What is a rain garden and what are the benefits of using one on my property in Washington DC or Columbia MD?
A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. The garden should be positioned near a runoff source like a downspout, driveway or sump pump to capture rainwater runoff and stop the water from reaching the sewer system. Rain gardens increase your contribution to preserving clean rainwater, creating habitat and preventing local flooding and water pollution.
What is a dry well?
A dry well is large hole that is dug in the ground at a low spot on the property (typically 3-4' wide by 3-4' deep; but can be larger), that is lined with filter fabric and filled with 2-3" drainage stone, then covered with approximately 2-3" of soil and topped with grass seed or sod. The dry well allows excess water to slowly soak into the ground, dissipating the excess runoff into the groundwater. Typically, gutters or swales are connected to the dry wells to contain and dissipate the excess rain water.
What is a swale?
A swale is a low area or trench of land that can refer to a natural landscape feature or a human-created one. Swales are designed to slow and capture runoff by spreading it horizontally across the landscape, facilitating runoff infiltration into the soil. Without swales, rain water from hills or gutters could form gullies that erode the soil away. Swales catch water and direct it to where it's needed, which is in the soil. Instead of water running off or pooling above ground, swales direct it downward into an underground reservoir. As a result, swales can be turned into rain gardens with the application of native, deep rooted plants that have been placed inside and along the sides of the swale area.
What is a catch basin?
A catch basin is a type of box, available in various sizes (between 6" to 3') and materials that is placed in the ground near areas of standing water to help facilitate proper water drainage and avoid property damage. The top of the box features a removable grate through which excess water and debris drain into the underground box. The solid particles then settle at the bottom of the box while the water collects until it reaches the outlet trap. The outlet trap is connected to an underground piping system that exits at daylight. Once the solids accumulate and account for one-third of the basin's contents, you must remove the top grate and clean out the catch basin so it can continue to function properly.
Is drainage work expensive?
Drainage work can be expensive depending on the situation and how long the issue has been occurring. Depending on the severity of the situation and your budget, there are 2 main types of solutions available for locations in Maryland and Washington DC.
*If there is water pooling in certain areas after a heavy rainfall: You can either have drainage pipes, a swale, or some other applicable solution, to divert and redirect the water to a more appropriate area.
*If the problem is more severe, like water in the basement: There is the option of a more permanent (and more expensive) solution of digging the soil away from the foundation of the home, installing a waterproof membrane to the foundation, then installing drainage pipes to exit at daylight. This means that the water will exit the pipe and spill out onto the lawn.