Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia EcoScapes Sustainable Land Use Program has collaborated with the University of Connecticut and a team representing 13 states to develop a free app to help homeowners, landscapers and contractors design, install and maintain rain gardens.
The app, available for both iPhones and Android smartphones, uses video tutorials, diagrams, text and tools to help users determine the size and placement of their gardens. The app also guides users through selecting appropriate native plants, as well as digging, planting and maintaining gardens. It includes tools for determining soil type, measuring the size of an area that will drain to a garden and managing multiple garden projects.
“Rain gardens play an important role in sustainable landscapes because they collect stormwater runoff from roofs, driveways and yards and allow the water to infiltrate the ground,” said EcoScapes program manager Keren Giovengo. Stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution in waterways and is a cause of erosion, sewer overflows and flooding.
“The gardens typically include native plants that can withstand high levels of moisture and nutrients,” Giovengo said. “Rain gardens create colorful wildlife habitat areas within landscapes.”
EcoScapes is a program of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, units of the UGA Office of Public Service and Outreach. EcoScapes developed and contributed a Georgia rain garden native plant database for the new multi-state app, which was first developed for Connecticut by the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research and Connecticut Sea Grant.
In addition to Connecticut and Georgia, the expanded Rain Garden app now includes data contributed by Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Vermont.
Georgia app users also will find useful soil drainage maps, a Google Maps-based sizing tool and Georgia “Call Before You Dig” contacts. Information on how to use the Rain Garden app is available at http://marex.uga.edu/ecoscapes.
EcoScapes Sustainable Land Use Program
The EcoScapes Sustainable Land Use Program promotes responsible stewardship of Georgia’s natural resources with sustainable land use development and landscaping practices. The EcoScapes program features a rain garden in its demonstration garden site at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s Brunswick Station, 715 Bay St. The garden is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant
The University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant are a state and federal partnership dedicated to conducting research, education and outreach to enhance coastal environmental, social and economic sustainability. As units of the Office of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia, they help improve public resource policy, encourage far-sighted economic and fisheries decisions, anticipate vulnerabilities to change and educate citizens to be wise stewards of the coastal environment. Georgia Sea Grant is one of 33 Sea Grant programs throughout the country housed under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For more information, visit http://marex.uga.edu or http://georgiaseagrant.uga.edu.