Overview

Illustration of the rain garden irrigation
Illustration: Washington State University Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington Homeowners
«»
The plants and amended soil in a rain garden work together to filter runoff. Generally, a rain garden is comprised of three zones that correspond to the tolerance plants have to standing water; the better a plant can handle "wet feet," the closer it is placed to the center of the garden. Whenever possible, shop for native and drought-tolerant plants, keeping in mind that parts of a rain garden remain wet for long periods of time, while others are drier. Zone 1, the centermost ring of the rain garden, should be stocked with plants that like standing water for long periods of time, such as Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina). The middle ring, Zone 2, should have plants that can tolerate occasional standing water, like Snowberries (Symphoricarpos albus). The outermost ring, Zone 3, is rarely wet for any length of time and is best planted with species that prefer drier climates, such as western bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa). For more information on building a rain garden, visit the Washington State University's Extension website.
Ask TOH users about Garden Planning

Contribute to This Story Below

    More in Landscaping

    Tools List

    • bucket
      Bucket
    • garden hose
      Hose
    • Gas powered sod cutter
      Sod cutter or spade
    • to remove grass layer. Sod cutter can be rented for $80 a day
    • pointed shovel
      Shovel
    • or rent a backhoe for $230 a day
    • metal garden rake
      Rake
    • wheelbarrow
      Wheelbarrow
    • hacksaw
      Hacksaw
    • hand trowel
      Trowel

    Shopping List

    1. Spray paint

    2. Compost

    3. Stones

    4. Plants

    5. Smooth or corrugated piping to connect to a gutter downspout