There are some new resources on the right hand side of this blog that are worth checking out if you have never seen them before.
Rain Garden: Handbook for Western Washington Homeowners is an excellent guide for planning a rain garden from the WSU Extension Service. Adding water to a landscape is one of the key aspects for wildlife habitat because most species need water for a variety of lifecycle needs. Creating a rain garden instead of a pond is a way to provide water while at the same time helping reduce the impact of stormwater runoff. In the urban setting this is very important because with the large amount of impervious surfaces and lawns the rain water moves very fast through the landscape and into the storm drains. In severe rain this can cause flooding. By disconnecting your downspout you can help slow down the water and provide habitat at the same time.
This handbook provides all the information you need to create a rain garden including soil analysis, planning a location, appropriate plants and how to install it.
There is also a new guide from Oregon called The Oregon Rain Garden Guide with similar information. Check it out as well.
Gardening for Life is a publication from Seattle Audubon that is a multiple chapters with a variety of information. Chapter three has some valuable information about designing habitat in backyards. The range of information includes avoiding pesticides, using native plants, planning for water, incorporating habitat elements such as dead wood and leaves and even providing nest boxes. There is a good set of resources at the end and the second chapter has some good case studies about people and organizations that have created habitat successfully.There is also an included plant list.
Seattle Audubon Native Plant List (PDF) is another great resource. There are pages of plants including trees, shrubs and groundcovers with growing information as well as wildlife values for each plant.
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