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How to Build a Rain Garden in Your Yard

Dan This Land of Ours

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In this installment of rain gardens, Cathy Isom gives you a few tips about how to build a rain garden in your yard. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

How to Build a Rain Garden in Your Yard

When you determine the right size and shape of your rain garden, spray paint or lay rope along the perimeter so that you know where to dig. Before you begin to dig, it’s easiest if you kill any plants where the rain garden will be. Take a sheet of plastic, some old carpet or landscaping fabric and place it over the area in your design. You also need to create a way for the water to enter. This can be an extended rain gutter downspout, a swale, or a landscaped depression.

Digging a 300-foot square area to 12-inches deep is going to take two people an average of six hours according to Wisconsin extension, so be prepared if you plan to tackle the project yourself. You can always rent an excavator to save yourself some work.

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The sides of the rain garden should slope up, but the bottom of the rain garden needs to be level in order to drain properly, so use a carpenter’s level to double-check.

You’ll end up with a lot of soil after excavating, and there are a few ways to use that earth. One way is to make berms on the downside of the garden. A berm will help keep water from overflowing during a heavy downpour. Pile up the leftover earth on the downside of your rain garden.

I’m Cathy Isom…