How to Build a Rain Garden

This is an accessible transcript for the above video designed to help people who use screen readers access the information.

  1. Mark out the shape of your rain garden basin and the overall shape of your garden bed.
  2. Cut in the outside edge of your garden bed using an edger or shovel.
  3. Remove grass or cover it with plain cardboard in areas around your rain garden basin.
  4. Dig out your rain garden basin to a depth of 50 – 80 cm, depending on your soil type. My soil is very sandy, so I am only digging to a depth of about 50 cm. As you dig, place the soil around the perimeter of the rain garden to create low berms.
  5. Dig out an inlet so that rain will flow out of your downspout and into your rain garden AND an outlet to allow for any overflow to exit safely. You should now have a rain garden basin, an inlet, and an outlet carved into your garden bed.
  6. Plant larger plants, like shrubs or trees, around your rain garden.
  7. Mix sand and/or compost into your basin to create well draining rain garden soil. Ideal rain garden soil is 60% sand and 40% compost. The amounts of sand and compost you add to your garden will depend on your existing soil type.
  8. Line your inlet and outlet with landscape fabric.
  9. Add a thick layer of mulch to the entire garden and plant remaining plants. Shredded mulch works best. Avoid wood chips which can float away during a rain.
  10. Add rocks to your inlet and outlet to filter out debris and slow the water down. Water your plants regularly and keep the inlet and outlet free of debris and check with your municipality to apply for a stormwater credit.