What is a rain garden?

A rain garden is a landscaped area planted with native plants and flowers that soaks up rainwater. The garden fills with a few inches of rain water that come off of the roof of a house or building during a storm. After the storm, the water slowly soaks into the ground instead of running off the land into a storm sewer or waterway. Compared with a grassed lawn area, a rain garden allows up to 30% more water to be absorbed.

Are rain gardens hard to maintain?

To keep maintenance low, native plants are best to plant in a rain garden. Native plants are well adapted to their natural surroundings and do not require a lot of maintenance, fertilizers or pesticides. The bulk of rain garden maintenance involves periodic watering and weeding.

Will I need to water my rain garden?

You will need to water the rain garden during the first one or two growing seasons until the plants become established. About an inch of water a week is a good rule of thumb. In later years, the garden will only need to be watered during prolonged dry periods.

Are rain gardens expensive to build?

If you build the rain garden yourself, the main cost is typically the plants and mulch. Choosing smaller plants -- called plugs -- and buying plants and mulch in bulk can help reduce the cost. The average rain garden will cost almost nothing if you do the work yourself and use plants from other parts of your landscaping or receive cuttings from friends or family. City Utilities offers an incentive program to help offset costs for Fort Wayne residents.

Is a rain garden a breeding ground for mosquitoes?

No. Mosquitoes require at least seven days to lay and hatch eggs. In fact, properly designed rain gardens are often mosquito death traps because standing water will only remain for a few hours after a storm. Any remaining water should soak into the ground in less than a day.

Will a rain garden cause water to seep into my basement?

Wet basements are commonly caused by improper grading and drainage around a house foundation. For example, a downspout may empty right onto the ground next to the house or the surface of the yard may slope toward the house. A rain garden can be used to direct water away from the house foundation by routing downspouts toward the garden instead of letting them discharge near the house foundation.

Catching Rain umbrella