Hear What Rain Gardeners Have to Say

Sally – from Eatonville, Washington

Sally is a school teacher at Columbia Crest Elementary, where Stewardship Partners installed a rain garden in 2008. Inspired by this project, she organized five neighbors to install rain gardens in 2010. Sally has since gone on to expand her positive impact by replacing part of her lawn with a permeable walkway, and installing a rain barrel.

“I had no awareness of what happened to my stormwater after it rolled down the street. Out of sight, out of mind. I was initially attracted to rain gardens for self-serving reasons – I wanted to deal with drainage problems that left my lawn brown in patches, and who can turn down free landscaping? But by building and living with a rain garden, I’ve realized the rain garden is also good for the Mashel River. The educational component to this project was so enlightening that it created a new passion for me to share these environmental concerns. I hope to witness the return of salmon in the local streams and to know I had a small part of that success story.

“I DO NOT consider myself a gardener, now or ever. We definitely like the look of our front yard more now, and appreciate that it is less maintenance … I also know my neighbors better now; the act of soliciting the rain garden idea and seeking collaboration motivated me to go door to door … I have since made other changes to my home to capture rainwater coming off my roof – including a large 50-gallon rain barrel, a rock path to eliminate grass. I eventually want to eliminate all of our lawn grass, and replace it with native plants and mulch. I am conscientious about where we wash the cars now, knowing that polluted runoff flows directly into the river without filtration. We are more thoughtful about the fertilizers we use on our grass in the back of the house after the natural yard care class offered us through the rain garden connection … I’d recommend anybody to pursue rain gardens with Stewardship Partners – it was most definitely worth it.”

Steve – from Puyallup, Washington

Steve is the original Rain Garden Champion, recruiting six of his neighbors for the first cluster in 2009. His project created so much excitement that the Department of Ecology has agreed to fund additional rain gardens on his block – along with pervious asphalt and other street improvements.

“I enjoy my yard more, receive compliments on the garden, and know my neighbors better after this rain gardens cluster project with Stewardship Partners. I spend less than 30 minutes on maintenance each month, and have had no out-of-pocket expenses. Marilyn (the rain garden designer) made me feel very comfortable from the beginning, so I did not have any concerns. I decided to install a rain garden for several reasons: Free landscaping, to help the environment, to improve my home’s appearance, to solve a flooding problem and to raise the economical value of my home.”

Stefanie – from Burien, Washington

Stefanie started researching rain gardens after purchasing a house where water flowed from the yard into her front door. She gradually convinced five of her neighbors to join the effort by going door-to-door and hosting an informal get-together at her home.

“I am real interested in starting this rain garden as well as putting more plants around our front and back yard but I really have no knowledge or experience except for a few houseplants! … I’ve also been reading about French drains, dry beds and other ways to divert the water runoff to the garden areas … Beyond solving a flooding problem, I really appreciate the landscaping assistance and knowledge. I just bought my house this year, and I think it will be fun to work on this project with folks from my own community. I have been trying to recruit some neighbors that live nearby to do this as well. It has given me a chance to meet them.”

Bert – from Puyallup, Washington

Bert received a free rain garden in 2009, and is now helping Stewardship Partners recruit more neighbors in 2011. Her garden is the most colorful one yet!

“I have always loved gardening, but this project taught me about sustainability. I became more aware of stormwater runoff, and how one person or one household can make a difference. We liked our rain garden so much that we invested $500 in a second rain garden for our back yard, and have started composting. Our house now has 100 percent of the rain runoff our roof going into the gardens. I love watching the changes that go on with the rain gardens, and we know our neighbors much better. We have spent maybe two hours a month on maintenance. I installed the rain garden to raise the economical value of my home, and to help the environment.”