Rain Garden

WoodmanI had an opportunity last week to work with a group of dedicated volunteers from a variety of agencies including the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and some of my fellow Master Gardeners to create a rain garden.

The rain garden was for the Woodman Institute Museum which was dealing with dampness in the basement limiting use of that space.

After securing a donation of a professionally sized dehumidifier and installing new guttering, next on their to-do-list was a rain garden that would help divert water from three gutters on the back side of the building. Any runoff from the rain garden would then be cleansed of pollutants and diverted into the nearby storm sewer.

The soil was removed from the garden area and dumped on a tarp. The removed soil, compost, and green sand were mixed and then used to refill the space. After the initial removal of soil, the center depth measurement was 12″ and was refilled to 7″. The center was raked and the sides rounded prior to planting.


Once the plants were installed, mulch was put on top.


This is one of the three down spouts feeding into the rain garden.


The finished garden is quite lovely as well as providing a great service to a wonderful non-profit.


Note: If you or anyone you know are planning on creating a rain garden this size or larger, I’d highly suggest a piece of equipment to help excavate the space, mix soil and compost, and then refill. The very large backhoe used was able to complete the initial excavation easily but was unable to maneuver in the space to mix and refill. Translation – a lot, and I mean a LOT, of hand shoveling, wheel barreling and raking was required. 🙂

A list of plants used was not available at time of posting, but when I get access to it I’ll add it here.

Do you conserve water? Rain barrels, dry creek beds, or rain gardens on your property?



About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
This entry was posted in Gardening and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Rain Garden

  1. Joyce says:

    My grandparents had a rain barrel on their property and used it for watering. They also composted eggs shells and vegetable scraps. Their large city lot was like a mini farm and they utilized many tricks to get the best yield from their plants.
    Very impressive the way botanists can solve problems with strategic planting like this rain garden and highway median shrubbery etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny isn’t it – here we are doing the same things our grandparents did and they still work. We put our two rain barrels away this morning, I have a large bag of egg shells on the counter, and the vegetable scraps go either to the chickens or the compost bin. Love it.


  2. I have a rain barrel that needs to be installed/added to our chicken coop roof. This looks like a really fun project to be involved in Judy. Hope to see it next year after the plants take hold!


    • We have two rain barrels next to our barn and they get runoff from a small piece of guttering we installed. They are hooked together with one a little higher than the other. The rain runs into the first one and then when it is full it starts filling the second one. Works great. We just emptied them this morning to put away for the winter.


  3. I was wondering, Would you and these master gardeners have time to come and design mine too? gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurin Lindsey says:

    What a great project. We get lots of rain in Houston but there are dry spells. I try to capture rain in both barrels and rain gardens. I like to keep rain on my property and let it soak in while still diverting it away from my pier and beam house. We meet so many people (potential clients) that have drainage issues. I love doing dry creek beds that are really swales to channel water during a big rain. Getting our gumbo soil to be healthy by using only organic fertilizer, compost and encouraging a soil culture you end up with nice crumbly soil teaming with life and big fat earth worms. This means the water goes deep : ) I love


    • I’ve done three dry creek beds and we just emptied our rain barrels today to put away for the winter. Sounds like you have a great working plan for your rain water. We have family in Houston and spent many a fun vacations there and at Galveston.


  5. I don’t have a rain garden or rain barrels but I like to think I conserve water by having very little lawn and shallow trenches marking the edges of most beds and borders.


  6. Judith @ Lavender Cottage says:

    Rain gardens are quite popular, why waste a wet spot when the appropriate plants will thrive well there. I have 3 rain barrels – one for each downspout and use them religiously. We’re on clay so often I have to be careful not to plant anything that prefers dry soil.
    Your project is to be commended and I’d love to see the plant list, a few I recognize.


  7. Karen says:

    Hip, hip, hooray…thank you and everyone for a great job!


  8. Grandma Kc says:

    Rain? What is thing “rain” that you talk about? I seriously can’t remember the last time it actually rained although they say there is a 20% chance it might rain late Friday or early Saturday. As for rain barrels they wouldn’t be allowed if we had any rain to capture — standing water breeds mosquitoes and West Nile Virus is a problem around here. If we get rain this weekend I will take pictures so that I can remember what it looks like!
    LOVE the gardens you guys did. You must have been exhausted!


  9. WOW I’ll say a lot of work…Master Glutton For Punishment Gardener 🙂


  10. Denzil says:

    Was all that accomplished in the course of a single day? Quite an achievement – not only for the work but also for the preparation and logistics. End results looks great!


Comments are closed.