UACES Facebook Rain Gardens
skip to main content

Rain Gardens

Searcy, Ark. –

Rain gardens are landscaped depressions that collect rainfall from a roof, paved area or yard. These bowl-shaped gardens are designed to capture stormwater runoff and allow it slowly to percolate into the soil, recharging groundwater and removing stormwater pollutants.

How do rain gardens work?

The garden's flat bottom helps distribute rainwater evenly across the planted area. Topsoil amended with compost and sand allows the water to slowly soak into the ground within a few days so there is no standing water to breed mosquitoes.

Many Arkansas residents are turning to rain gardens as a way to improve water conservation and beautify their yards and public areas.

Where should the rain garden go?

Home rain gardens can be in one of two places – near the house to catch only roof runoff or farther out on the lawn to collect water from the lawn and roof.

To help decide where to put a rain garden, consider these points:

• The rain garden should be at least 10 feet from the house so infiltrating water doesn’t seep into the foundation.

• Do not place the rain garden directly over a septic system.

• It may be tempting to put the rain garden in a part of the yard where water already ponds. Don’t! The goal of a rain garden is to encourage infiltration, and your yard’s wet patches show where infiltration is slow.

• It is better to build the rain garden in full or partial sun, not directly under a big tree.

• Putting the rain garden in a flatter part of the yard will make digging much easier. For example, a rain garden 10 feet wide on a 10% slope must be 12 inches deep to be level, unless you import topsoil or use cut and fill.

What benefits do rain gardens provide?

When landscaped with native plants that can thrive in both extreme wet and dry conditions, rain gardens provide many benefits including:

· Protecting local streams and lakes from urban stormwater pollutants including sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, and automotive fluids

· Increasing water infiltration and recharging groundwater supplies

· Enhancing the beauty of yards and neighborhoods through beautiful landscaped areas

· Providing habitat and food for birds, butterflies and beneficial insects

· Reducing flooding and drainage problems in communities

· Sustaining creek flows during dry weather

· Reducing the flow intensity of creeks during flood events

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. For more information you can contact your local county extension service, you can also follow Sherri Sanders on Facebook @UADA.WhiteCountyAgriculture .


By Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143
(501) 268-5394


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.