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Do you need a rain garden?

Our house was built without rain gutters, a fact Jim bemoaned from the moment we moved in 27 years ago, I liked the way the house looked without the obtrusive metal gutters and downspouts, but looks aren’t everything, and over time, the wooden windowsills and frames began to rot. We talked for years about installing gutters, and finally hired a company to do it last year. I have gotten used to the way the gutters look, even though I don’t like them.

I do like the idea of not replacing the wood around the windows every few years, but we have discovered another problem: the direct runoff from the downspout is wearing a trench about 3 inches wide through the side yard. Since the ground slopes slightly toward the marsh, the soil is washing away, leaving an unsightly bare spot. We needed to find an answer to the problem.

I wrote a column several years ago about building a rain garden, so I pulled up the column, found my references, and suggested to Jim that it is time for us to put t...

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