A rain garden is a landscaped depression that captures rainwater runoff from roofs, driveways, streets, or parking lots. Runoff captured in a rain garden is temporarily ponded before infiltrating and percolating down through the natural soils. This allows for plants to use the water and for pollutants to be filtered out. Rain gardens can come in many shapes and forms to add an attractive feature to a landscape while also serving a real function helping to manage and treat stormwater runoff.
Installing a rain garden helps restore a landscape's ability to manage water more sustainably. Historically, the prairies and savannas of Iowa held and infiltrated most rainfall, and surface runoff was rare. Rainfall was absorbed and moved down through the soil to become groundwater flow. Cool, clean groundwater fed and maintained rivers, streams, wetlands, and lakes.
Today our impervious and compacted urban surfaces shed dirty runoff with almost every rain. This dirty runoff goes to receiving streams, which causes water quality problems and contributes to flooding. Rain gardens help reduce runoff and protect water quality.
Rain Gardens in Our Community
Within the City of Ankeny several rain gardens have already been installed in our Parks and by residents of our community. These rain gardens slow down and infiltrate stormwater helping to protect our local waterways. Rain gardens provide functional water quality benefits, but also add beautiful landscaping features to our community and neighborhoods full of flowering plants and grasses native to Iowa adding great habitat for pollinator species.
The City of Ankeny Stormwater Best Management Practices Reimbursement Program can provide partial funding of the installation of a rain garden on private property. Contact the Stormwater Division at 515-963-3550 for more information.