irrigating plants from the bottom up during drier periods. Then, during wet seasons when the chambers are full, gravity forces excess water up and out of the top of the catch basin to fill the ponding area, allowing it to function like a traditional rain garden.
The net effect was a series of vernal pools. This approach, combined with a unique native plant palette specifically designed to thrive in the wet conditions, brought an exciting mix of wildlife to the backyard, including monarch butterflies, dragonflies, tadpoles, and wood frogs.