Rain Gardens are specially designed to utilize the water that flows from your downspout and helps soak it into the ground instead of flooding your yard or running off into the storm sewer. The gardens are shallow depressions that collect the water as it is absorbed. They are designed to hold water for no more than 24-48 hours.
Rain gardens use native plants that thrive in both wet and dry soil conditions and have deep root systems that help the water filter into the ground. These specialized gardens attract pollinators, create habitat, and have the added benefit of being self-watering - which means less work for you!
Municipal governments and conservation authorities are encouraging property owners to install rain gardens because runoff entering the stormwater system is contributing to larger issues such as polluted waterways, drinking water contamination, erosion, and can lead to flooding of neighbourhoods.
The proper design of a rain garden is critical to ensure that the water is managed appropriately for the site conditions. We can provide you with a consultation, conduct an assessment, help you with grants, prepare a design, and install the garden according to guidelines. Before deciding to install one, the following will need to be considered:
- The location of the downspout and the grading (slope). Rain gardens must be set back 3 metres (10 feet) from the building and the grading must slope away from the foundation;
- Calculate the appropriate size of the garden required. The size of your roof and downspout setup will determine the size needed to accommodate the water flow. There must also be adequate space in the yard;
- A soil and drainage test to determine soil type, water infiltration rate and if soil amendments will be necessary;
- Determine the amount of sunshine the location receives for appropriate plants;
- Prior to any digging, an inquiry must be conducted to locate any underground utilities (a free service and required by law). Ontario One Call Service: 1-800-400-2255 www.on1call.com.
- Rural properties will need to ensure that rain gardens are not built near wells or septic tanks/beds.
- It is recommended to check with your local municipal government or conservation authority regarding any grants, permits, and policies.
*Please see our Grants page for information about local subsidies that may help offset costs of installation, plants and materials for your rain garden.
Online gallery of projects
Green Communities Canada
Green Up, Ready for Rain Peterborough
BlueScapingOur Neighbourhoods (PDF guide)
Toronto Region Conservation Authority