photo of a rain garden by a campground

Rain Gardens

Are you wondering about rain gardens?

Rain garden schematic showing the features of a rain garden.

Welcome to Washington State University Extension’s rain garden website. This site provides everything you need to know about rain gardens; from the basics of how they work to building your own — AND where to get more help if you need it.

Why do we need rain gardens?

Stormwater is nothing but rainfall after it falls on the earth’s surface and travels across the landscape to a nearby stream or other water body. In landscapes that have been altered by humans, this stormwater picks up everything we humans leave behind – things like oil and gas, heavy metals, fertilizers, and animal waste.

Oil sheen in rainy parking lot photo.
Juvenile fish in a container

WSU research and experiments have shown that stormwater collected from highways around Puget Sound is lethal to fish.

However, when that same stormwater was filtered through a special rain garden soil mix – the fish lived. Rain gardens can be a important tool in limiting the amount of contaminated water reaching our streams and Puget Sound. In 2020 Washington Stormwater Center scientists discovered 6PPDQ and determined that it is highly toxic to coho salmon.

Rain Garden Events and Locations

Join your neighbors around the Salish Sea. Learn about events and rain gardens in your area visit the 12000 Rain Gardens website and click on the interactive map.

Visit our partners

12,000 Rain Gardens logo that links to their website:
Visit the 12,000 Rain Gardens website

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Rain Garden News

logo for rural stormwater solutions website

WSU Extension and the Washington Stormwater Center are excited to share a suite of educational materials to help landowners manage stormwater and reduce polluted runoff in rural areas.

All the materials are available on our website: There are videos, fact sheets, a white paper, demonstration sites, a glossary of terms, and in-depth resources on the website. Topics include stormwater in rural areas, understanding site conditions, creating a site drainage map and options for management drainage.

The website provides resources for rural stormwater managers, property owners, and people interested in sustainable and beneficial ways to handle rain water on their property.

This WSU Extension web sites provide links to external sites for the convenience of users. These external sites are not managed by the WSU Extension. Furthermore, WSU Extension does not review, control or take responsibility for the content of these sites, nor do these sites implicitly or explicitly represent official positions and policies of WSU Extension.