Not All Plants Absorb the Same Amount of Water

Not all trees, plants, and shrubs drink the same amounts of water. Some thrive on the extra volume. If you have drainage issues, these plants can be your friend, and allow more to be absorbed into the ground. Drainage problems can be serious, but there are ways to reduce the impact that they have on your yard and your foundation. Knowing the best trees and plants to absorb excess rain will help you to correct the problem.

When Water Has Nowhere to Go

Every home is built with a drainage plan in mind. This drainage plan is designed to prevent water from pooling near the foundation, or anywhere else in the yard. It’s also designed to prevent water running off onto your neighbor’s property – passing the problem along to them.

When that plan no longer works and water collects on your property, action needs to be taken. There are a variety of yard drainage solutions available to you, but one of the simplest things for a homeowner to do is to add more rain-absorbing plants, and to create a rain garden.

These rain gardens are strategically located to capture runoff and can be filled with deep-rooted thirsty plants to remove excess water more efficiently. They work to increase the amount of water that can be absorbed into the soil and work most efficiently when they are combined with other drainage solutions.

How a Rain Garden Works to Reduce Water Runoff

Homeowners understand that excess water anywhere on your property can be problematic. Residential drainage works in two ways: one is to use the slope of the yard to send water into the street and away from the home. The other is having adequate soil for drainage.

One potential solution to rectify this problem is a rain garden. It’s a depressed area in the landscape that allows the rainwater to collect and seep into the ground. Strategic use of the right grasses and flowers can aid in the process of soaking that excess water into the ground.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, rain gardens have the added benefit of helping to filter out harmful pollutants in the runoff, while providing habitat for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.

Keep in mind, because they will collect water, they shouldn’t be built within 10 feet of your home’s foundation. They should also be located more than 25 feet from any septic tanks or well heads.

Make sure that your rain garden location has at least partial to full sunlight. It’s also important that the water table is at least two feet below where you begin to construct your rain garden. A more complex rain garden with additional drainage solutions built in is also called bioretention. In this type of system, water is more efficiently removed from the property.

A rain garden installation in Deerfield, Illinois.

The Benefits of a Rain Garden

Rain gardens have many benefits, in addition to helping you manage your drainage issues. Below are a few of these benefits:

  • Rain gardens prevent soil erosion (the wearing down of your topsoil that comes with drainage problems) in your yard.
  • They reduce the amount of water that flows to the storm drain, thereby helping to reduce the risk of potential flooding.
  • They can enhance the look of your property and increase your home value.
  • Because rain gardens can serve as a filter, they protect the integrity of our water supply.

These added benefits can make rain gardens an attractive and functional choice for dealing with your excess water and drainage issues.

Choosing the Right Trees, Shrubs, and Plants to Absorb Water

Choosing the right trees, shrubs, and plants needs to be done with water consumption in mind. Some plants drink more water than others. For example, you wouldn’t want to put cactus in a rain garden.

It’s best to start with the right plants for your region. So, let’s look at what works best in the Chicago suburbs.

Pictured: River Birch (left), Dogwood Bush (upper right) and Primrose (lower right)

Best Water Absorbing Trees

  • Red Maple
  • Ash
  • Black Gum
  • White Cedar
  • River Birch

The Best Water-Absorbing Shrubs

  • Inkberry
  • Summersweet
  • Black chokeberry
  • American cranberrybush
  • Spice bush
  • Red twig dogwood
  • Blue elderberry

The Best Water-Absorbing Plants and Flowers

  • Daylily
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Bee balm
  • Globeflower
  • Golden club
  • Japanese iris
  • Primrose

All of these trees, shrubs, and plants can easily be purchased and added to your property. And when the excess rains come, they’ll be able to help you soak up more of the excess water.

Bring in a Landscaper That You Can Trust

A landscaper can help you take a more holistic view of the drainage issue and adding a rain garden. For example, the rain garden may be more effective when it is combined with another of the common drainage solutions, such as a French drain or tiles. An experienced professional landscaping company like Ringers can help you to understand when you may need to combine your rain garden with another form of drainage.

The spring and summer rains in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs can be intense. A landscaper that understands  water drainage and management can help you to move water off your property in an efficient manner.

Ringers is an experienced landscaping company in the Chicago Northwest suburbs with more than a decade of experience. We can help with every phase of drainage issues and rain garden construction. Our experts can help you select the right location for the rain garden, design it, and pick the right plants for your home and your landscaping plans.

To talk with one of our friendly experts about a rain garden or drainage solution for your property, contact us today!