While rain gardens are a pretty simple idea, there are a few things that should be carefully considered and planned if you decide to build one.
Choose a location
Choosing a site that is at least 10 feet from your home, not near any steep slopes or bluffs, or a septic system is key. You will need a minimum of 100 square feet of available space, maybe larger.
Test your soils
Rain gardens work best on well draining (or sandy) soils. Once you have a location in mind, be sure to test your soils to know how quickly the rain garden will drain, and help determine how big it should be.
Getting the water to and from your garden
Next, you’ll need to consider how to get the water from your downspout, driveway or other areas to the garden. There are many ways to do this, whether you bury a pipe or create a landscaped swale or channel to carry the water. Also, in case a big storm or slow draining soils overwhelm your garden, make sure you have a safe place to send any overflow (across a lawn or vegetated area, out a pipe, etc.)
For a more in-depth description of these steps, download the Rain Garden Handbook or talk to the Community Conservation Team, and invite them out to your property to help design your project.