Department of Natural Science
10 Steps to Building a
Step 1: Do I need a rain garden?
determine this you must ask yourself the following questions. If you can
answer yes to any one or more of these questions or concerns you should
consider the possibility of building a rain garden.
-Do I have standing water?
-Do I have erosion?
-Am I concerned about the amount of water that is entering the storm water
system from my property.
-Am I concerned about the environment
-Am I looking to incorporate wildlife into my yard.
Step 2. What kind of rain garden do I want?
-A permanent pond
-A garden that could hold water when necessary
- What type of plants do I want? (native or ornamental)
Step 3. Possible locations
-Where can I put my rain garden? They can be placed at any of the problem
areas mentioned above in step 1 as long as it is 10 feet away from the
foundation of your house.
Step 4. Size matters
-Determine your roof area
-Consider the soil type
-Determine the amount of rain water that you want it to hold.
|Size of Rain Garden Relative to Roof
Area for Different Soil Types
|% of Roof Area
Step 5. Design
-Shape of the depression
-Consider type of plants and arrangement that they will be put in. (Put the
more aquatic plants where most standing water will be.)
Step 6: $$Cost$$
-Can I afford it?
-How much of the labor will I be able to do myself?
*Native species rain gardens will be more inexpensive than ornamental rain
The following costs may not apply to all rain gardens. The cost will vary
depending on how much work you do yourself and the types of plants you want.
(Native plants are cheaper than ornamentals and they are more beneficial for
the local wildlife).
*Cost tips are courtesy of Roger Bannerman of the Wisconsin Department of
Step 7: Site Preparation
-Do it yourself
-Hire an excavator
-Do soil testing to determine what type of soil you will be working with to
better accommodate size and types of plants.
Step 8: Plant it
-Plant seeds or plants where appropriate for each individual species
depending on water level and flow.
-Remember green side up for plants and seeds to only be 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep
Step 9: Maintenance
-Removal of dead plants
-Removal of dead stems
Step 10: ENJOY! SHARE! COMMUNICATE! CELEBRATE!
Remember- this is supposed to be fun!