Interested in a Rain Garden?

Mar 20, 2024 | Blog

Thinking About Installing A Rain Garden?

Rain gardens are a great way to collect water and keep it from running off of your property, picking up polluntants and silt and negatively affecting local waterways and the Bay. If you keep more of your stormwater runoff on your property (and if we all do this) there would be a remarkable affect on local waterways, their erosion and on the Cheasapeake Bay. Rain gardens are highly techincal gardens that require a long list of important decisions from proper location, proper size, proper plant selection, proper excavation depth and ponding depth.

Rain Garden Right After Planting

Rain Garden Right After Plantng

Rain Garden 1 Year Old

Rain Garden Grown In

Rain Garden Costs

We educate our customers about the complexity of rain gardens because they end up being more expensive than a typical landscape bed/garden bed to install. Rain gardens run around $22-26 per square foot (including design fees). The number of square feet your rain garden should be (it’s size) depends on the volume of water running to it. You can use a rain garden calulator and check sizing requirements to determine the proper size. Finding out the correct sizing is more important than trying to fit your rain garden into your budget.  You don’t want to undersize a rain garden and then have it be inundated with water and not work correctly. You don’t want to oversize it and spend unnecessary money.

Rain Garden Location

Not all properties have a location where a rain garden would be appropriate. Many times clients want to put a rain garden where they have standing water- not a good idea! You want the water in a rain garden to drain within a few days. It’s always best to locate it closer to where the water is coming from than where it is sitting.

If your property isn’t a good candidate for a rain garden then a conservation landscape is another great option. See my blog about that here. They are less diffiult to install so more inexpensive. They are also covered by the County Cleanscapes program and they help stabilize soil and support wildlife habitat (including beneficial insects).

We have you covered whether you want to design and plant your own rain garden or if you want full service rain garden installation and a stewardship (maintenance) package for follow up care during establishment. Check out our rain garden guide below, our list of favorite plants for rain gardens, our video with more information about rain gardens and information for rain garden cost share programs!

Rain Garden Video

Vet Your Rain Garden Installer
I recommend working with a company that has a history of installing rain gardens properly to minimize future issues and maximize the functioning and beauty of your rain garden. At Lauren’s Garden Service we have designed and installed hundreds of rain gardens and conservation landscapes over the last 15 years. Most of them went through the Howard County Cleanscapes program so there were lots of specifications and requirements that we met to meet their standards. All of our projects were approved and our clients all received their reimbursements.
Rain Garden Cost Share Programs
The Cleanscapes Program through Howard County opens up on April 1st. Submit an application right away if you are interested because it fills fast. The main projects that we install from this program are conservation landscapes and rain gardens. There is a whole timeline that you can find on the Cleanscapes page. That means if your project is approved it won’t be designed and planted until next spring. It’s well worth the effort and the wait to get eco friendly landscaping at a 75% discount. You will have to pay out of pocket at first but will be reimbursed within a few months by the County. I highly recommend the program. Lauren’s Garden Service has been designing and installing for this program for many years.
Each project costs roughly $1000 out of pocket once you get your reimbursement. If you are interested in getting the 75% reimbursement through this program then you need to work directly with Cleanscapes first to get preapproved. Please don’t reach out to us until you’ve had your Cleanscapes site visit and preapproval. We won’t be able to do anything until you’ve had a site visit from the program. Projects that tie to stormwater drainage (gutters, patio or driveway run off) get priority but projects replacing turf grass and invasive plants with conservation landscapes also get awarded. Many of our clients have had multiple projects on their property. They’ve also had projects approved one year and installed in a subsequent year. Have LGS install a rain garden for you!
Many other surrounding Counties have rain garden cost share programs so look into that for your area. Rainscapes has programs for Rockville, Gaithersburg and Montgomery County. Price George’s County has a program. We’ve installed projects for Rainscapes so have experience with those programs as well. They work differently than the Howard County Cleanscapes program and have their own requirements like planting densities, decompaction requirements, native species used in planting, etc. When you’ve been preapproved send along your information and LGS can help you with pricing and reimbursement rates for your project.

HOAs Can Receive a Grant That Covers 85% of the Cost of New Rain Gardens

There is a Community Stormwater Partnership grant (click here) available to HOAs in Howard County! It will open in early May. Information can be accessed here. I highly recommend that you review the application process to be ready for the early May open date. While it is not difficult to apply for this grant it is popular and space fills quickly. We have done several projects where we plant garden beds where water is eroding soils or intersecting water on HOA property. We (Lauren’s Garden Service Landscape Designers) can come to the property and create a proposal for your projects.

When you receive your approval and your grant money you submit a deposit to us. We then design your projects and build them. We install signage so the neighborhood knows what the beds are for and can help maintain them. Here are some examples of beds installed under the Community Stormwater Partnership Grant in Ellicott City last year! Reach out today if your HOA (click here) is interested.

Rain Garden DIY Information
If you are interested in designing and installing a rain garden as a DIY project then check out this slide show from when I used to teach classes on building rain gardens. There is also a guide that I put together several years ago that is pretty detailed on the whole process of building a rain garden.

​Here is my list of favorite rain garden plants.

Lauren’s Favorite Plants for Rain Gardens.pages

Rain Garden Maintenance

Find information here on follow up care for your newly installed rain garden!


Rain Garden and Conservation Landscape Maintenance


Are you interested in installing a rain garden at your property? Fill out our form to schedule a free estimate. Project minimums start at $3,000 and are often in the $4-5K range and above depending on size of new plantings. Rain gardens are around $22-$26 a sq ft (including design fees) and conservation landscapes are around $18-$22/sq ft.

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