Rain Gardens


A rain garden is a colourful, perennial planting designed to capture and use rain water that may otherwise runoff and contribute to local overland flooding.

It is a garden in a shallow depression.  It can be large or small.  A rain garden is not a wetland and should not hold water for more than a few hours, or a day at most.  It is NOT a breeding ground for mosquitoes and can actually help reduce mosquito numbers as it helps reduce standing water in nearby ditches.

Check out our most recent innovative take on the rain garden at Vita Community Child Care Center Inc. in Vita MB under our blog section

Rains in the southeast fall hard and fast.  Runoff from roofs, lawns, and driveways may overload storm sewers, drainage ditches and streams. Overland flooding can often result, causing damage to homes and infrastructure. As this runoff enters the drainage network, it carries with it nutrients, sediment, oil, gas, heavy metals etc.  Rain gardens help reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials that enter the water system and degrade water quality.  Rain gardens also reduce the need for supplemental water on your lawn.  They regenerate the groundwater by allowing water to soak into the soil, rather than run-off. Locate a rain garden to intercept runoff from roofs, yards, driveways, or streets.  It should not be built within three meters (10ft) of foundation walls or on poorly drained sites.  A rain garden should not be built over buried utilities and should not impede drivers’ vision.  Do not construct a rain garden where prohibited by local bylaws or where subject to disturbance.

How a rain garden works

  1. Down spouts direct water from your roof to your garden.
  2. Berms keep the water within the garden and prevent overflowing.
  3. Deep roots absorb the water and help it penetrate into the soil.

 

How to plant a rain garden

Use potted or bare root plants rather than seeds.  Plant from June to September.  Place the more water tolerant species near the bottom, and drought tolerant near the edges.  Plant spacing will vary depending upon species and desired appearance.  Generally, 15-18 inches between plants is adequate.  Consider mature size when spacing plants.

What to plant in a Rain Garden

Rain gardens can be planted with native or non-native species of flowers, grasses, shrubs or trees.  Do not plant species considered invasive.  Consider the growth habit and mature size of the species.  Some native species are adapted to local conditions and may be more tolerant of diseases and drought, compared to non-native species.  A diversity of plant species will provide an array of colour and texture, and attract a variety of insects and wildlife.  For best results, always use locally adapted species and varieties.

Some Native Plants

(make sure to check out their moisture requirements and position accordingly)

