Rain Gardens

Rain gardens, one aspect of bioretention, can be beautiful. They are a way to potentially increase property values, avoid flooding, attract pollinators and other backyard friendly creatures, clean water, and add to one’s sense of community and beauty. They are used  not only in residential areas, but in commercial and industrial developments as well.

But, if you want or need a rain garden, where do you start?

Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington Homeowners - Design your landscape to protect our streams, lakes, bays, and wetlands

WSU Extension Rain Garden Page
Rain Garden resources from the Kitsap Extension of the Washington State University
City of Tacoma Rain Garden Page


As the popularity of rain gardens increase, more and more organizations have dedicated their resources to learning more about what makes the ideal rain garden work.

Research from the Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center

Site Planning and Design

Not every rain garden will work with every site. There are many documents and websites illustrating how to determine what installation will work best for you.

Funding and Financing Sources

In some cases, there are grants and other funds available for the installation of rain gardens to help offset the costs and make them affordable to most everyone.

Please visit the Funding, Financing, and Foundations webpage.

Compost and Soils

The soil is a major component in a properly functioning rain garden. The wrong soil mix can negatively impact the rain garden's lifespan and ability to properly filter stormwater.

Plant Selection

Proper planting is what makes a rain garden so beautiful. Choosing the proper plants for the site reduces the amount of maintenance and increases the effectiveness of the rain garden.


Just like any landscape element, rain gardens need maintenance. In addition to pruning overgrown vegetation and weeding out unwanted plants, designing a rain garden with its future maintenance in mind will greatly decrease the long-term effort in keeping an installation healthy and effective.

Helpful Guides:
Rain Garden Care: A Guide for Residents and Community Organizations
Rain Garden App

Helpful Organizations, links, and websites

Other useful Information

Case Studies