Q1: Is a rain garden expensive?

With family and friends helping with labor, it doesn’t have to be. Rain gardens cost about the same as other perennial flower gardens, and are less expensive than replanting annuals every year.  Installing one yourself can go for $3–5/square foot. Use a landscaper to plan and install, and you’re looking at $10–15/square foot or more. Plants are the single most expensive item.

Q2: Is a rain garden a pond?

Rain gardens are designed to hold water for no more than 24-48 hours. Unlike ponds, you don’t need costly pumps, electricity, or filters. In fact, a rain garden is a filter for the water that runs off of your property’s impervious surfaces.

Q3: Do they require a lot of maintenance?

Rain gardens can be maintained with little effort after the  plants are established. If you use native plants, they adapt well to their natural surroundings, and don’t need fertilizers or pesticides. While your natives are establishing their roots, water them every other day or so for two to three weeks, or until you see that they’re thriving. After that, you’ll never need to water them except during a prolonged dry spell. Basic long-term maintenance includes mulching and weeding.

Q4: Are they a breeding ground for mosquitoes?

No! Mosquitoes need 2-3 days to hatch. Standing water in the rain garden will soak in within 24-48 hours after most storms. Properly installed, your rain garden shouldn’t hold water long enough for mosquito larvae to complete their 7-to-12-day life cycle. Alongside this, rain gardens attract dragonflies, who find mosquitoes quite tasty.

Q5: Why should I use native plants?

 It is recommended to use native plants because they have the most adaptability to survive in the are.. Natives have adapted to our climate and are much better at handling the periodic inundation (getting their feet wet) that goes along with a rain garden. They’ll also save you the time and money of replanting every year, and offer much greater wildlife value.

Q6: Do rain gardens function in the winter?  

Even though your plants will be dormant, in the winter gardens can still help slow down water movement and enable it to be absorbed into the ground. Water may remain longer, particularly when the ground is frozen, but that’s not a problem in winter.

Q7: Can a rain garden be too large or too small?

No, size is dependent upon your design. You can size your garden to handle all the rain that normally falls near the property or in a specific location. You do not  have to plan gardens to capture all of the rain water from your house. For example, capturing water from a single downspout will help.

 Q8: Can I install one myself?

Although it may take a little more digging to create the depression, rain gardens are no harder to install than a traditional perennial landscape.