Rain Garden - Make Your Own!

Rain gardens are a type of storm water infrastructure that can be created in your own backyard! Planting native plants in your garden can help reduce your storm water runoff, recharge groundwater, filter water naturally, provide a wildlife habitat, and so much more. For detailed information on rain gardens, please visit https://iiseagrant.org/publications/the-southern-lake-michigan-rain-garden-manual/ to learn more and download a free handbook!


How does a rain garden reduce storm water runoff? When installing a raingarden in your yard, the existing soil is removed and replaced with new soil types. These soils are layered for maximum water retention and filtration. The size of your rain garden determines how much storm water is infiltrated, converting storm water from runoff into groundwater. 

Wherever there are sidewalks, homes, roads and other types of impervious surfaces, storm water cannot infiltrate into the soil to recharge the groundwater table. This is why communities require storm water sewer systems, to manage the storm water runoff and convey it to a nearby pond, river or lake. 

Many urban communities have started to implement rain gardens and bio-swales to help manage and treat storm water runoff in high impervious areas. 

Rain gardens are not only functional, but also very customizable! The handbook has a wide range of native plants, which naturally filter water and provide habitat for local wildlife. 

Native plants are neat for countless reasons! One major benefit of planting native plants around your yard, community or rain garden is that they are self-sustainable. These plants are fully adapted to the climate and soils in this region, allowing them to thrive here without much maintenance. Landscaping that takes care of itself? Sign me up!  

As you take a stroll through a local park or hike at the dunes, take a moment to look at the native plants and see how many you can spot. Growing the awareness of the significance and impact of native plants will encourage homeowners and city planners alike to use these natural resources for storm water management as well as beautiful, sustainable landscaping.