Boston Neck Road, North Kingstown,
Planning, Design and Installation Details
Installed May 2, 2005
following are planning, design and installation details for
the North Kingstown Town Hall Demonstration
Rain Garden. There are several methods to plan and size a
rain garden. Various methods consider the contributing
runoff area, the soil type and slope of the area, and the
amount of runoff you wish to control, among other important
more information about designing a rain garden and a suggested
list, visit our rain garden page
- general information and additional resources.
more information about this demonstration rain garden including
the plant list, photo galleries and color brochure,
to demonstration sites
Prior to installing the rain garden, roof runoff from the southwest
corner downspout of the town hall entered a 4 inch, underground
plastic pipe which discharged directly onto the surface of
After discharging onto Reynolds Street (above) the runoff traveled
towards the front of the photo and eventually made its way
across Reynolds street into a nearby culvert storm drain and
is located on the Town Hall’s gently sloping
front lawn near the corner of Reynolds Street and Boston Neck
Road. The garden is not near a septic system, well, underground
utilities or within ten feet of the building’s foundation.
Furthermore, if the rain garden overflows during a heavy rain
event, it would slowly spill onto the lawn grass and eventually
work its way to the corner of Reynolds Street and Boston Neck
Road, which is where it originally traveled. The existing storm
drain culvert can handle the overflow that might occur. When
siting a rain garden, it is important to consider what happens
if it overflows. The overflow should not cause new problems,
like soil erosion or flooding.
In order to accommodate frequent public
access and pedestrian traffic, it was decided that the runoff
from the roof gutter downspout would be directed
into the garden through an underground 4-inch
would join to the existing underground pipe that discharges
onto Reynolds Street.
In April 2005, a site visit was made to flag the approximate
perimeter of the garden. A soil test was collected and
a couple of test holes were dug to confirm the soil type
to be a well
drained, sandy loam with no compaction problems.
Soils can become
compacted due to heavy foot or equipment/vehicle traffic,
and from recent site development/disturbance. Compacted
can prevent the
from soaking up the water within 4
to 6 hours.
May 2, 2005 installation
approximately 10’ by 16’ (160 square feet)
and six inches deep, this garden is sized to handle the
first one inch of runoff from the roof gutter downspout
and surrounding lawn area that drains naturally into the
garden. The first one inch of runoff typically contains
the greatest amount of pollutants.
A hand push sod cutter (provided by Taylor Rental Center)
was used to remove the grass and root system from the surface
of the new garden. Another option is to place black plastic
over the area a few weeks before installing the garden
to kill the grass and make hand digging easier.
Sizing a rain garden:
garden was sized using a straight calculation of the total
surface area contributing one inch of runoff to the garden.
The roof gutter downspout drains
original town hall building's roof area (approximately 644
square feet; 28' by 23'). It is estimated that an additional
322 square feet of lawn area naturally drains into the rain
garden for a total drainage area of about 944
square feet. One inch of runoff on 944
square feet (944 sq. ft. X 1"/12" per foot)
equals 80.5 cubic feet of water.
A 6-inch design depth was selected. 80.5
cubic feet divided by 0.5' depth = 160 square feet of area
needed. 10 feet by 16 feet allows for a nice crescent
design. Remember, even if your final dimensions are a
bit smaller than those needed to handle the first one inch
runoff, whatever volume of runoff you can retain is better
the sod cutter removed the grass and loosened up the
root zone, the garden was hand dug to about 9 inches deep
middle. This allows for a 6 inch storage depth after 3
of mulch is applied. The soil removed in the digging was
used to create a berm on the lower side of the garden.
A laser level was used to check the grade, ensuring a level,
uniform bottom had been dug. The
rain garden - general information and additional resources page
links to a rain garden manual which provides information
to set stakes and use string and a hand level to accomplish
the same task. Ideally, you want to balance the cut and fill
needed by taking the natural slope in to consideration
when sizing the depth and area of the garden.
While the garden was being dug, crew members located the existing
underground pipe that carried the roof runoff to Reynolds Street.
Y connection was created to divert the runoff to a new
underground pipe (installed perpendicular to the original
pipe) that would
outlet at the surface into the bottom of the rain garden.
This Y connection provides a safety overflow. If the new
pipe were to clogg or a "back-up" of water occurred,
the water would push back through the Y and travel back down
pipe onto Reynolds Street. A section of original underground
pipe was cut to install this Y connection. A clean-out access
was installed to allow for a plumber's snake if necessary.
trench was dug by hand to install the new section of underground
pipe (approximately 50 feet provided by Wickford Lumber Co.).
A string and marker paint was used to locate a straight line
and the sod cutter was used to remove two strips of lawn
grass along this line.
David Renzi sets the bottom of the pipe outlet.
The pipe sections were
from the Y connection to that established outlet elevation
at a certain slope or grade to provide
least 6 inches
In cases where heavy equipment accesses an area, the grade
of PVC pipe used and depth of soil cover would need to be greater.
laser level is used to check the slope or grade of the
pipe was back-filled and covered with the natural soil after
testing all connections for leaks, and the area was re-sodded.
Water was flushed through the pipe with a hose and allowed
to pool for observation.
Planting and mulching the garden
Compost was mixed with the natural soil in the planting
holes, and spread over the entire garden before mulching.
provided by David Renzi, Out in Front Horticulture
provided by the Town of North Kingstown Department of
Public Works; plants provided by Holly Ridge Nursery,
Tree Farm and Gardens, Morningstar Nurseries,
Rose Shack, Schartner Farms, The Farmer's Daughter and
Nurseries. Click here for more information about the rain
Field stone was placed beneath the
pipe outlet and extends into the garden a few feet
to slow the runoff
and protect against
soil erosion. Crushed stone can also be used for
Additional stones were placed in the garden for
design interest. The garden will be monitored
during and after
storm events for signs of erosion or overflow.
The pipe contains an end cap with many small holes that allow the water
to flow and prevent debris and wildlife access.
This demonstration rain garden was made possible through
generous donations by local businesses. Most notably, David
in Front Horticulture and a URI Master Gardener, provided
assistance with the planning and design of the garden. David
donated his services and crew to install the garden with
assistance from additional URI Master Gardener volunteers.
Special thanks to the following local businesses, organizations and individuals:
David Renzi and crew, Out in Front
Town of North Kingstown
Holly Ridge Nursery
Little Tree Farm and Gardens
Taylor Rental Center
The Farmer’s Daughter
Wickford Lumber Co
URI Master Gardener volunteers installed, monitored and maintained the
garden for two years following installation:
David Renzi, Valerie Harvey, Dori Gerhardt, Joy Gerstenblatt, Evelyn Quinn,
and Hilary Sowa
Special thanks to Michael E. Dietz,
Department of Natural Resources Management and Engineering,
University of Connecticut for technical review and assistance.
to demonstration sites