Q&A: All About Rain Gardens

Adding a rain garden to your landscape is more than a trend. Learn where to build one, what to plant and how a rain garden can benefit the environment in this blog post.

What is a rain garden?

A rain garden is a landscape design that is intended to hold rain and allow water to be released back into the environment slowly. Through a mixture of ornamental grasses and flowering perennials, water is filtered back into the landscape and provides a natural recharge of the water cycle. You can have a garden that reduces your environmental footprint while also increasing the aesthetic of your home.

Where can I put a rain garden?

A rain garden can be planted anywhere in the landscape. The key design staple of a rain garden is to have a small basin for water to collect before it filters back into the ground, so ideally a lower area of the yard, but not a section that floods easily.

During a storm event, the basin collects water or can have water diverted towards it from a downspout. This basin is usually a few inches deeper than the ground and is later filled in with river bed rock and plantings of perennials.

What plants can go into a rain garden?

There is a large variety of different plant material that can be planted in and around a rain garden. It all depends on the sun conditions of your rain garden, but besides that, anything that is okay with wet feet will be happy in the area.

Some plants that are beneficial in filtering water and enjoy wet feet include:

Butterfly Weed in the Etobicoke rain garden
Butterfly Weed in the Etobicoke rain garden

Big Blue Stem Grass
Dappled Willow
Lilac
Blue Flag Iris
Joe Pye Weed
Black Eyed Susan
Beech Trees
Coneflowers
Japanese Forest Grass
Bee Balm
Daylilies
Butterfly Weed
Cedars
Milkweed
Hydrangeas

How does a rain garden benefit the environment?

Rain gardens are designed to reduce the amount of water run off that is leaving the landscape and not infiltrating into the ground.

This allows for a natural recharge of the water cycle. By diverting downspouts into a rain garden, natural landscapes are given a chance to re-charge from watering over time of drought, while offering a new opportunity for home owners to transform traditional storm swales at the bottom of the driveway or wet area of the yard.

The Globe and Mail has a great article about rain gardens transforming flooding backyards into beautiful landscapes.

Want to learn more about rain gardens? Stop by our Etobicoke location and take a look at our rain garden made with Ecosource!

Rain garden filled with Coneflowers and Black Eyed Susans at Sheridan Nurseries Etobicoke
Rain garden filled with Coneflowers and Black Eyed Susans at Sheridan Nurseries Etobicoke