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Rain Garden

Discover the role a rain garden can play in an ecosystem and build your own!

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Plan

  • What supplies will you need for your rain garden?
  • How will you build your rain garden?
  • What plants will go in your rain garden?
  • Where will your rain garden be installed, and what permissions do you need?

Do

  • Rain gardens are generally planted in shallow depressions at the bottom of natural slopes.
  • These gardens, full of local shrubs and flowers, use rain runoff as their water source.
  • Not only do they add a hint of beauty to a neighbourhood, they also help to collect rainwater runoff, which can sometimes contain things that may be harmful to your waterways.
  • Find out how to build your own rain garden and plant it in your neighbourhood!
  • Building a rain garden:
    • Your rain garden should be built in a low spot in your yard that is away from the house so you do not damage the foundation. Mark out the spot for your rain garden with string and wooden stakes.Don't forget to mark out where the water will come from.
    • Start digging out your garden - it should be dug to approximately 85cm deep.
    • Fill the hole in with rain garden soil mix - add this to about 60cm deep (so that you have 25cm at the top for plants, mulch and water).  
    • Dig channels from areas of run-off (like gutters) into your rain garden. Place some stones around the area where water will enter your garden so that it does not enter too quickly.
    • On the downhill side of the garden, you should create a small gap to allow for overflow. You should also add some stones here to protect your plants from being washed away.  
    • Add your soil and plants - use native plants to avoid promoting invasive species!
    • You will likely need to water during the summer (especially if it's dry) for the first summer. 
    • Let your garden grow! The great news is that for the most part, rain gardens need very little care. You can add mulch or fertilizer if you wish. 

Review

  • What was the most challenging part of building your rain garden?
  • What was your favourite part of this project?
  • How will your rain garden help the environment?

Keep it Simple

  • What is the water cycle? From the ocean, lakes and ponds, to rain falling from the sky, to the water we flush down the drain—where does it all travel, and how? What happens to dirty water, and how come we can’t drink the rain from puddles? Investigate the movement of water. Consider ways to reduce water use in your community and at home.

Take it Further

  • Which plants and trees normally grow the best near water? How can they help with protecting shorelines, oxygenating of water and preventing flooding? Read up on drought-tolerant trees (sedges vs. grasses), and plant appropriate trees to help regulate water as part of your next Scoutrees planting event.