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Rain Garden Considerations

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Rain gardens require pre-planning steps to ensure they will thrive at your site. Some of our lessons learned at the McKinley Park demonstration site include:

1. Soil type. Not all plants thrive in salty soils, which we have at McKinley. Selecting plants to survive salty conditions may be a factor. Not all plants can stand having their toes in the water during winter storms. If you have clay on your site, this is a factor and needs to be considered or your plants may not last!

2. Sunlight available. Shade, part shade, full sun. Most plants have a preference and this will affect how well they grow.

3. Depth to groundwater or presence in a floodplain. This could affect how long water stands in your garden area, which may suffocate sensitive plants.

4. Placement in proximity to house or walkway as compared with size of tree/shrubs.

5. Availability of water shedding onto your garden site from downspouts or natural topography and size of area that is shedding onto your garden. Design Guidance Worksheets are available to address these sizing concerns on the LID page.

6. If you have grass growing on the area that will be converted to a garden, you will need to permanently remove the grass –and roots- in the area to plant. If you excavate deep enough to remove all roots, there should be no need for herbicide. Sheet mulching may also be used to kill the grass.

**For information about these items, and others for designing a successful rain garden, please refer to our Truckee Meadows Low Impact Development Manual, available online or in hard copy at The Environmental Services office, in City Hall on the seventh floor at 1 East First Street, Reno, NV. *Please note, these manuals are being reviewed and updated in 2013-2014. The original manuals are still online above, and available at the office.