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.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early Thursday will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
Former Georgetown Police Officer Stephanie Brown said her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock Officer Eric Poteet, made up accusations against her after she broke up with him.