One of the most common mantras of the environmental sustainability movement is “think globally, act locally.” Well it doesn’t get much more local than your own front yard. While the idea of having a lush grass lawn may play well in our heads, in reality grass lawns are a major contributor to water waste. Most lawns are made of grass that is not native to its environment and therefore needs massive amounts of water to stay green and healthy.
However, there is a sustainable alternative to the grass lawn called a “rain garden.” A rain garden is a shallow depression in the lawn in which native floodplain species are planted. These species are far less demanding than the typical species of grass used in most lawns and require far less upkeep after the initial installation. In the video below, Devki Desai, a civil engineering PhD student at the University of Michigan’s Blue Lab explains more about rain gardens and shows you how to make one in your own lawn.