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Rain Gardens

join the rain garden water quality movement!

Rain gardens and other types of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) are becoming an increasingly common way to improve water quality in the Greater Toledo Lake Erie area. GSI is an approach to managing stormwater runoff that emphasizes infiltration, evapotranspiration, or rain water reuse to mimic natural systems. Since this is a more specialized type of landscaping, proper installation and maintenance require some additional planning. Keep reading for plans, tips, and resources to help make your rain garden a success!  

Select the best plants for your site

You can customize your rain garden to not only improve water quality but also fit it to your own landscape preferences or needs. Do you have a lot of shade in your yard? Do you want to make sure plants don’t get too tall and block your views? Or would you like a bird and butterfly garden? Visit the Toledo Lucas County (TLC) Rain Garden Initiative Native Plants page for species suggestions and information. The Wild Ones Oak Openings Region Chapter is also a great resource for native plant information.

Installation and Maintenance Resources

Native plants and landscapers familiar with rain gardens can sometimes be hard to find, but that should not discourage you from installing a rain garden.  There are organizations that can provide technical assistance to you, including your county soil and water conservation district and the TLC Rain Garden Initiative.  Or, if you’re ready to pursue the project yourself, see below for lists of suppliers and installers to make your garden a reality.

Plant and Soil Suppliers

Wondering where you can find native plants, soil amendments, or drainage stone for your rain garden? Look for an expanding supply of native plants and other supplies at A & J Landscape, and check out additional resources here:

 Native Plant Resources

Hire a Professional

The planning and construction of a small rain garden can usually be a do-it-yourself project; however in some instances, it may be necessary or desirable to hire a professional. You want to make sure the professional you hire is able to design your project to your satisfaction and also fulfill city requirements (if there are any).  When you are looking for a professional, use recommendations from neighbors, online resources and other databases, or consult your local soil and water conservation district. The following are all good questions to ask potential candidates to ensure you will be satisfied with their work:

  • What experience do you have with rain gardens?
  • Are you willing to work with homeowners?
  • Are you knowledgeable about local requirements and permits?
  • Can you help me find an appropriate location and design for my rain garden?
  • Can you help with drainage, infiltration and soil requirements for placing a rain garden on my property

Visit one of our partners, A & J Landscape, for rain garden design and installation expertise!

Maintenance Guides

One great benefit of native plants is that they are low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need any attention.  You will certainly need to maintain your rain garden to keep it functioning properly and visually pleasing.  The TLC Rain Garden Initiative has developed an informative guide to help homeowners with the installation and maintenance of rain gardens. 

additional considerations

When installing a rain garden, you will need to call before work begins to make sure you don't dig into any underground utilities! In Ohio, simply call the Ohio Utilities Protection Service by dialing 811 (or 800-362-2764) at least two days before you plan to start to have the utility companies come out and mark your utilities for free. Michigan residents should contact MISS DIG by dialing 811 (or 800-482-7171) at least three days before you being your project. 

Let others know about your rain garden!

After taking your pledge on the CCCW website, you should also add your project to the interactive map on the TLC Rain Garden Initiative website. Check out rain gardens and other types of GSI that are baing installed by residents, organizations, and businesses in the Greater Toledo Lake Erie area, and let others know that you are doing your part for water quality!


Still have questions?

View the TLC Rain Garden Initiative's frequently asked questions about rain gardens!

Rain Garden FAQs

    Need help selecting plants?

    The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website recommends native species for each state and a variety of situations.

      How does a rain garden work?

      Click here for an animated view of how a rain garden works.