Beautify your yard while reducing stormwater run-off

Did you know that many sources of water pollution can originate in our own backyards? When rainwater falls, it hits the hard surfaces all around us such as roofs, lawns, sidewalks and driveways, and runs into streams or storm sewers that drain directly to the lake. This means much of the fertilizer and pesticides along with litter, pet waste, and non-biodegradable cleaners can drain into our streams and lake with each rain event. Recent studies indicate that up to 70% of all lake and stream pollution comes from residential yards.

What can you do to help? According to Amy Roskilly from the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, there are actually a number of things that you can do to help reduce the run off of storm water from your property.

  1. Plant local, native plants. Because native plants are well-adapted to our soil and climate, they require minimal maintenance once established. They also have deep root systems which help retain water and reduce storm water run-off. Some recommended native plants include: Blazing star, cardinal flower, common ninebark, Joe-Pye weed, New England aster, purple coneflower, red maple, scarlet beebalm, wild geranium, swamp milkweed, switchgrass, trumpet creeper, and winterberry. An added benefit is that these native species will attract birds and butterflies to your yard.
  2. Build a rain garden. A rain garden is a beautiful landscaping feature that is dug out to form a depression and filled with perennial native plants that don’t mind being in water. A properly designed rain garden will only retain water for a maximum of 48 hours. A rain garden can feature a selection of native plants of varying sizes, colors, and bloom time to provide for beautiful flowers all season. A rain garden can also be enhanced with natural stone.
  3. Install a rain barrel. Rain barrels are designed to easily hook into your gutter system and collect rainwater. The rainwater is then used to water flowers and other plants in your yard. Rain barrels are a great way of reducing the stormwater run-off into the streams and lakes, and providing your plants with water that is naturally soft and chlorine-free.

Fall is a great time to plant native plants, install a rain barrel, or dig out and plant a rain garden. To learn more about these topics, please register for the following events:

Rain Barrel Workshop:

Wednesday, August 31, 6-7:30 p.m. The workshop is $60 which includes a rain barrel and diverter kit. When you leave this workshop, you will have a rain barrel that is ready to install at your home.

Rain Garden and Native Plants Seminar:

Wednesday, September 28, 6:30-8 p.m. The workshop is free. You will learn the proper techniques for building a beautiful rain garden in your yard. You will also get some tips on the best native plants to choose for your rain garden or yard.

About the Workshops:

Both workshops are presented by Amy Roskilly of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, sponsored in partnership with the Bay Village Green Team. The workshops are open to the public. Families are welcome!

Location: Bay Community House, 303 Cahoon Rd.

To register: Please call Amy Roskilly at 216-524-6580, ext. 22, or email

Both workshops are open to the public. Families are welcome!

For additional upcoming green events, seminars, and tours, please visit the Events section at

Brenda OReilly

Brenda O'Reilly is Co-Chair of the Bay Village Green Team

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Volume 3, Issue 15, Posted 3:35 PM, 07.26.2011