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Good Question: What is a rain garden?

This time of year many folks are busy tending to their backyard gardens.

Many of those gardens are full of vegetables and flowers, but there is a different type of garden you can plant that will help the environment every time it rains.

Good Question: What is a rain garden?

Driving down busy Southland Drive in Lexington its easy to over look a garden growing right next to the hustle and bustle, its not your typical garden though.

"Rain gardens are very adaptable, you can see them in downtown urban conditions, you can see them in more commercial applications like this one," said Scott Southall with CDP Engineers.

In fact, the rain garden built in front of the Oleika Shrine is one of 96 registered rain gardens across the Bluegrass.

In recent years Southall, a landscape architect says he's designed at least 25.

Rain gardens aren't for growing rain, instead you'll find native plants like grasses and flowers growing in them.

The plants are not necessarily for looks, but rather purpose.

"A rain garden is part of a green infrastructure strategy that helps slow storm water run off and filter that storm water run off before it gets into our storm water system and also into our streams," said Southall.

These gardens help collect unwanted stuff we see like trash and debris, but also what we don't see.

"They also filter the non point source pollutants, those things we really can't see or things you see when there is a film or sheen of oil after a heavy rain. These are the types of things rain gardens can help collect," said Southall.

Southall says the average rain garden can cost $7 to $15 per square foot to build.

For more information about building your own rain garden or to register one, you can go to www.bluegrassraingardenalliance.org.


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