Hot Topics - Rain Gardens: Beautify your Landscaping while Improving Water Quality! 

​July 2017

What is a Rain Garden?

  • A rain garden is a shallow garden planted with

    flood-tolerant plants

    intended to

    collect and filter stormwater runoff

    . Pollutants are collected by water run off and can eventually make their way into our waterways and lakes. These pollutants compromise the water quality and aquatic life. Rain gardens can

    help filter out the harmful nutrients

    before they make their way to various water-ways. 
  • According to the EPA, more than


    of all water pollutants come from those carried by stormwater run off. Rain gardens are effective at filtering


    of nutrients and chemical pollutants and


    of sediment from stormwater flowing into them. That is

    30% more effective

    than lawn turf! 

How do Rain Gardens Work?

  • Water run-off from hard surfaces (roofs, driveways, and streets) pick up harmful nutrients found in fertilizer, animal waste,  motor oil, and other auto fluids. The rain garden plants

    help the filtration

    of these pollutants
  • The filtered water is then

    absorbed into the soil and enters the ground water

    instead of flowing into the storm drain or local water ways. 

What are the Benefits of Rain Gardens?

  • Remove standing water
  • Attract butterflies and birds
  • Low-maintenance
  • Conserve water
  • Filter runoff pollution 
  • Recharge groundwater
  • Protect rivers, streams, and lakes
  • Assist in erosion control

What are Common Rain Garden Plants?

Rain gardens usually consist of native wildflowers and grasses. They are

drought and flood tolerant

. Their deep roots filter run-off and

prevent erosion.

They also provide a

natural habitat

for butterflies and birds. 

Some of the common rain garden plants seen throughout the Waconia community include:
  • Rough Blazing Star
  • Marsh Milkweed
  • Little Blue Stem
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Prairie Smoke
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Butterfly Flower
  • New England Aster
  • Tall Meadow Rue

How do I Start a Rain Garden?

There are many resources available to help you design and construct a rain garden on your property. Carver County also has a cost-sharing program currently in place for water quality projects, such as rain gardens. 

Check back monthly for a new hot topic and click here to see articles from previous months!