The Pacific Northwest is blessed with a vibrant environment, which is home to an abundant variety of plants and trees that have adapted to the unique climate found in this region. By using native plants that can thrive in the ever-present winter rains, and then prosper in the long dry months of summer, your garden can be designed so as to not need any extra watering after the plants have become established after the first year or two. Native plants also attract the local bees, butterflies and birds that will add character and beauty to your home garden, and are beneficial to the long-term green infrastructure of our community.
Soils and Mulch
The working engine of the rain garden is the soil. Different soil layers that are stacked on top of each other are called horizons, and each horizon acts as a sponge to soak up the available rainwater. And like a sponge, only when the soil horizon has become saturated with water does that soil release water to the next lower horizon to absorb.
Cedar Grove Compost, the accepter of Seattle’s compostable material, has created a ‘bio-retention soil’ that has been specifically designed to absorb much more rain water than traditional soils found
in our area. Through the use of this specialized soil and basic geo-engineering your garden can
be built to easily handle the winter rains we know are coming.
Mulch is by definition a layer of shredded tree bark and/or wood that is used as a ground cover in home gardens. A three to four inch layer of mulch is an excellent weed barrier.
There are many different classes of mulch, based upon the quality of the wood/bark used and the size in which the mulch has been chipped down to. The different mulches do come in different textures and colors, which can be used to add another layer to your garden’s design.