Rain Gardens

Rain gardens celebrate rain and protect our streams.

A rain garden filled with native plants and rocks next to a house in Washington County

More development in Washington County means runoff from roofs, driveways, and parking lots carrying pollutants like fertilizer, oil, pesticides, and pet waste into storm drains which lead to streams and the Tualatin River. Rain gardens help keep runoff from leaving your yard so pollutants can be absorbed and filtered by soil and native plants — cutting down on pollution by as much as 30 percent! They also reduce flooding by holding water during rainstorms and allowing it to soak into the ground instead of flowing directly to streams. As a bonus, a rain garden planted with natives attracts birds, butterflies, and bees.

Before you begin:

  • Do not place the rain garden over a septic system.
  • Do not build your rain garden where water already ponds. Runoff will not soak in.
  • Do locate your rain garden where plants get at least partial sun so you can use a wider variety of plants.
  • Do put your rain garden on level ground — dig less.

Build Your Own Rain Garden

Use the Oregon Rain Garden Guide to design and build your own rain garden. This how-to guide provides information specific to Oregon’s conditions, including the rainfall and appropriate plants for your site. If part of development, please also consult the stormwater design criteria outlined in the Design & Construction Standards

Additional information from area partners

For more information call Clean Water Services at 503.681.3600.