Building a rain garden is a great way to reduce storm water pollution while also providing an excellent water source for a garden in your own backyard. A rain garden is designed to be a self-watering garden that receives and channels storm water run-off from the roof.

To get started on building your own rain garden, follow these 10 easy steps:

1. Pick a location
Assess your yard and plan for your garden to be at least 10 feet away from your home to prevent flooding. Choose a naturally low spot in your yard or position the garden so your downspouts can be used to direct the rainwater into your garden.

2. Calculate the size of the rain garden
If capturing water from the roof of your home, measure the drainage area of the impervious surface and multiply by the number associated with the soil you have.

  • Sandy Soil: Multiply by 20%
  • Loam: Multiply by 20-30%
  • Clay: Multiply by 45-60%

3. Create a design
Sketch the design of your garden and plan what elements you would like to incorporate.

4. Choose your plants
Select resilient native plants that will grow well in wet and dry areas and can handle varying degrees of water inundation.


5. Set up the garden
Lay out the boundaries of the garden based on your design. Be sure to check that your garden is not located above piping or other utilities.

6. Begin digging
Dig your garden approximately 4-8 inches deep and use the soil to build a berm around the garden edges if necessary.


7. Prepare the soil
Amend the soil with compost and mix well.

8. Plant your flora
According to your design, place your plants in the designated position throughout your garden. Plants should be about one foot apart from one another. Once satisfied, start planting.

9. Mulch the garden
Use course shredded wood chips that will not get blown away. Apply the mulch about 2-3 inches deep to keep moisture in and weeds out.

10. Water and arrange downspouts
When finished planting, water your garden every other day for two weeks until the garden can sustain itself in the chance that it does not rain.