Rain gardens are a fairly new idea started in the late 1980’s by the Maryland Environmental Protection Department. Larger rain gardens are frequently referred to as retention ponds. They are an environmental tool used to protect one of our most important resources…water. They help to prevent the contamination of ground water and streams by trapping pollutants. They also protect a stream’s structure and habitat through their regulation of the amount of water potentially entering the stream during storms and heavy rains.
Rain gardens are usually planted with vegetation that is native to an area, that is deep rooted, and both drought and disease resistant. These plants can also attract and serve as a source of food for birds and butterflies.
Our rain garden can be seen just down the hill to the west of the barn. It was designed by and built in cooperation with the Buncombe County Soil and Water Department and it was their first project of this kind in the county. Our rain garden handles the majority of the water runoff from the barn and event site. This is a very new rain garden and over time it will become more lush as the plants multiply and grow.
Although our rain garden was designed and built for a commercially permitted structure, rain gardens can be installed by individuals in their own back yards. For anyone interested in a closer look we have created a nice path that meanders down to the rain garden. There are some nice areas in and around the rain garden to just sit and relax in another “green space”.
In 2013 we did some grading in order to build a large equipment and hay storage barn. In the process we had a good deal of clay soil that needed to be moved. We had planned to eventually create a small pond on the north central border of the property and this was the perfect opportunity. We went ahead and used this clay soil to create a dam and now have a very nice pond. We built a dock this past year and have now installed locust posts and a railing. We have some landscaping to complete and expect that this area may serve as a wedding ceremony site for some of our smaller weddings. It will also be another potential photo op. for some of our other weddings.