Rain Garden


A rain garden is a landscaped area that captures and holds stormwater, allowing it to infiltrate into the ground rather than to become harmful surface runoff. Functional gravel or perforated pipe features allow for an increase in water storage, and are hidden under a mixed layer of mulch, soil, sand and compost. For a most effective design use native and perennial vegetation such as grasses, rushes, sedges and shrubs.




Call Ahead

Before beginning any major projects or alternations, make sure you are aware of the locations of any underground pipes, gas lines, or electrical wires and be sure to obtain any permits that may be necessary.

Start Digging

Mark the area where you wish to start digging. Follow the guidelines for depth of your rain garden based on the slope:

Ensure that the base of your garden is level by taking soil from the uphill area of the garden and adding it to the downhill area. Then, heap soil around all the edges except the uphill edge – this is called a berm. A berm acts to help hold water in your garden.

Enhance Your Soil

Depending on your garden’s soil type, mix in the following soil amendments. For more details on improving your soil quality, check out the soil enhancements page.

Picking Your Plants

It’s time to get creative – there is no single way to plant a rain garden but here are some tips for picking your plants:


Well-designed rain gardens require minimal maintenance. Gardens with native plants do not require fertilizer or pesticides, but can benefit from fresh compost every year. As the plants are establishing their roots, typically the first two years after planting, the garden will need periodic watering. After this time, upkeep simply involves weeding.