1. How can I test the soil myself to see if my yard is suitable for a rain garden to be planted?

One simple experiment you can do is to choose a location that is on flat ground and is not too close to your house. Test the ground by digging a hole and fill the hole with water. Leave it overnight to see if it drains. Check the hole the next day and see if the water has filtered into the soil. If it hasn’t been absorbed into the earth then that spot is not good to create  a rain garden as your garden will need soil that can help the water drain into the soil.

  1. Are there any shapes for a rain garden that could be recommended for first timers?

There are no such fixed shapes. The size and shape of your rain garden is determined largely by the size of your yard and living space within that area. May rain garden designers suggest a kidney shaped garden as it looks nice.

  1. Could you suggest a place where I could get plants for my rain garden?

You could head to your local nursery as that would be the best place to purchase any native plants. The people working there would be able to suggest other plant varieties you could use in your rain garden. Choose plants that will also attract birds and butterflies.

  1. Why should the rain garden be placed at a distance from the house?

It should be located at least ten feet away from the foundation of your house with it sloping away from the house. This is so the rainwater runoff can be directed to the garden from the roofs and downspout. The gravity will take the water away from the house and away from areas that it could collect and stagnate and drain into the rain garden. Your garden should be at least 6 inches deep with a berm on the downhill side.

  1. What is the function of a rain garden?

A Rain garden helps to reduce the pollution in many water bodies like lakes, rivers, creeks and streams. It also enables the ground water to be replenished and to contain the rain water on your property so that you do not have to irrigate your garden as much. A rain garden also acts as a haven for many creatures like birds and butterflies that will flock to the natural foliage your rain garden will create. It also helps to beautify the landscape in your yard.

  1. Is there any particular way a rain garden should be designed?

A rain garden is categorized into three zones – wet, middle and transitional. This division of areas makes it easy to determine what kings of plants should be planted in which sections to enable the drainage of the water into the soil more effectively. Using the right plant is essential for your rain garden to work. It would be good idea o read up the best plants to use for each zone.