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Together We Can Make a Difference
What is it?
How does it work?
See an example
Can I make one?
Which plants should I use?
does the garden need to be?
Is it expensive?
gardens provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes?
How can I get started?
- Rain gardens are shallow, landscaped depressions that capture rain
water that runs off roofs and/or pavement.
- When it rains, stormwater from your roof or
pavement is directed to the rain garden. The garden allows the water to
slowly filter and soak into the ground. This reduces the amount of runoff
that flows into streets, which normally picks up pollutants along the way
before it washes into storm drains.
- The rain water they collect slowly soaks into the ground. An average
sized rain garden in Sacramento can potentially retain thousands of
gallons of water every year.
- They can be landscaped with plants that produce beautiful flowers
- They provide habitat for birds and butterflies. Select plants that
attract beneficial insects and birds.
- The new Animal Care Facility located at 3839 Bradshaw Road includes
a rain garden for public view. It is located at the front entry to the
facility and has an identifying sign that describes what it is and how
- Yes—anyone can make a rain garden. Your family, neighbors, and friends can
help you with the project. You can also hire a professional landscaping
company to help you with the labor.
- We strongly recommend using native drought-tolerant plants
(choose ones that can also tolerate wetness) because they require less water, have a
higher tolerance for pest damage, and are easier to maintain. All these
factors save you time and money in the long run. See How can I get started
for information on suitable plants.
- Every size helps in reducing stormwater runoff. For recommendations, see How
can I get started for information on sizing.
- Rain gardens don't have to be expensive. You can save money by doing
the labor yourself. The most expensive item will be the purchase of the
plants. You can minimize this cost by using native plants from seed or using
plants that already exist in your yard.
- No. Mosquitoes typically need 7 to 12 days to
complete their breeding cycle during the winter; 6 to 7 days during the
warmer months. Standing water in the rain garden only lasts for a few hours
after most storms.
- Here are some resources that will
help you design and build a rain garden:
Do you have a question or comment?
Regional Water Authority
Sacramento County UC Master Gardeners —
UC Integrated Pest Management
State Water Resources Control Board-Low Impact Development —
Listing of Green Gardeners —
- Groundwater Elevations
- Soil and Hauling Companies
- Plant Resources
- Irrigation Assistance
California Department of Water Resources, Office of Water Use Efficiency
Jess Stryker's Irrigation Tutorials Online —
Lori Palmquist's Water Conservation Webpage —
information provided on this website is intended for homeowners only and not
for multifamily/commercial developments. Rain gardens do not qualify for
stormwater quality treatment requirements.
Acknowledgements: The Sacramento County Stormwater Quality Program
would like to thank the following people for their input:
- Sacramento County UC Master Gardeners
- Lucie Adams
- Eric Berntsen and Laurel Warddrip of the California State Water
Resources Control Board
Here are some more in depth articles on specific RFL topics that you might
find of interest:
RFL Inspiration Garden
Mulch, Grasscycling, and Compost
Fertilize Naturally — Is Feeding
Frenzy Really Needed?
Plant Trees, Save Energy!
Right Plant, Right Place!
Take Action to Save Water Outdoors…
Lawn Care: How Green is Your Grass?
Rethink Your Lawn
Pests Bugging You?
River-Friendly Pest Control
Managing Common Pests
Interview about RFL (MP3)
Choose California natives first
Don't Blow It!
Reducing Outdoor Asthma
Watch the YouTube video
Flow - Make Your Landscape Act Like a Sponge"
to learn about the importance of landscaping to stormwater quality.
Click on any section to learn more