What’s a Rain Garden

Why is a Rain Garden Important?Photo of rain garden courtesy of NRCS

A rain garden is an attractive native plant garden with a purpose: to protect local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Rain water (or snowfall) is routed to the garden and filtered by the plants and soils in the garden.  Rain gardens use a combination of soils and water-tolerant native plants to catch and hold runoff, a concept known as bioretention. The soils and plants then naturally filter out pollutants found in rain and runoff helping to protect local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

Impervious surfaces, like rooftops, roads and parking lots, do not absorb or allow the infiltration of rainfall. As a result, more rainwater travels over the surface, washing various pollutants like excess nutrients, lead, copper, engine oil, gasoline and engine coolant collected on these surfaces into local streams, rivers and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. Planting a rain garden in your yard may seem like a small thing, but capturing the first inch of water from a storm in a rain garden keeps 90% of pollutants and nutrients out of the local streams and rivers.  Keeping rain where it falls by putting it into a rain garden will help protect our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.


- Matt Fleming
Chesapeake & Coastal Service Unit Director

Photo of Rain Garden Courtesy of NRCS

For more information:

Rain Gardens: A Landscape Tool to Improve Water Quality

Get Involved

Take time to volunteer in your neighborhood or community. Volunteering is a great way to make new connections and find people who share your interests. There are many opportunities and your contribution will be appreciated.

Sustainability Events

Find out what is going on in your area. Links for event calendars from other agencies and organizations are included in our list. If you have a question about a specific event, make sure to contact the group hosting the event.

Take Time to Enjoy the Resources

Even living at the outer reaches of the state, one can make it from the beach to the mountains in a half-day. State Parks are a great way to get away and watch the leaves change color or get a quick history lesson.

Chesapeake Bay Health Information Maryland's Green Website

Sustainability Tip

Install a rain garden or rain barrel to catch rainwater. Stormwater rushing off of roofs and lawns carries pollution directly into streams and the Bay. Rain gardens and rain barrels slow the water down and keep pollution out of our waters. Click here for other helpful information.

Join the Sustainability Network

Click on the map to see our network

The Sustainability Network is a place where interested citizens, businesses and organizations can share ideas on projects and make connections between others who share their interest.