LESLIE: Well, the early part of this spring was so wet, I mean we heard about widespread flooding pretty much from every part of the country.
TOM: It was quite a mess; certainly on the east coast and in many other areas as well. And it all comes down to how do you handle all that water runoff. To get some tips so it doesn’t happen again, it’s our friend Kevin O’Connor and landscaping expert Roger Cook from This Old House.
And guys, around a house all that water can add up quite quickly.
KEVIN: That’s right. During a heavy rain, your roof, your driveway, your walkways, they can all channel that rain water into a concentrated torrent of water and managing the runoff, well, it can be a real challenge. It’s not good for your yard and cities and towns, they want to manage the storm water in an environmentally responsible way.
ROGER: That’s right. For homeowners, it’s so important to keep that water away from their foundation where, invariably, it’ll end up in their cellar. For municipalities, it’s important to keep storm water out of the sewer system. Most homeowners just extend their gutters, downspouts away from the side of the house and let the water run away, causing some erosion. A better solution is to use a dry well to disperse water into the ground or use a rain barrel or cistern to collect gray water that you can later use to irrigate the landscape.
KEVIN: A rain garden is a pretty good idea. You’ve done that a number of times.
ROGER: A rain garden is a great idea. It’s nothing more than a shallow swale that’s vegetated. The water runs in, slowly percolates down into the ground and doesn’t cause any runoff. And you can watch a step-by-step video on how to build a rain garden on ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: Now what makes a rain garden?
ROGER: Rain. (Tom laughs)
KEVIN: And a garden.
TOM: What’s different about a rain garden compared to other types of gardens?
ROGER: A rain garden is designed with specific plants that’ll tolerate wet and dry conditions because you’re going to have a fluctuation as the water comes in and then slowly goes down into the ground. But those plants also clean that water so there are no pollutants getting into the ground.
TOM: A great natural way to filter the water and make sure it doesn’t erode the soil or end up in your basement.
ROGER: Think of it as sort of a mini-wetlands.
TOM: Makes sense.
Roger Cook, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. And Kevin, you too.
ROGER: It’s been fun.
KEVIN: Always a pleasure.
LESLIE: Great tips, guys. You know, and after all that rain we had this spring, those ideas will really help a lot of people, I’m sure.
TOM: Absolutely. And for more great ideas, you can watch Kevin and Roger each week on TV’s This Old House. This Old House is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better.