Rehoboth garden puts rainwater to use

By Ryan Mavity | May 30, 2012
Photo by: Ryan Mavity

Rehoboth Beach — Rehoboth Beach is making sure the rain doesn’t go to waste at City Hall.

Consulting with Envirotech, city workers and volunteers built a rain garden May 10 to minimize stormwater runoff.

After the site was excavated near the entrance to the Convention Center parking lot, the area was filled with 11 tons of sand, mixed with a soil mixture.

The final piece was Filtrexx Gardensoxx, an organic garden system composed of a mixture of compost and soil encased in webbing. After the system was placed in the hole, it was covered with a thin layer of mulch. Plants were inserted and an irrigation hose attached to the rain barrel was threaded through the growing medium.

Commissioner Lorraine Zellers, who spearheaded the project as part of the city’s Beach in Bloom project, said the cost of the rain garden was $2,900, with an extra $300 for the excavator.

Zellers said, “Very exciting for me to see this come to fruition. I'm grateful for the support of the commissioners and help from the city manager and our wonderful city employees. I think the rain garden concept is something the city should promote as part of mitigating the effects of stormwater.”

Volunteers, Rehoboth Beach employees and workers from Envirotech fill in the rain garden in front of City Hall with a soil mixture. (Photo by: Bill Sargent)
Plants are put in the rain garden. (Photo by: Bill Sargent)
Envirotech workers put the finishing touches on the rain garden's plants. (Photo by: Bill Sargent)

Rehoboth to plant rain garden May 9

Plantings to be done in one day

By Ryan Mavity | May 01, 2012
Cape Gazette May 1

In a corner of Rehoboth Beach City Hall, the city will be planting a 115-square foot rain garden, or water reclamation area. The garden will feature native plants and is meant to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff and improve water quality.

Rehoboth Beach — Minneapolis had Prince and “Purple Rain,” Seattle had Soundgarden and now Rehoboth Beach will have rain garden.

The city is collaborating with Rehoboth-based environmental firm Envirotech to create a rain garden, or water reclamation area, in front of City Hall.

Envirotech’s Todd Fritchman said rain garden would reclaim rainwater using native vegetation to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff and improve water quality.

“This is not your classical and traditional rain garden. This is a water reclamation area. In other words, we are going to be taking rainwater from a rooftop – from this building – and reintroducing that through a process back into the groundwater table so that the sheet flow and energy from that discharge doesn’t transport silt and nutrients into the storm drain,” Fritchman said.

He said a traditional rain garden alleviates drainage problems or issues with surface water retention.

Fritchman said an above ground cistern would collect the rainwater and transport it to a basin with a spigot to regulate the distribution of water, allowing the garden to have water year-round.

“We’ll be able to keep this thing vibrant and green even during brown-out time and times of growing season dormancy,” Fritchman said,

The garden itself will be a 115-square foot bed to the west of the Rehoboth Avenue entrance to City Hall. Fritchman said the bed would be excavated, backfilled with new soil and then planted using native plants such as black chokeberry, butterfly milkweed and beach plum.

Fritchman said the garden is not just a bunch of pretty flowers, but a fully functioning garden that will need maintenance such as pruning and weeding.

“This is not an ornamental application. We have selected native vegetation that will provide you color and fruits and flower-bearing at different times throughout the entire growing season. However, in late November, like all our native vegetation, this stuff does go dormant,” Fritchman said.

The project is part of Rehoboth’s Beach In Bloom project, based on Lewes In Bloom. Commissioner Lorraine Zellers has been leading the project, which is also in line with the Center for the Inland Bays’ 1,000-rain gardens initiative. Zellers said the rain garden at city hall would be a demonstration garden that would also include an informational poster to educate people on rain gardens.

Zellers said once excavation begins on Wednesday, May 9, the project will be finished in a day, just in time for Mother’s Day. She said the project will cost under $4,000; the city budgeted about $7,000 this year for Beach in Bloom, which will also include flower baskets at Lake Gerar Bridge and the city side of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Bridge.

Rain garden, native plants will beautify Rehoboth Beach

Written by


The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times


REHOBOTH BEACH -- The city's expanded beautification efforts -- also known as the Beach Bloom Project -- are progressing, and residents and visitors should expect to see some new sights, including a rain garden at City Hall and plants along the town's bridges, in May.

At a recent Board of Commissioners meeting, the board and community members heard a presentation from Todd Fritchman, owner and president at Envirotech, about the installation of a rain garden at City Hall, including its purpose, design and what will be planted there.

The installation is set to take place May 9, in time for Mother's Day, Commissioner Lorraine Zellers said.

Fritchman called the rain garden "not your classical, traditional rain garden," but instead, a "rainwater reclamation area," which will improve water quality of the rainwater that lands on the roof of City Hall.

"We're going to be taking rainwater from a rooftop from this building and reintroducing that through a process back into the groundwater table so that sheet flow and energy from that discharge doesn't transport silt and nutrients and so forth into the storm drains," he said.

A traditional rain garden is used for flooding and drainage problems, he said, adding that there are no drainage issues at City Hall.

When it's completed, the system will take rainwater from the roof that accumulates in gutters and use an underground conveyance system to transport water into the rain garden, keeping it vibrant and green, even during a major drought, Fritchman said.

The rain garden will feature native plants that will produce fruits and flowers, including the beach plum, which Fritchman said is a highly native plant to the coastal dunes that will produce fruit, and the black chockberry, a native plant that will produce vibrant colors in the leaves. He said the plants will be tiered and layered for the ultimate aesthetic appearance.

The installation of the rain garden also is being done in conjunction with a Center for the Inland Bays initiative to have 1,000 rain gardens in the Inland Bays region. Zellers said signage will be provided by the CIB, and she hopes the rain garden at City Hall will inspire others to create their own to help mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff before it gets into streams and bays.

Additionally, Zellers said to be on the lookout for lamppost baskets at the Lake Gerar Bridge and an in-ground planting design on the Rehoboth side of the Canal Bridge. She said those decisions were made based on costs and the low probability for them to be vandalized.

She said because of costs, the decision was made to concentrate on the bridges and not the bandstand area at this time.

The bridge projects should get under way in May, she said, as the Beach Bloom group is working on selecting plants for the areas at this time.

"We're ready to bloom," she said.