A rain garden is basically a planted basin, usually oval or kidney-shaped with well-amended soil in the bottom, that’s located in a low spot at least 10 feet from the house where it can collect rainwater from downspouts. The plants’ roots filter and cleanse this runoff of pollutants before it percolates into the soil, replenishing groundwater. The basin (“bioswale”) pictured, in a garden designed by landscape architect David Thorne, contains mostly native plants that take wet or dry conditions, such as native irises. Plants that prefer dry conditions (California fuchsia) grow on the brim. More great plant choices follow.
More info: Find details on rain garden design on sites such as the University of California Sonoma County Master Gardeners or the