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Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape

By Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden

An educational, practical, timely, and inspiring book.

Pacific Horticulture

Rain gardens encompass all possible elements that can be used to capture, channel, divert and make the most of the rain and snow that fall on a property. Using the innovative and attractive approaches described here, it is possible to enhance outdoor spaces and minimize the damaging effects of drought, stormwater runoff, and other environmental challenges. Nigel Dunnett & Andy Clayden have created a comprehensive guide to water management techniques for the garden and built environment. Filled with practical, manageable solutions for small and large-scale implementations and utilizing authoritative research with state-of-the-art case studies from all over the world, Rain Gardens is the first book on sustainable water management schemes suitable for students and professionals.

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Media reviews

"Every bit as appealing as its title, Rain Gardens tells us what to do as we find ourselves in a built environment where much of the earth is paved over and our supply of cheap water is diminishing. An educational, practical, timely, and inspiring book."

—Katherine Cook, Pacific Horticulture

"If you need to install a rain garden, rejoice. The elegant, functional, and beautifully designed gardens in Rain Gardens ... will be an invaluable resource for those with soggy soil."

—Ann Lovejoy, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"More readable than the somewhat clunky title suggests. It's also the first comprehensive guide to water management for home gardeners. Here are practical solutions to rainwater runoff, from green-roofed garden sheds to swales and ponds."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"This ground-breaking and important book explains the concept in simple, non-technical terms, and gives plenty of practical advice on how to go about making your garden better at absorbing rain in the way that natural environments do, and making it a more biodiverse and visually attractive place in the process."

—Noel Kingsbury, Gardens Illustrated

"What we need, clearly, is a style of gardening that can cope with periods of hot and dry, and cold and wet weather. It's a tall order, but [Rain Gardens] has come up with some pretty good answers."

—Elspeth Thompson, Daily Telegraph (London)

"Here you can learn how to capture rain and snowmelt runoff, how to disconnect your downspouts, create a green roof, bioretention ponds, storm-water chains and permeable paving."

—Francie Berg, Oregonian

"An outstanding book ... plenty of photos and diagrams, many ideas for water management, and detailed plant lists."

Garden Solutions

"An exciting and motivating book. ... These are simple ideas and strategies. Most can be done by a homeowner at minimal expense."

—Cathie Draine, Napa Valley Register

"Makes fascinating reading for gardeners, builders and environmentalists alike ... extremely thought-provoking and throws up plenty of new ideas ... well researched and full of pictures bringing new concepts of rainwater gardens vividly to life. A brilliant book."

—Angela Youngman, MonstersAndCritics.com

"Has inspiring photographs, excellent diagrams, and a full plant list. It is solidly and passionately written and easily read by anyone who is inspired to use some of these strategies in the home environment."

—Cathie Draine, Rapid City Journal

"Despite the monsoon conditions in Ireland and the U.K., I found myself enjoying the rain when I read this book, imagining all the delightful ways in which design can be used to play with rainfall."

—Erik van Lennep, Cultivate.ie

"A comprehensive guide to designing and implementing practical, manageable solutions for small and large-scale rain gardens at home and in the public landscape."

O'Mama Report

"Informs gardeners about the many types of rain gardens that are being developed for home as well as public use. ... Easy to use with lots of photographs and illustrations."

—Carol Wiese, Chicago Sun-Times

"Well-illustrated with color photographs and plans, this volume surveys the many creative and effective solutions ... of capturing and using rainwater as part of a building's design. ... Among those who will find the ideas of interest are landscape architects, architects, gardeners, and residential homeowners."

Book News

"Dunnett and Clayden punctuate approachable text with a bevy of lovely photographs that capture the beauty and advantages of rain gardens."

—Ellison G. Weist, Portland Tribune

"Describes how to handle storm water in numerous ways that are practical and aesthetically pleasing. Nearly 200 color photographs and 40 line drawings leave little guesswork about how to create your own rain garden."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post

"All gardeners can learn from this book, but if you have property, steep, or having drainage issues, this book should be required summer reading."

—Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"A good read ... and an informative one as well."

—Fran Sorin, CBS Radio Network

"In this unique and essential resource, Dunnett and Clayden expertly and comprehensively explain the various methods of creating rain gardening systems in clear, precise, and enthusiastic language ... and draw on inspiring case histories of successful rain garden projects throughout the United States and Europe."

—Carl Haggas, Booklist

"I love this book! ... Kudos to Nigel and Andy for creating such a detailed and comprehensive guide. ... The personal observations of the writers' experience as designers themselves and fathers of young children regarding the importance of designing secure but fun interactive water design is refreshing."

—Linda S. Velazquez, GreenRoofs.com

"[An] incredibly useful reference to peruse in order to summon up ideas for the redirection of not only our rain water, but our thoughts on what should be done with it."

—Jean Starr, Northwest Indiana Times

"Present[s] plausible methods to capture, channel, divert, and take advantage of the precipitation that falls in our yards."

—John Bagnasco, Garden Compass

"An intelligent, urbane, visually compelling campaign for nothing less than the reformation of our built landscapes, all with a mind toward preservation and the natural flow of what may be our most critical resource: water."

—Felicia Parsons, Northern Gardener

"Great ideas for saving and utilizing this most precious resource — water."

—Virginia Hayes, Santa Barbara Independent

"The ideas presented aren't naively idealistic, as the authors provide case studies from around the world and sketches and photos that illustrate how to make a rain garden a reality."

—Jessica Damiano, Newsday

About the authors

Nigel Dunnett

Nigel Dunnett is a Reader in Urban Horticulture in the landscape department at the University of Sheffield, where he has developed innovative research programs on naturalistic and ecologically informed planting for gardens and public landscapes. He is director of The Green Roof Centre, Sheffield, and acts widely as a consultant on green roof design and planting, and sustainable garden and landscape design in general.

Read more about Nigel Dunnett

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Andy Clayden

Andy Clayden is a landscape architect, garden designer, and lecturer in the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield, England. He lectures in design, landscape construction, and design detailing. His work as a designer and researcher focuses on the application of new technologies and approaches to the creation of sustainable design solutions. He lives in Sheffield with his family.

Read more about Andy Clayden

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