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    Established in September 2002Rain Garden 1

    The River of Stars Rain Garden was the City of Grand Rapids’ and the Environmental Service Department’s first rain garden. There was a growing maintenance problem with this location and lawn work was becoming impossible. The surrounding pavement and half of the nearby building’s rooftop drained into this area of grass. Standing water and mud were causing major complications with the mowing that needed to be done, not to mention the mosquitoes! The problem was obvious and the solution could not have been more attractive or natural.

    Rain Garden 3The Environmental Services Department with the assistance of Rain Gardens of West Michigan and RiverMaid Design, planted the 25’ by 35’ rain garden. The plants used were mostly mature full sized perennials and plugs (1 year old perennials). A combination of native prairie species, grasses and other landscape plants make this garden as beautiful as it is functional. River of Stars is a popular location for lunch breaks, as city employees sit by the white arbor and take in a little peace and quiet.

    Rain Garden 2This rain garden serves its purpose of storm water management, but it also serves as a natural habitat for local wild life. One can often take in the wonderful vocals of a native song bird or enjoy the nose twitches of a friendly rabbit. The grasses plume with seeds that can be used in the nests of birds and we all know how butterflies and bees enjoy the flower’s sweet nectar.

    Planting a rain garden does not require professional assistance. If there is a low spot in your yard that has been bothersome, make it beautiful. Visit raingardens.org for some helpful tips and some extraordinary success stories.