University of Maryland Extension

Rain Gardens

What is a Rain Garden?

rain garden

A rain garden is a planted depression in the landscape that collects and allows rainwater runoff from hard surfaces to be absorbed. Rain gardens are planted with native plants, and include a soil media and mulch. Rain gardens typically are used to reduce residential rooftop runoff or impervious surfaces on residential property.

Rain gardens offer multiple benefits to the community and the local environment, including:

  • Reduced flooding and erosion
  • Pollution prevention
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Enhanced wildlife habitat
  • Improved aesthetics; and
  • Increased property values.

Learn more about rain gardens here.

Build a Rain Garden with the Rain Garden App

The Rain Garden app (external link) developed by The Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Connecticut walks homeowners through each step of rain garden installation.

The app, which is now available in Maryland for iPhone and soon Android phones, assists the user in design, plant selection, and installation of a rain garden in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. 

The app includes video tutorials to walk the owner through each step in designing and installing a rain garden. A host of tools including a garden sizing calculator, sizing map, soil drainage map, cost calculator, and Miss Utility phone line help homeowners make important decisions about rain garden implementation.
Choosing plants for a rain garden can be challenging, but the embedded plant catalog, which is adapted to each state's recommended species, will make the selection process simple.

Short Video Instructions for Rain Garden Installation

Are you interested in installing a rain garden? Check out this series of short videos that will will walk you through installing a rain garden from start to finish! If you still want help, attend a rain garden workshop near you or contact your watershed specialist for more information.

These videos were produced by Maryland Sea Grant Extension for Angie's List and for Maryland Sea Grant stakeholders, with funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Joe King filmed and edited the video.
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