Name Latin Sun Moisture Height (cm) Bloom Time
Three flowered avens Geum triflorum sun  dry to medium 15-40 May/June
Dotted blazing star Liatris punctata sun  dry to medium 20-30 August
Yarrow Achillea millifolium sun dry to medium 30-90 June to August
Pussy toes Antennaria parvifolia sun dry to medium 41774 May
Pasture sage Artemesia frigida sun dry to medium 30-50 August
Prairie sage Artemisia ludoviciana sun dry to medium 30-50 August
Whorled milkweed Ascleias verticillata sun dry to medium 20-50 July
Harebell Campanula rotundifolia sun or part shade dry to medium 20-50 July
Purple coneflower Echinacea angustifolia sun dry to medium 30-45 July
Gaillardia Gaillardia aristata sun dry to medium 30-80 July
Gumweed Grindelia squarrosa sun dry to medium 30-50 August/September
Wild flax Linium lewisii sun dry to medium 25-50 June
Upland white aster Oligoneuron album sun dry to medium 20-30 August
Indian breadroot Psoralea esculenta sun dry to medium 15-30 June
Crocus Pulsatilla patens sun dry to medium 15-20 April/May
Coneflower Ratibida columnifera sun dry to medium 30-60 July/August
Prairie rose Rosa arkansana sun dry to medium 20-40 June/July
Low goldenrod Solidago missoouriensis sun dry to medium 30-50 July/August
Showy goldenrod Solidago nemoralis sun dry to medium 30-50 August/September
Western silvery aster Symphyotrchum sericeum sun dry to medium 30-50 August
Blue grama Bouteloua gracilis sun dry to medium 20-50 July/August
Sheep fescue Festuca ovina saximontana sun dry to medium 15-30 June
June grass Koeleria macrantha sun dry to medium 15-40 June
Leadplant Amorha canescens sun dry to medium 30-90 June
Western sandcherry Prunus pumila besseyi sun dry to medium 15-40 May
Smooth sumac Rhus glabra sun dry to medium 200-400
Buffaloberry Sheperdia argentea sun dry to medium 300-500
Western viring’s bower Clematis ligusticifolia sun or shade dry to medium
Saskatoon Amelanchier alnifolia sun dry to medium, well drained 300-400 May
Silverberry Eleagnus commutata sun dry to medium, well drained 200-400 June
Pincherry Prunus pensylvanica sun or part shade dry to medium, well drained 300-500 May
Wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa sun dry to moist 60-90 July
Pink onion Allium stellatum sun dry to moist 15-30 August
White prairie clover Daelea candida sun dry to moist 20-50 July
Purple prairie clover Dalea purpurea sun dry to moist 20-50 July
Alumroot Heuchera richardsonii sun or part shade dry to moist 30-50 June to August
Blue eyed grass Sisyrinchium montanum sun dry to moist 15-30 June
Stiff goldenrod Oligoneuron rigidum sun dry to moist 40-75 August
Many flowered aster Symphyotrichum ericoides sun dry to moist 20-60 August/September
Smooth aster Symphyotrichum laeve sun or part shade dry to moist 60-120 August/September
Crowfoot violet Viola pedatifida sun or part shade dry to moist 41932 June
False sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides scabra sun or part shade dry to moist 60-90 July/August
Sarsaparilla Ariala nudicaulis part shade or shade dry to moist 15-50 June
Side oats grama Bouteloua curtipendula sun dry to moist 50-75 July/August
Buffalo grass Buchloe dactyloides sun dry to moist 5-10 July/August
Canada wild rye Elymus canadensis sun or part shade dry to moist 100-150 June
Switch grass Panicum virgatum sun dry to moist 80-120 August
Purple oat grass Schizachne purpurascens part shade or shade dry to moist 50-100 June
Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium sun dry to moist 30-70 August
Indian grass Sorghastrum nutans sun dry to moist 100-150 August
Prairie dropseed Sporobolus heterolepsis sun dry to moist 30-70 August
Green needle grass Stipa viridula sun dry to moist 50-100 June
Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus var pauciflorus sun or shade dry to moist 30-75 June
Western snowberry Symphoricarpos occidentalis sun or shade dry to moist 50-90 June
Arrowwood Viburnum rafinesquianum sun or shade dry to moist 90-150 June
Hazelnut Corylus americana sun dry to moist, well drained 100-300 May
Bush honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera sun or shade dry to moist, well drained 50-100 June/July
Giant hyssop Agastache foeniculum sun or part shade medium to moist 45-90 July/August
Pearly everlasting Anaphalis margaritacea sun or part shade medium to moist 30-60 July to September
Canada anemone Anemone canadensis sun or part shade medium to moist 20-50 June
Cutleaf anemone Anemone multifida sun or part shade medium to moist 20-40 June
Indian hemp Apocynum cannabiunum sun medium to moist 20-120 July
Wild columbine Aquilegia canadensis sun or shade medium to moist 45-90 June
Dwarf milkweed Asclepias ovalifolia sun medium to moist 20-50 July
Canada milkvetch Astragalus canadensis sun medium to moist 60-90 June/July
Fireweed Chamerion angustifolium angustifolium sun medium to moist 90-150 July
Philadelphia fleabane Erigeron philadelphicus sun or part shade medium to moist 30-45 July
Wild strawberry Fragaria glauca sun or part shade medium to moist 15-20 June
Northern bedstraw Galium boreale sun or part shade medium to moist 20-50 June
Narrowleaf sunflower Helianthusmaximilliani sun medium to moist 90-150 August
Helenium Helenium autumnale sun medium to moist 30-80 August
Meadow blazing star Liatris ligulistylis sun medium to moist 45-70 August
Red lily Lilium philadelphicum sun or part shade medium to moist 20-50 late June
Black eyed susan Rudbeckia hirta sun medium to moist 30-60 July
Tall coneflower Rudbeckia laciniata sun or shade medium to moist 100-200 late July
