“Water-saving gardens use less of this precious resource through appropriate plant choices, rain-conserving features, employing berming and terracing to slow runoff, water-permeable hardscaping and smart irrigation practices,” says Pam Penick, author of The Water-Saving Garden. “Regardless of where you live, saving water is a priority for everyone. Drought is a growing problem in the Southwest and West, but also affects the Midwest, Southeast and even New England.”
“Rain gardens help absorb, retain and use rainfall, preventing it from draining into the sewer,” agrees Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd, with Colorado’s Denver Botanic Gardens. “Rain barrels collect water from gutters and downspouts so there’s more control in time and method of distribution, including perhaps drip irrigation.”
According to the Groundwater Foundation, in Lincoln, Nebraska, rain gardens can remove up to 90 percent of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80 percent of sediments from rainwater runoff. Compared to a conventional lawn, they allow 30 percent more water to soak into the ground.