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Arkansas Rain Gardens

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 rain water 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.

Rain Garden illustration showing flow of stormwater runoff. On the left is were the flow starts through the gutter downspout across the lawn surface. The water then flows into the amended soil of the rain garden. The soil is a mix of native soil, compost, and sand. The surface of the rain garden is landscaped with native plants, grasses, shrubs, and trees with a raised barrier of 4-8 inches on the right side of the rain garden

*Note: The rain garden should be at least 10 feet from a building to avoid foundation problems.

Illustration Courtesy of Jeff Huber at the UA Community Design Center


Constructed rain garden in an organic oval shape with native plants growing in the center with mulched sides.

This rain garden collects stormwater from a park pavilion roof, allowing it to slowly soak into the ground and irrigate native plants.

Rain garden filled with stormwater

During a storm, roof runoff fills a rain garden.


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

Downloadable Rain Garden Resources

Rain Garden Videos


Native Plants for Rain Gardens in Arkansas

If you are curious about native plants and interested in a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape or concerned about health and water quality, learn more about native Arkansas plants.