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What is a Rain Garden?
Rain gardens are landscaped areas designed to collect and utilize rainwater. They are a great way to reclaim rainwater from a roof downspout or driveway. Rain gardens allow more water from rain to soak into the ground to water plants and create a beautiful, low-maintenance landscaped bed. Typically about 30 percent more water from a rain soaks into the ground in a rain garden than in an equivalent area of lawn.

Rain gardens reduce stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff carries pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, and debris from lawns and driveways into nearby water bodies. They also prevent damage to stream banks and reduce the risk of local flooding. In addition to being beautiful, they can provide valuable habitat to many birds and butterflies.

How do Rain Gardens work?
Every time it rains, pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, debris and other chemicals wash across lawns and driveways and down streets flowing into the nearest storm drain or drainage ditch directly into a river, lake or stream. A rain garden collects this stormwater, filters it through soils and plants and allows it to soak into the ground. The plants, mulch and soil in a rain garden combine natural physical, biological and chemical processes to remove pollutants from runoff. Many pollutants will be filtered out and break down in the soil over time.

Where is the best location for a Rain Garden in my landscape?
Rain gardens are best located in low areas of the yard where runoff tends to flow. While they should not be built next to a building's foundation, rain gardens located near an impervious surface such as a driveway, patio or sidewalk can easily capture the runoff from the area.

What plants should I use?
Many of our native plants are well suited for the rain garden. Click here for a list of native trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses and groundcovers.

How do I create a Rain Garden?
Constructing a rain garden is easy, but it requires lots of shovel work when built by hand. Use the assistance of others to prepare and plant your rain garden. Teamwork reduces the amount of time it takes to construct a rain garden. It can be created alone, but if neighbors and friends are asked to join then they can learn the "hands on" value of a rain garden. Click here to learn the steps to creating a rain garden in your landscape.