From solar and recycling to water conservation practices, Highline Adventures makes going green a priority. The new rain garden at the Baymont by Wyndham Bozeman is just one of the eco-friendly measures taking place. With the help of a grant, the Baymont by Wyndham is in the process of creating this new addition to the property in conjunction with the Gallatin Watershed Council. Where does the rain garden fit into the other green initiatives? Let’s take a closer look.
Much of the water we use on a daily basis comes from underground aquifers, which need to be replenished. But those aquifers often aren’t a renewable resource. With more and more hard surfaces like concrete covering the earth, it can be difficult for falling rainwater to find a way to seep into the ground. But promoting absorption with landscaping like rain gardens can help.
Rain gardens are designed to capture and filter runoff, allowing more rainwater to soak into the soil. You’ll sometimes hear them called bioretention facilities, since they help reduce runoff and promote plant growth. The channel shape of the garden lets water collect at the low point, with river rocks lining the bottom so water can filter slowly down into the dirt below. Plants keep the soil in place and relish all the collected water. The plants used vary based on position to help the garden thrive, whether it’s raining or not.
In the center, Zone A, it’s best to have plants that do well in standing water, because a successful rain garden will allow water to pool in the central depression. Along the sides of this channel (Zone B), it’s best to cultivate plants that like occasional water. And then in Zone C, around the perimeter, the conditions are right for plants that tolerate a drier environment.
The rain garden site at the Baymont by Wyndham Bozeman is located in the grassy dip on the north side of the hotel. The garden is approximately 120 feet long by two feet wide and two inches deep. The garden starts by the first drain that runs off of the building, and ends to the left of the storm drain, helping collect water off the roof and divert extra as needed. In this case, the location and size of the rain garden mean that no permitting or additional technical expertise is necessary for this project.
Following the natural shape of the landscape, the rain garden’s design mimics a serpentine river channel. Within the rock channel, shrubs take root approximately every other foot. Because shrubs typically need less upkeep, they ideally only need maintenance twice a year, but will benefit from all that collected water year round. The team behind the project selected shrubs based on the City of Bozeman Drought Tolerant Shrubs Guide, the Kalispell Conservation District rain garden plant list, and consultations with experts.
Beyond the plants, the rain garden shopping list is pretty simple. It includes river rocks for that serpentining channel, the tools to get the garden in and maintain it, edging, and landscape fabric to help control weeds. The grant timeline had the project taking place during summer, the perfect time to help the plants take advantage of warm sunlight and nourishing rainfall. Stop by to see all a rain garden can do.
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