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Watershed Education: Rain Gardens

How to Build a Large Rain Garden

Step-By-Step Guide: Large Rain Gardens

For community greenspaces, schools, business parks, churches, and other facilities with large drainage areas.

Choose a Location
In this case, the rain garden is in a community greenspace, 30 feet in front of a concrete culvert, which drains the parking lot above.
Identify and mark rain garden boundaries.
Remove the Sod
The sod can be used elsewhere on your property.
Remove sod.
Remove Excess Soil
Since there is so much excess soil to remove, most of the soil will have to be hauled off to a disposal facility. A small fraction of the excess soil will be used to create the berm.
Remove excess soil.Dispose of soil not needed for berm.
Create a Berm
Soil should be bermed on the lowerside of the rain garden to stop water from exiting the garden and allowing the water to soak into the soil.
Pile soil on lower side of garden to create a berm.Completed berm.
Add Soil Amendments
The amount of amendments will depend on the size of your garden. When finished adding sand, compost, and/or manure, there should be a distance of approximately 5-6 inches from the surface of the surrounding land. This space allows for 2-3 inches of mulch and extra water holding capacity.
Add amendments.Add amendments.
Till in Soil Amendments
Till in soil amendments.Till in soil amendments.
Spot the Plants
Before digging and planting, place the plants in the location you want them to be.
Arrange plants how you want them.
Plant plants in chosen locations.
Cover with a 2-3 inch layer of shredded hardwood mulch.
Completed rain garden. Rain garden in the winter.
*Note: The plants in this garden were planted after they had gone dormant for the season.

How to Build a Rain Garden