Rain Gardens: Plotting for Infiltration

What is all of this buzz about rain gardens?

Rain gardens have the potential to solve stormwater runoff problems before they occur! And, rain gardens add a low maintenance, landscaped feature in your yard!

Image of Rain Garden Sign


Typical rain garden installation requires:

  1. A suitable area located between the rainwater source and its destination that is at least 10 feet from a home or building and is either a depressed area or an area where water flows naturally.

  2. Materials, such as:
  3. a) an appropriate soil-mix (50-60% sand, 20-30% top soil, and 20-30% compost), check your native soil first and have it tested at your local Extension office;
    b) native plants (a hardy mix of grasses, small shrubs, and self-seeding perennials are good choices, especially those that are both wet- and drought tolerant);
    c) a dense-material mulch that won’t float away.

  4. Earth-moving tools (to excavate about 6-9" of soil) and planting tools.

  5. A desire and willingness to manage stormwater on-site and protect water quality.


View a sample budget for rain garden materials.  More elaborate designs may include the addition of underground corrugated pipes to convey rooftop runoff from downspouts to the rain garden location or perhaps the addition of a rain barrel.

View a plant pallette (587KB, pdf) that may be suitable for your South Carolina rain garden.

View more information about the Cleveland Park rain garden in Greenville, SC including planting design and plant list.

Rain Garden Manual

Carolina Clear has a NEW RAIN GARDEN MANUAL specific to South Carolina that gives detailed instruction on creating a rain garden.  This manual is free for download, but can also be ordered at a low cost, covering only printing expenses.  To find out more, please check the Carolina Clear NPS Toolbox.