Now that you have determined that a rain garden is right for your site, you are ready to design and build one! These steps will guide you through the process (click on each topic in the flowchart below to view that section):


Gather Tools and Supplies

Design and Build a Rain Garden flowchart Recommended Tools and Supplies:

  • Tape measure
  • Good sharp shovel
  • Rake
  • Carpenter’s level or line level
  • Stakes, marking flags, or garden hose-to establish the layout of the rain garden/bioswale before digging in
  • Biodegradable erosion blanket to stabilize soil where necessary
  • Permanent erosion blanket and 2–3″ gravel/stone for use in areas of high volume/high energy water flow such as the input from a downspout, etc.
  • Well-aged compost (1–2″ × rain garden square footage)
  • Shredded hardwood bark mulch (2–3″ × rain garden square footage)
  • Plants and/or seeds as desired (see Select Plants section for tips on choosing the right plants for your site)

Continue on to Lay It Out and Dig In

Link to Is a Rain Garden Right for Your Site? section Link to Determine Rain Garden Size and Depth section Link to Decide Which Rain Garden Elements to Include section Link to Organize Water Flow section Link to Select Plants section Link to Gather Tools and Supplies section Link to Lay It Out and Dig In section Link to Plant the Rain Garden section Link to Maintain the Rain Garden section