How To Build A Rain Garden

How to Build a Rain Garden

A rain garden is a beautiful and functional addition to any yard. It is a garden designed to catch and filter rainwater runoff from your roof, driveway, and other impervious surfaces. In this article, we will guide you through the process of building a rain garden step-by-step.

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

The first step in building a rain garden is to choose the right location. You want to select an area that is downhill from your roof or driveway, so the rainwater will naturally flow into the garden. It is also important to make sure the location is at least 10 feet away from your house’s foundation.

Step 2: Determine the Size of Your Rain Garden

The size of your rain garden will depend on the amount of rainfall your area receives, the size of your roof, and the size of your yard. A good rule of thumb is to make your rain garden about 10% of the size of your roof. For example, if your roof is 1,000 square feet, your rain garden should be about 100 square feet.

Step 3: Dig the Hole

Once you have determined the location and size of your rain garden, it’s time to start digging. Dig a hole in the shape and size of your rain garden, making sure it is at least 6 inches deep. Use a level to make sure the bottom of the hole is even.

Step 4: Create a Berm

Next, you will need to create a berm around the rain garden. A berm is a small hill that surrounds the garden and helps to prevent water from flowing out. The berm should be about 6 inches high and 12 inches wide.

Step 5: Add Compost and Sand

Once you have dug the hole and created the berm, it’s time to add some compost and sand. This will help to improve the soil’s drainage and provide nutrients for your plants. Mix the compost and sand together and spread it evenly over the bottom of the hole.

Step 6: Choose Your Plants

Choosing the right plants for your rain garden is essential. You want to select plants that can tolerate both wet and dry conditions. Some good choices include native grasses, sedges, and wildflowers. Make sure to plant taller plants in the center of the garden and shorter plants around the edges.

Step 7: Plant Your Garden

Now it’s time to plant your rain garden. Dig holes for each of your plants and place them in the soil, making sure to water them thoroughly. Spread a layer of mulch over the soil to help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

Step 8: Water Your Garden

Water your rain garden regularly, especially during dry spells. The first year is critical for the success of your garden, so make sure to keep it well-watered. After the first year, your rain garden should be able to sustain itself.


Q: How deep should my rain garden be?

A: Your rain garden should be at least 6 inches deep, but it can be deeper if you have poor drainage in your yard.

Q: How often should I water my rain garden?

A: Water your rain garden regularly, especially during the first year. After that, it should be able to sustain itself.

Q: What kind of plants should I choose for my rain garden?

A: Choose plants that can tolerate both wet and dry conditions, such as native grasses, sedges, and wildflowers.

Q: Do I need a professional to build a rain garden?

A: No, you can build a rain garden yourself with a little bit of planning and hard work.


Building a rain garden is a great way to reduce water pollution and create a beautiful addition to your yard. By following these steps, you can create a functional and sustainable garden that will benefit both you and the environment.