AUSTIN (KXAN) - In the midst of a drought in Central Texas, more and more people are turning to water saving landscaping. Beyond zero-scaping or just using native plants, there's another option -- a rain garden.
In West Austin, Joanne and Hamilton Richards used to have a St. Augustine yard. Tired of the watering, upkeep and wanting something more interesting to look at, they gave it a makeover several years ago.
Now, their yard consists of lush native plants and a unique design, that thrives with limited rainfall.
"We actually replaced our windows in our house and made them larger so we can actually look out and actually see something beautiful," Joanne Richards said.
Cathy Nordstrom designed the Richards' rain garden.
The yard's gentle slope helps funnel rain down a creek and into a holding pond where the water can soak in. The design solves drainage issues and keeps the water around longer.
"This holds nutrients, holds water, and of course that will be an obvious benefit," said Nordstrom, a landscape designer. "It prevents (the water) from washing down into creeks and polluting our water supply."
Rain gardens aren't new. The idea started on the east coast as a way to protect water quality.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently funded a new, free app that goes beyond just the basics, and details how to install a garden. The downside is the app is focused for homes in the Northeast U.S.
While the concepts are the same, there are some changes to make if you build a rain garden here.
"Ours that we do here are different from in Maryland where it started," Nordstrom said. "They have to be different because we have different conditions."
The City of Austin also has a step by step guide to constructing a rain garden.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police confirm they have located an 82-year-old women who went missing last night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.
A representative at the Fayette County Sheriff's office said that Fayette County is effectively shut down due to icy conditions.