Construction of the Garden

Step 3. Construction of the Garden

Build and Plant Your Rain Garden

  • Are you ready to construct your Rain Garden? You determined the size, shape and location.
  • You tested the soil and determined it has adequate drainage, know how to amend the soil to allow the rain garden to both evaporate and slowly drain rain waters.
  • Will you need only shovels and strong backs? Depending on your design and site preparation needs, a roto-tiller or larger equipment may be required.
  • Volunteers needing to fulfill scout or school service projects may be ready and willing to assist if you’re doing a rain garden for a school, church, or town building!
  • Ready, Set, Go!
  • Lay out a rope or garden hose in the shape desired as a guide for digging.Dig the garden; the depth of the depression may vary from 4 to 8”.
  • Create the “saucer” contour of the garden. For best infiltration, the bottom of the garden should be level. On a slope, the soil from digging may be used to create a berm on the downhill side.
    Introduce and gravel, peat, sand, etc, that are needed to give proper drainage
  • Install your rain barrel, or create swale to direct water into the garden from a downspout or pavement
  • Like any new planting, the rain garden may need watering for the first few weeks.During the first season, some extra watering, thinning and replacement plants will also be needed.
  • Below is a graphic illustration of the elements of a constructed rain garden.
  • Resources for Building Your Rain Garden
  • For more detailed information on the actual construction of a rain garden, please visit the following sites:Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual Chapter 6, Section 6.4.5 Rain Garden/Bioretention, pp. 52
  • University of Wisconsin Extension Service’s Rain Gardens: A How-to Manual for Homeowners pp: 11-16
  • Low Impact Development Center
  • West Michigan Rain Gardens, Saving the Great Lakes One Garden at a Time

Step 1. Locate and Prep | Step 2. Garden Design | Step 3. Construction