*** Homeowner's Guide to a Watershed-Friendly Backyard Now Available***

The Rappahannock-Rapidan Homeowner’s Guide to a Watershed-friendly Backyard assists area residents in addressing common backyard issues while protecting local water quality. The guide contains chapters on stormwater management, lawn and garden care, septic system maintenance and pet waste management, all tailored to the region. Basic how-to information is included in each chapter, as well as listings of resources and contacts for further information.

Do you need galoshes to cross your yard after a rainstorm?

Do you want a greener lawn but have no clue how much fertilizer your grass really needs?

Do you want to protect your local streams and lakes or maybe the seafood living in the Chesapeake Bay?

Do you just want a nice yard without breaking the bank?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Commission's new Backyard Rainscaping program may be for you.

rainscaping_1 arrow rainscaping_2
Partnering with Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, this program seeks to address the impacts of stormwater runoff from urban and suburban residential landscapes through homeowner education and low-cost voluntary actions. The program provides technical assistance and funding to aid homeowners in addressing these issues.

The focus of the residential retrofits is on low-tech approaches to stormwater management:

  • Disconnection of downspout runoff from impervious cover using downspout extensions
  • Construction of bio-retention areas/rain gardens
  • Amendment of soils to increase infiltration
  • Mechanical Lawn Aeration to increase infiltration
  • Installation of rain barrels and/or rain cisterns at downspouts

The assessments will also include a soil test and custom nutrient management plan. This plan will assist the homeowner in getting a healthy lawn that will not only look nice, but also keep our waterways clean. Why waste money on excess fertilizer that will only end up in the Rappahannock River?

Free backyard assessments are currently being offered in Fauquier County, Culpeper County, the Towns of Culpeper and Warrenton and Lake of the Woods. Following the assessment, the homeowner will receive a report with several recommended options. Staff will work with the homeowner to find the most cost-effective and appropriate approach. In cases where a rain garden is warranted by the site conditions and there is homeowner interest, we will assist the homeowner with the installation.

The homeowner is expected to share a portion of rainscaping costs by covering 30% of the cost of materials, while the program covers the remaining 70% of the materials up to $500, plus labor costs. Friends of the Rappahannock will provide the equipment, materials and the labor.

While cost-share funding is not available for other practices, they are generally minimal, and Friends of the Rappahannock staff can do the work for you.

Total homeowner costs average $200, but are highly dependent on the acreage treated and the extent of the problem being addressed. Costs can range from $75 for a few downspout disconnections, to $2,500 for an extensive set of swales, French drains and large bio-retention basin.

If you are interested in a backyard assessment, or would like further information on the Regional Commission's Homeowner Watershed Education project, please contact Michelle Edwards at medwards@rrregion.org.
RRRC_Logo  NFWF_Logo