Posted by: greeningvacapitol | March 17, 2011

Rain Gardens: Reducing Runoff at Home

As we are hard at work installing rain gardens on Capitol Square, we wanted to share with you some tips for installing a rain garden at your home (or business).  Rain gardens are an effective and relatively low cost solution to reducing stormwater runoff.  Basically, it’s a low-lying area with water-tolerant plants that allows rain water to soak into the ground.  You can place your rain garden near your downspout (but at least 10 ft from the house) to catch roof runoff.

Here’s some more tips:

– Home rain gardens are typically 100 to 300 square feet, depending on drainage area, slope, and soil type.  You can check out “Rain Gardens: A How-To Manual for Homeowners” for guidelines on calculating rain garden size.  Keep on mind that these are guidelines to capture 100% of the runoff for an average rainfall, you can always put in a smaller rain garden if needed.

– The depth of a rain garden is between 4 and 8 inches.

– If you have clay soil (sticky and clumpy), then you may need to amend your soil with sand or compost to allow the water to soak in better.

– Check out this Native Plants for Rain Gardens publication to choose plants for your rain garden.  You can also find Rain Garden Templates (such as the one shown below) for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed region at the Low Impact Development Center site.

Rain Garden Design Template from

What about you? Have you had any experience installing a rain garden on your property? Are you planning on one in the future? We’d love to hear from you, so leave your comments below!



  1. […] more general information on rain gardens, check out this post. And for a list of plants that we used in our rain garden, check out this post.  Advertisement […]

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