A rain garden in a front yard that helps reduce water pollution to creeks in Raleigh.

Rain Gardens

What you need to know


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How it Works Best Location Plants to Use Benefits

How it Works

A rain garden, or bioretention area, is a planted area that collects and cleans rainwater coming from paved surfaces, like roads, sidewalks, roofs, driveways and patios. The plants and soil in the garden slow down the water and filter out pollution before it reaches a storm drain or creek. 

Rain gardens stay dry when it isn't raining. You'll typically see this bowl-shaped garden in someone's yard. 

Bioretention Area

A bioretention area is a more engineered feature. You’ll see these on road and commercial projects. These features can be used to meet regulatory requirements.

Best Location

  • Areas that collect a lot of rainwater 
  • Where water naturally flows to a stream or the stormwater system
  • In soils that quickly absorb water
  • Placed at least 10 feet away from a building

What to avoid: 

  • Putting the garden near underground utilities
  • Using the garden to solve flooding issues

How rain gardens and bioretention areas are built varies by location and need. 

Plants to Use

There are several plants native to North Carolina that work well in rain gardens. 

View the list

Benefits

  • Beautiful landscaping 
  • Reduces time maintaining your lawn
  • Protects the environment
  • A good community space or outdoor amenity

This rain garden collects 1,100 gallons of stormwater runoff from the property's roof. This helps protect a stream called Pigeon House Branch from water pollution. 

This is a backyard rain garden that collects stormwater runoff from the property's roof and sidewalk when it rains. The plants and soil in the garden help protect Walnut Creek from water pollution.

One of two rain gardens on a property in central Raleigh that collect a total of 1,900 gallons of stormwater when it rains.The rain gardens help protect Crabtree Creek from water pollution. 

Contact

 

Justin Harcum
Project Manager
919-996-3965

Department:
Engineering Services
Service Categories:
Stormwater
Related Services:
Apply for Raleigh Rainwater RewardsGreen Stormwater Infrastructure

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