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At home project: Building a rain garden

With social distancing the new norm, you may have more time for at-home projects. Why not do something to help protect Bloomington water? Create a simple rain garden to give water more space to soak into the ground and reduce impacts of storm water runoff. You can build a small rain garden with standard household tools and the following steps.

Step one:  Choose a location.  A downspout of sump pump outlet is a good water source. 

Step two: Test your soil.  Dig a test hole and fill it with water.  If the water does not soak in quickly, choose a new location.

Step three:  Design and build your basin.  

  • Choose a simple shape and dig 3 – 6 inches deep. 
  • Make the bottom flat so water can spread out and seep into the ground.
  • Stop erosion by slowing the water: add fist-sized rocks or pavers where the water enters the rain garden.

Step four: Plant and maintain. Use Minnesota native plants that like damp soil—flowering plants will attract butterflies and other pollinators.  Top plantings and any bare soil with a layer of mulch. 

 Find out more information about how to build a rain garden at