Commission Sponsors Rain Garden and Rain Barrel Workshop

Jim Saxton and rain barrel

Commissioner Jim Saxton explains the rain barrel concept Saturday. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Sue Cuberly of the Rain Garden network conducted a second workshop at Village Hall Saturday. The presentation was sponsored by the Village of Park Forest, the Park Forest Environment Commission and the Garden Club of Park Forest. About 30 people were in attendance.

A rain garden is a shallow, construction depression that is positioned near a rainwater runoff source like a downspout, sump pump, or a hard surface such as a driveway, patio, or sidewalk. Rain gardens typically are planted with deep-rooted native plants or other hearty perennials. The goal of a rain garden is to capture, hold and soak rainwater near the area where it falls and to keep it from running to the storm sewer.

At her last presentation, Cuberly explained the thought behind a rain garden and the reasons many people are choosing a rain garden over a lawn. Saturday, she focused on how to construct a rain garden. Cuberly said the size of the garden depends on the square footage of the roof that will contribute to rain runoff in a particular area of a lawn. Additionally, the size depends on the quality of the soil in the yard. A rain garden in soil that has a higher clay content would have to be larger than a rain garden in soil that is more sandy or loam.

After Cuberly’s presentation, Jim Saxton of the Environment Commission spoke about rain barrels, a different concept the commission is promoting.

“The rain barrel concept has been around for many thousands of years," he said. “You might not have an area where the rain garden will work perfectly, but if you have a downspout that’s discharging water that’s causing a lot of puddling, and you don’t have a good avenue for managing it, you set this so it’s next to where your downspout is. Put the downspout about 12 or 14 inches higher than the barrel, and the barrel catches the water."

Sue Coverly workshop

Workshop participants absorb Sue Cuberly’s rain garden presentation. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Rain barrels have a screen at the top to keep mosquitoes out.

“Just allow the rain water to accumulate," Saxton said. “The water is stored. Several days after it’s rained, you have access to the water for your landscape irrigation. You’re not paying for water.”

Instead of using treated water which is robbed of nutrients, Saxton said a rain barrel provides natural water which is better for plants and lawns.

The Environment Commission plans to have rain barrels available at the Farmer’s Market.

Additional information about rain gardens can be found at the Rain Garden Network’s web site: www.raingardennetwork.com.