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Rain Gardens

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Have you ever wondered what to plant in that low spot in your backyard where the grass won't grow because water puddles there after it rains? Or how to fix the erosion gully where rainwater drains away from one of your downspouts? Try planting a raingarden. Raingardens are an easy, attractive, and low-maintenance landscape solution that helps slow stormwater runoff and filters pollutants from the air, yard, and streets before they reach streams, rivers, and lakes.

Raingarden Grant Program

Savage residents who are interested in creating a raingarden, may be eligible for funding from the Scott Soil and Water Conservation District (Scott SWCD) and the City of Savage. Grant funds are limited and cannot be provided for projects that have started prior to application approval. To apply for grant funding:

  1. Prior to constructing your raingarden contact both the Scott SWCD and the City of Savage to schedule free site visits about your potential raingarden project:
  2. Submit a project plan and cost estimate for review and approval prior to installation. Design, materials and installation must comply with Scott SWCD requirements and City ordinances, and must include an infiltration test, which is a simple, no-cost test performed by the applicant.
  3. Applicants must attend a pre-approved raingarden workshop.
  4. Once your raingarden is finished, notify both Scott SWCD and the City of Savage, and provide a photo of the completed project, along with copies of all paid receipts for materials used.
  5. Scott SWCD incentives are available up to a maximum of $750 based on square footage. City of Savage grants are for reimbursement of allowable materials cost and expenses up to $250, is limited to one per resident, and may be combined with the incentive available from Scott SWCD.

Infiltration Test Procedure

  1. Dig a hole approximately 8 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep in the proposed rain garden area, preferably starting at the bottom elevation of the proposed rain garden.
  2. Fill hole to the top with water and let water soak into the soil for at least two hours in order to saturate the soil.
  3. Refill the hole with water until it reaches about one inch from the top. Mark the starting level of the water with a toothpick or stick. Record the time.
  4. Measure how far the water level drops for at least three known time intervals. If you have sandy soils, you might record the water level after 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 1 hour. If you have clay soils and the water level goes down slowly, you may have to record the water levels after one, two and four hours. The slowest infiltration rate you measure will be the design infiltration rate you use in the rain garden sizing calculation (c).

Source: Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens

Additional Resources