Green business, green careers and job training
Solutions that build smart communities with green careers and sustainable businesses!

Save on Career Education through Lorman Education

Our readers are offered a discount on Lorman seminars and courses. Check out their business, management and legal offers at this link to qualify for our discounts. They also offer green business training opportunities. Please visit for a complete listing of courses. Register online or call Lorman at 866-352-9539.
Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping > Landscape Design for Sustainable Urban Environments

Rain Gardens and Bioretention Basins To Improve Water Quality and Save 30% More Rainwater

Compared to a patch of lawn, a rain garden allows about 30% more water to soak into the ground!

Find green business solutions
california precipitation landscape and solar solutions

Rain Gardens Soak Up 30% More Water

Compared to a patch of lawn, a rain garden allows about 30% more water to soak into the ground!

California's water supply is more fragile and seasonal than in most of the country because we are in "the West". Seasonal rains in our desert areas can be severe, and water retention for the rest of the year is dependent on snowpack, water tables and manmade lakes.

Capture Fresh Water and Prevent Runoff

When rains come, we need to capture that fresh water for use by the flora and fauna in our communities. Capturing it also prevents runoff from roofs, streets, parking lots and lawns from washing pollutants into streams, rivers, lakes and eventually the ocean. Runoff pollutants can include fertilizers, pesticides, car waste such as oil and fluids, pet waste and its bacteria, eroded soil, road salt, grass clippings and litter. Rain gardens will not remove ALL these pollutants, but they do remove some of them as the water seeps into the ground, which serves as a natural filter.

Rain Gardens Designed as Cache Basin

A beautiful, useful way to capture rainwater runoff is with a "raingarden" that is well designed, well placed and serves as a cache basin that filters and helps the water find its way to the roots of plants...and our watertable.

Rain gardens look like regular flower gardens but they are more -- a rain garden fills with a few inches of water and allows the water to slowly filter into th ground rather than running off to the storm drains.

Benefits of rain gardens include beauty for the neighborhood, providing habitat for wildlife such as butterflies and frogs...and they save our fresh water supply.

Rain gardens are designed to catch water from roofs, driveways or streets. They can be located on private property, in parks, and incorporated into corporate campuses or shopping center parking lots.. An area that is relatively flat or has a slight slope with good drainage is most effective. Remember, you want the water to soak into the soil rapidly.

Landscape Design Tips for Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are NOT solutions for wet areas -- they must have good drainage. Water must soak into the soil within 24 hours to prevent water buildup that becomes a mosquito breeding ground.

  • The garden should be at least 10 feet away from buildings.

  • The garden should receive full or partial sunlight.

  • Avoid areas over septic tanks.

  • The garden must include an overflow structure that will allow heavy rains to divert to a natural drainage pattern, not a neighbor's lawn.
  • Size the garden to serve the area draining into it, the type of soil on the site, and the depth of the garden.
  • Before you dig, remember to call to locate underground utility lines: (1-800-272-1000)
  • Choose plants that can tolerate both wet and dry conditions and suited to your garden's sun/shade exposure.


You'll find a variety of reference materials about rain gardens at this Water Resources Program website ... including: Landscaper Training Program for Rain Gardens - Fact Sheet 29, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, 2007

California trees and shrubs recommended for your rain gardens. A list of California trees and shrubs to brighten and enliven your rain garden.

Low Impact Development with rain gardens. Download a PDF.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
Green Solution Providers
Green companies directory
your green solutions - business, nonprofit, government program.
It's free.
| greenscaping | runoff | landscape | landscaping | water conservation |

Share in Social Media

Sign Up For News & Information
Subscribe to our free solutions newsletter
"Ten+ Tips for Greening Your Office"

Read prior issues: California GreenLines

Search For Green Solutions

Custom Search
Green Career Center
Green Job Wizard
Career Certifications Directory

green job training certifications
Green Biz Center
Solutions For Green
Directory of Green Companies

Solutions for Alternative Energy

rose in natural systems
Green Living Center
Solutions for Green: Consumers

Solutions for Remodeling

Backyard Nature Center


"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." Goethe

Related Articles

Urban beauty sprouts high above highways

Students are challenged to solve water use problems in Los Angeles

Temcor Domes Cover Potable Water Reservoir

Related Green Resources

Marcom Tips
Interactive & Video Tips

Career Resources

We encourage lifelong learning to support sustainable communities and provide these select resources to help you pursue green and sustainable self-development:

Lorman Business Training Directory of On-line Business and Compliance Classes

Green Job Wizard Job and Career Certifications Directory

Job & Career Resources

Sales & Marketing
Human Resources

Green Economy

Business Sectors
Natural Resources

Solutions For Green

About Us ~ Privacy Policy
Contact Us ~ Home

Text Link Ads

AD: Place your link here


We help you green your career, workplace and community by connecting you to quality green, sustainable and high performance resources. California Green Solutions focuses attention on effective solutions that sustain our natural systems. You can support our editorial work by supporting our advertisers and spreading the word about best practices and green solutions.
California Green Solutions is a publication of Carolyn Allen ~ Copyright ©2006-2030 Carolyn Allen

B2B | Job Certifications | Alternative Energy | Events | Green Directory | LED Lights | Remodeling |
CONSUMERS | Backyard Nature | Senior Health | MultiMedia Marketing | Marketing | Networking Events | Japan |