How to Make Your Own Rain Garden For Residents of Missouri:

1. Decide where to put your rain garden (DO NOT PLAN IT ANYWHERE WITHIN 10 FT OF YOUR HOUSE AS THERE MAY BE FOUNDATION WITHIN THAT RANGE!) and how big you want it to be. Keep in mind that rain gardens perform best when located near downspouts or in low lying areas that water naturally collects in.

The location of our rain garden.
2. Call 1-800-DIG-RITE and potentially your utility companies (Missouri American Water, Laclede Gas, Ameren UE) to make sure the area you plan to make into your rain garden is safe for digging.

3. If possible, direct your downspouts into the raingarden. You can always add more downspouts if you need them. If your downspout releases the water above ground, you will need splash rocks to disperse the water into the garden without eroding the soil. If down spout goes underground to release its water, make sure there is a fair amount of room between its release spot and your rain garden so that it does not flood in really heavy downpours.

*If you already have a ditch in your yard or an area where water naturally collects, the next step is not necessary.*

4. Begin digging a 4-8 foot deep hole and try to keep the bottom flat. Make sure that when you start digging you are at least 10 feet away from your house to avoid hitting the foundation.

5. Begin planting and use gravel when done to prevent weeds and keep the soil in place until the plants establish themselves. Water the bed once a week with 1 inch of water until the plants are established. Pull weeds and add more gravel as needed.


Diagram of many rain gardens.

How to Make Your Own Rain Garden For Residents of Other Continents:

No matter where you are in the world, even YOU can plant a rain garden…

In an effort to promote rain gardens worldwide, Team LEAF has compiled several lists of native species, organized first by continent, then by type. These lists are by no means comprehensive, as there are a number of other species that would be appropriate for a rain garden in your area. Additionally, since each continent has an incredibly wide range of climate and geography, some of the species listed for your continent may be more appropriate than others due to your specific region. Team LEAF recommends checking with your nearest department of conservation and local nurseries before finalizing a list of species. That being said, the plants listed below are a great place to get started!

These species have been categorized as herbaceous plants, grasses, shrubs, or trees. Also mentioned is the moisture tolerance, ranging from wet to dry. It may at first seem counter-intuitive to include plants that can tolerate prolonged periods without water in a rain garden. However, it is important to incorporate a variety of plants to prepare for the various types of natural events that might occur, including an extended dry period.

You will also find plant size-and in some cases color, bloom period, and sun requirements of the species-to assist with your rain garden design. Happy planting!

North American Rain Garden Plants

European Rain Garden Plants

Asian Rain Garden Plants

Australian Rain Garden Plants


Clayden, Andy, and Nigel Dunnett. Rain Gardens: Managing water sustainably in the garden and designed landscape.
Timber Press, Inc., 2007.

Romanowski, Nick. Aquatic and Wetland Plants: a field guide for non-tropical Australia. UNSW Press, 1998.

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