Rain Gardens

Rain garden at Municipal ServicesResident rain gardenResident rain gardenRain garden at public safety complexResident rain gardenResident rain gardenResident rain gardenRain garden at public safety complexRain garden at public safety complex

Some of the rain gardens pictured above are planted at City facilities like the Public Safety Complex or Municipal Services Service Center. Others were installed by residents at their homes through Lenexa's Cost Share Program. 
Get reimbursed for installing a rain garden

A rain garden is a shallow depression in the land planted with a diverse variety of native wetland and prairie vegetation. Using native plants with deep root systems in a rain garden helps absorb water and filter pollutants.

Rain gardens can be used to enhance stormwater runoff quality, reduce peak stormwater runoff rates from small sites and improve the quality of runoff coming from rooftops, driveways and lawns of residential neighborhoods, small commercial areas and parks.

Why build a rain garden?

Water that soaks into rain gardens replenishes groundwater and helps prevent flooding. Rain garden plantings don’t require fertilizer or pesticides, and after they are established, they don’t need to be watered. Native plants provide food and shelter for butterflies, song birds and other animals. Rain gardens add an aesthetic appeal to your yard.

How do I build a rain garden?

Rain gardens don’t have to involve a lot of complicated planning. They don't require much space, can be fitted into oddball shapes and can be readily added to existing buildings. Consider these things when planting a rain garden:

  • Put your rain garden in the right place.  Examine your yard’s drainage. Place the rain garden down-slope and at least 10 feet away from building foundations and up-slope from storm drains.
  • Size the rain garden correctly.  Calculate the square footage of the area draining to the rain garden and divide by three. This will give you a rain garden that captures about 30 percent of the water it receives.
  • Evaluate existing soils.  For heavy clay soils, till in compost to loosen the soil and help plants grow. Compacted soils often cause rain gardens to fail, so keep machinery and vehicles off the area.
  • Increase infiltration.  Excavate six to eight inches of soil to create a slight depression that catches water. Mound the excess soil into a berm on the downstream side of the garden.
  • Create an attractive design.  Rain gardens feature native plants that are attractive and easy to care for. Give your rain garden a tended appearance with neatly defined borders to keep it from looking weedy.

Rain garden resources

These helpful guides include lists of suggested plants for your rain garden, plus layouts designed for sun, shade or attracting various kinds of wildlife.