New england aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae sun or part shade medium to moist 75-120 August/September
Culver’s root Veronicastrum virginicum sun medium to moist 90-120 late July
Early blue violet Viola adunca sun or part shade medium to moist 41769 May
Canada goldenrod Solidago canadensis sun medium to moist 45-80 August/September
Heartleaf alexander Zizia aptera sun medium to moist 30-60 June
Golden alexander Zizia aurea sun or part shade medium to moist 30-60 June
Smooth camas Zygadenus elegans sun or part shade medium to moist 30-60 June/July
Wild ginger Asarum canadensis part shade or shade medium to moist 41927 June
Sweet scented bedstraw Galium triflorum part shade or shade medium to moist 15-20 June
Two leaf Solomon’s seal Mainanthemum canadense part shade or shade medium to moist 41927 June
Tall bluebells Mertensia paniculatata part shade or shade medium to moist 30-60 June
Solomon’s seal Polygonatum biflorum part shade or shade medium to moist 45-90 June
Star flowered Solomon’s seal Smilacina stellata part shade or shade medium to moist 20-50 June
Downy yellow violet Viola pubescens part shade or shade medium to moist 15-30 June
Western Canada violet Viola canadensis part shade or shade medium to moist 20-40 June
Awned wheatgrass Agropyron subsecudum sun medium to moist 50-100 June – cool season grass
Giant wild rye Elymus cinereus sun or shade medium to moist 90-120 June – cool season grass
Indigo bush Amorpha fruiticosa sun medium to moist 200-300 June
Dwarf false indigo Amorpha nana sun medium to moist 30-50 June
Grey dogwood Cornus racemosa sun or shade medium to moist 200 June
Hawthorn Crataegus chrysocarpa sun medium to moist 200-400 June
Prickly rose Rosa acicularis sun or part shade medium to moist 100-200 June
Wild raspberry Rubus idaeus sun or part shade medium to moist 100-200 June
Showy mountain ash Sorbus decora sun or shade medium to moist 500-800 June
Narrowleaf meadowsweet Spirea alba sun or part shade medium to moist 50-100 July
Nannyberry Viburnum lentago sun or shade medium to moist 300-400 June
Highbush cranberry Viburnum trilobum sun or shade medium to moist 200-400 June
Bittersweet Celastrus scandens sun or part shade medium to moist
Wild hops Humulus lupulus sun or part shade medium to moist
Virginia creeper Parthenosissus quinquefolia sun or part shade medium to moist
Wild grape Vitis riparia sun or shade medium to moist
Mountain maple Acer spicatum sun or shade medium to moist, well drained 300-700
Big bluestem Andropogon gerardii sun or part shade medium to very moist 100-175 August – warm season grass
Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata sun medium to wet 90-120 July to September
Turtlehead Chelone glabra sun or shade medium to wet 60-90 August
Flat topped aster Doellingeria umbellatus sun or part shade medium to wet 90-120 August/September
Joe pye Eupatorium maculatum sun or part shade medium to wet 100-150 August
Flattop goldenrod Euthamia graminifolia sun medium to wet 30-60 August
Closed gentian Gentian andrewsii sun or part shade medium to wet 30-80 August
Wild mint Mentha arvensis villosa sun medium to wet 20-50 July/August
Tall meadow rue Thalictrum dasycarpum sun or part shade medium to wet 100-150 July
Blue vervain Verbena hastata sun or part shade medium to wet 90-130 July/August
Ironweed Veronia fasciculata sun medium to wet 90-150 August
Silverweed Argentina anserina sun or shade medium to wet 41774 June to August
Ostrich fern Matteuccia struthiopteris part shade or shade medium to wet 60-90
Tufted hairgrass Deschampsia caespitosa sun or part shade medium to wet 60-120 June – cool season grass
Speckled alder Almus rugosa sun or part shade medium to wet 200-400 April/May
Red osier dogwood Cornus sericea sericea sun or shade medium to wet 100-300 June
Wild black currant Ribes americanum sun or shade medium to wet 90-120 May
White cedar Thuja occidentalis sun or shade medium to wet 10-12m June
Wild plum Prunus americana sun or part shade medum to moist 300-500 May
Sweet flag Acorus americanus sun moist to wet 60-120
Marsh marigold Caltha palustris sun or part shade moist to wet 20-50 May
Saline shooting star Dodecatheon pauciflorum sun moist to wet 20-30 June
Wild iris Iris versicolor sun moist to wet 30-80 June
Obedient plant Physosteigia virginiana sun or shade moist to wet 60-90 August
Northern bog violet Viola nephrophylla sun or part shade moist to wet 15-20 May
Touch me not Impatiens biflora part shade or shade moist to wet 60-120 July/August
Bebb’s sedge Carex bebbii sun moist to wet 30-40 June – cool season grass
Sweetgrass hierochloe odorata sun moist to wet 30-60 June – cool season grass
Marsh reed grass Calamogrostis canadensis sun moist to wet 90-150 June – cool season grass

 

 

Plants suitable for Rain Gardens

  • Bergamot
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Daisy
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Blazing Star (Liatris)
  • Aster
  • Obedient Plant
  • Little Bluestem
  • Anemone
  • Blanket Flower
  • Russian Sage
  • Peony
  • Spirea
  • Daylily
  • Iris
  • Hydrangea
  • Sedges
  • Rushes

SRRCD Rain Garden Program

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District will provide $500.00 in funding to homeowners who complete a successful rain garden on their property.  Successful applicants will be required to complete a rain garden worksheet before beginning their project.

Rain Garden Application*

Rain Garden Worksheet*

 *Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these PDF files. If you don’t already have it installed, you can download it here.

 Rain Garden Success Stories