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Rain Gardens Credits- All images in this presentation are from the following manual: Rain Gardens- A How-to Manual for Homeowners Your Personal Contribution to Cleaner Water

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rain gardens

Rain Gardens

Credits- All images in this presentation are from the following manual:

Rain Gardens- A How-to Manual for Homeowners

Your Personal Contribution to Cleaner Water

Authors- City of Tallahassee Stormwater Management, TAPP- Think About Personal Pollution. www.TAPPwater.org. The original concept and illustrations were derived from the University of Wisconsin Extension Service

why use rain gardens
Why use Rain Gardens?
  • Increase the amount of water that filters into the ground- recharging groundwater supplies
  • Provide protection from flooding and drainage problems
  • Protect streams, lakes and rivers from pollutants
  • Channel water away from structures
  • Wildlife habitat

Page 5

elements of a rain garden
Elements of a Rain Garden
  • Diverse mix of flowering plants, sedges, rushes, and grasses
  • Native plants a good choice- rainfall patterns
  • Consider bloom time
  • Mix heights, shapes and textures
  • Mulch- composted yard debris and leaves
  • Add rocks, stones, gravel for more texture and interest

Page 5

locating the rain garden
Locating the Rain Garden
  • At least 10 feet from house so water does not seep into foundation
  • Integrate into existing landscape
  • Locate next to outdoor gathering areas
  • Don’t locate over septic system or drainfield, or under a large tree
  • Locate in full or partial sun
  • Encourage additional water filtration- don’t locate in already low spot
  • Add plants to low spot and create new low spot with garden

Page 6

size and shape of garden
Size and Shape of Garden
  • Kidney or teardrop shapes
  • Size depends on:
  • Type of soil
  • Size of roof and lawn area

to drain

  • Depth of rain garden

Page 7

type of soil and drainage area
Type of Soil and Drainage Area
  • Clay- slowest rate, so gardens must be larger. Too much clay is poor location
  • Sandy- highest rate, smaller gardens
  • The larger the drainage area the larger the garden

Page 9

calculating drainage area
Calculating Drainage Area
  • 10 to 30 feet from a downspout- almost all water comes from roof- calculate portion of roof that drains into garden
  • More than 30 feet from downspout- measure length and width of up lawn and add to roof area

Page 9

depth of rain garden
Depth of Rain Garden
  • Typical- 4 to 8 inches
  • Ground surface of the garden must be level
  • The slope of the lawn determines the depth of the garden
  • A steeper slope will allow a deeper garden

Page 10

calculating slope
Calculating Slope
  • One stake at highest point- a second stake at low point – about 15’ away
  • Use a carpenter’s or string level
  • Measure distance between stakes (width)
  • Measure height from ground to string on downhill stake

Page 10

shape of the garden
Shape of the Garden

The long side of the garden should face uphill

Page 14

The garden should be longer than it is wide

length and width of the garden
Length and Width of the Garden
  • Choose a width that fits the area- 10’ is typical, but no more that 15’
  • Should be wide enough for the water to spread evenly over the whole bottom surface
  • Provide enough space for a variety of plants

Page 14

digging the rain garden
Digging the Rain Garden
  • Dig the depth of the garden at the uphill stake
  • Maintain the same depth across the bottom
  • Pile the dirt on the low side to create the berm

Page 16

building the berm
Building the Berm
  • The berm should be as high as or slightly higher than the uphill edge
  • Compact the soil in the berm by tamping hard
  • Have gently sloping sides and plant to integrate into the rest surrounding garden

Page 18



  • Rain gardens capture stormwater
  • Rain gardens:
    • fit with the Florida-Friendly principle of reducing runoff
    • facilitate a positive way to solve a problem
  • Reduced stormwater equates to cleaner water bodies