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Watershed Steward Finishes Front Yard Rain Gardens

With the help and support of the Watershed Stewards Academy, work on the rain gardens in my front yard is finished.

During the past week I made the final preparations for planting the two rain gardens in my front yard. With the excavation of the red clay soil finally accomplished, the dumpster used to collect the soil was removed from in front of my house. 

With rain once again in the forecast for mid-week, arrangements were quickly made to have the bio-soil mix delivered to replace the clay that had been removed from the two garden sites. The bio-soil could not be mixed and delivered by the supplier if the materials became wet and would have meant a day’s delay had that happened. Fortunately the supplier was able to make the delivery on Tuesday so I could distribute the eight cubic yards of bio-soil between the two gardens.

 I also picked up a half ton of one to three inch diameter river stones on Tuesday morning to construct the inlets.  The purpose of the inlets is to reduce the speed of the water as it flows from the downspouts into the gardens. The river stones were also used to make an over flow outlet for each garden in the event of an excessive rainfall.

Resuming work on Thursday after rain the previous day, I realized that I needed to adjust the height of the berms on both gardens. The height of the berm on the smaller garden was easily corrected by removing a few small scoops of soil from one side of the berm. Correcting the berm height on the larger garden was a bit more challenging due to the slight downhill slope of the garden.

I spent an hour running level lines and re-measuring the height of the berm to determine where I needed to add soil to raise the berm to its proper level so storm water could be contained in the garden. I must confess that several times during the process I muttered to myself about needing a degree in civil engineering to correct the height of the berm. Once I added the extra soil that was needed to raise the height of the berm I was satisfied that garden would function as planned.

Friday was spent receiving a delivery of mulch that would be applied to the gardens, and confirming arrangements I had made with friends who volunteered to help with planting. I had been so concerned with ordering the deliveries for bulk items like the bio-soil and mulch, I had not given a lot of thought to who was going bring gardening tools and snacks. Fortunately my friends worked out the details, and they made sure we had enough tools, coffee, and donuts to successfully complete the job.

On Saturday morning, after everyone had arrived, we were able lay the plants and shrubs out in the gardens according to landscape plan and begin planting. After three hours all the plants were in the ground and the mulch was spread evenly on the soil. Everyone agreed that the gardens looked wonderful.

Finally, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to the program directors, my capstone project group members, and my other friends from the Watershed Stewards Academy who helped make this project a success with their guidance, encouragement, and support.

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