Yes, several aspects of the location of your property will influence your rain garden design: geographic location (are you in the mountains? piedmont area? coastal region?), planting hardiness zone, soil type and site specific conditions – is it a sunny or shady garden spot? For rain garden design information based on your geographic location and site specific conditions, visit the Low Impact Development Center’s website.
There are consultants and landscapers with experience in building rain gardens. Landscape designers or nurseries that specialize in native plant gardening may have more experience in designing and planting rain gardens. Check out the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association membership listing for contact information. Or check with a local nursery or landscaping business. Be sure to get references!
In a location where they will receive water from an impervious surface during rains, such as roofs, sidewalks, driveways or parking lots. To determine the best location and size of your rain garden, you will need to consider soil drainage properties, location of downspouts and the surface area of your roof, driveway and other impervious areas to calculate the appropriate size for your garden.
To help you find the best spot and size for your rain garden, check out information at:
Sizing and Siting the Rain Garden, from Rain Gardens, a how to manual for homeowners, page 4.
Rain gardens are designed to drain quickly, usually within 48 hours. To reduce mosquito populations on your property, make sure that you don’t allow any standing water to accumulate in trash can lids, flower pots, or other containers.
Through the efforts of many organizations and our Rain Gardens for the Bays Campaign partners, we are fortunate to have many rain gardens scattered throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Go to our Gallery of Rain Gardens to find a rain garden near you.
Native plants are recommended. Depending on your planting (hardiness) zone and geographic location (Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal), you will select plants that will do well in your area. Go to Step 2, Create your own rain garden, for plant lists appropriate for your geographic location and for you site, whether it be a sunny or shady spot.
Check out these websites for more information on native plants:
Rain gardens are designed to allow storm water enter the garden and filter slowly into the ground rather than running off your property over hard surfaces and downspouts into the road or storm drains. The design incorporates a shallow depression, filled with soil, sand and mulch (if needed) to increase the garden’s permeability. Go to About Rain Gardens and Step 1 of Create your own rain garden for more detailed information.
Rain gardens will require little maintenance if designed and constructed properly. Using native plants, which do not need fertilizers or pesticides applied, will further minimize your maintenance. As the garden is becoming established (1-3 years), you may need to water, weed and replace plants that did not survive transplanting. After that, enjoy! For more detailed information, check out Step 4 Create your own rain garden.
For commercial establishments that plan to build a very large rain garden to manage stormwater for roofs or parking lots as part of a ‘stormwater management plan,” you may need a permit or adhere to more specific guidelines for the construction and maintenance of your rain garden (also referred to as bioretention basin). Visit Low Impact Development Urban Design Tools site for information pertaining to commercial sites.