These aren't just any kind of gardens. Oh, no. They are beautiful gardens that improve water quality in local lakes and provide pollinator habitat. Let us help you install a new raingarden, native plant garden, or pond/lake buffer in your yard.
The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), with help from area cities, Dakota County, and local watershed organizations, has been assisting residents with installing raingardens, native plant gardens, and lake/pond buffers through the SWCD's Landscaping for Clean Water (formerly Blue Thumb) program since 2007. The goal of the program is to make it easy for homeowners to install these beautiful powerhouse gardens in their yards to help improve water quality in area lakes, rivers, and ponds. While there are lots different things people can do to improve local water quality, these specialized perennial gardens offer a number of added benefits to the homeowner that make them a tempting option: they're beautiful, provide pollinator habitat, are relatively easy to install, and won't break the bank, to name a few.
The program is geared toward the do-it-yourselfer. Interested homeowners attend a free introductory workshop that explains how these gardens are different, water quality issues caused by suburban development that these gardens address, and other benefits seen by the homeowner if they choose to install one. Lots of example gardens and plants are shown. If they've found at the end that they're still interested, they are invited to attend a two part design workshop. The Design Workshop is set up to give the homeowner all the tools they need to walk out with a grant application for $250. Step by step information is provided on choosing a location, estimating costs, how to install, and plant selection. Materials are provided at the workshop to draw out a design; local experts give homeowners individual help developing a design during the workshop. Completed grant applications can be submitted at the end of the Design Workshop. Most projects will qualify for a grant. But the help doesn't stop there. Projects that receive a grant will receive one-on-one assistance from the SWCD laying out the new garden in their yard, with a mid-installation spot check to avoid common mistakes. After a final inspection to make sure everything looks good, the grant recipient receives their $250 grant. With help provided throughout the entire process and some money to help pay for the cost, it's no wonder that over 500 homeowners have said, "Sign me up!" over the last 12 years.
But wait, there's more! Apple Valley also offers a grant that can be combined with the SWCD Landscaping for Clean Water Grant. Qualifying projects could receive up to an additional $500 for their new garden. And if you think your garden is a little bit more than the average do-it-yourselfer project, the SWCD also offers other grants for larger, more complex projects.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for an Introductory Workshop today!