Creating a Rain Garden

Are you looking to make your garden or landscape more eco-friendly? If so, you should look into creating a rain garden in your yard! A rain garden is specifically designed to capture storm water from roofs, patios, and driveways. The water is led from these hard surfaces to the water conserving garden bed. Xeriscaping is an additional way to have a beautiful landscape without using much irrigation.

Benefits of Xeriscaping and Rain Gardening

  • Less time is needed to tend the lawn
  • With proper grading, mulching and plant positioning, the design takes full advantage of rainfall
  • These landscape designs are less affected by water restrictions caused by drought or increased water costs.
  • Lowers the consumption of water

Creating a Rain Garden

As you read this step by step guide, remember that there are countless ways to create a rain garden and xeriscape design. We will be explaining how to create a rain garden similar to the one pictured in the images. The rain garden in these images comprises most of the front yard. Obviously every home is different, so I will explain to you how we created this rain garden and you can use our tips to begin building your own.

This rain garden was 3 feet deep. We placed 8 inches of pea gravel in the bottom of the rain garden. Pea gravel is important in creating a rain garden because it assists in filtration. On top of the pea gravel, we placed a special soil mix for gardens. This soil mix was 60% sand, 20% compost, and 20% screened topsoil. Lastly, we topped off the garden with mulch. The combination and layering of gravel, soil, and mulch helps retain the water and moisture.

Now that you have the bed of the rain garden ready, you can put in the plants you want. When designing a rain garden, always remember that you should stick with plants that work well in drought conditions.

Directing Water Through the Rain Garden

Now we will discuss building the rock bed used to direct water throughout the rain garden. First, you need to consider the sources of water you have on your property. Common places where water drains from are the roof, driveway, and downspouts. Additionally, many homes drain copious amounts of water from the sump pump in the crawl space.

The water you use needs to be directed from the highest point to the lowest point in the grading on your yard. As you can see in the images, the water is directed along a rock bed from the house to a lower point in the yard. Using a creek bed to carry the water to the rain garden is one way to save water and naturally irrigate the rain garden!

Here is a step-by-step list of how you can create a creek bed like the one you see here

  1. Dig out where you would like the creek bed to be
  2. Delineate the creek bed areas from the shrub bed areas with spray paint and plastic edging.
  3. Lay down the pond liner for the creek bed area
  4. Place the hose from which the water will flow on to the pond liner. In the case of this project, the water came from a sump pump so we used that hose. Other options for sources of water could be drains or downspouts.
  5. To finish the creek, we placed river rocks on the creek bed manually and filled the smaller areas with Montana rainbow rock which is smaller than river rock.

I hope that reading this article has inspired you to create a more environmentally friendly garden and landscape. Conserving water not only decreases your water bill but also conserves the amount of water wasted each year.

Last modified: