Rain Gardens in Washtenaw
Plant a rain garden on your property with help from the Washtenaw County Rain Garden Assistance Program. Or, train to design rain gardens yourself by becoming a Master Rain Gardener, and spread the word about the benefits of rain gardens.
What are Rain Gardens?
Rain gardens capture stormwater runoff before it pollutes our local rivers - while providing beautiful gardenscapes throughout the growing season.
When it rains, a rain garden captures the runoff from a roof or driveway. One inch of rainfall means 600 gallons of water will be captured by a typical rain garden. This is water that won't go to municipal pipes, won't add pollution to the river, and won't contribute to flooding. This water will recharge the groundwater. But before it does, it keeps the garden looking green and lush.
Rain Garden Design Assistance Program
The Office of the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner and staff work with several homeowners each year to design and install rain gardens on their property. The result is residents all over the county are happy with their new gardens, while the Huron River receives less fertilizers, chemicals and other harmful runoff.
The rain gardens planted through this program are capable of capturing 60,000 gallons of water - an inch of rainfall.
Master Rain Gardener Program
Master Rain Gardeners are volunteers who have earned their Master Rain Gardener certificate - trained in designing and installing rain gardens. They help out friends and neighbors to learn about, design and plant rain gardens. Visit the Master Rain Gardener Hall of Fame (photos). Recognize them by the raindrops hanging from their Master Rain Gardener nametags! List of Master Rain Gardener certificate holders.
How Can I Participate?
Train as a Master Rain Gardener, and become a volunteer resource for your neighborhood.
Get Help. If you’re interested in getting help with the design and implementation of a rain garden on your property, or would like to learn more about this effort and how you can become involved, contact our Rain Gardens Coordinator, Susan Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-730-9025.
Hire help. If you are looking for a landscape contractor or professional gardener to implement your rain garden for you, here is a list of qualified contractors.
Laugh. Check out "I was a Teenage Raindrop" for some rain garden humor by David Zinn.
Where can I see Rain Gardens in action?
"The Washtenaw County Water Resources people were great ... For me, it was an easy choice ... an opportunity to experiment with a new way of gardening and help the environment." - Fran Alexander, Avid Gardener & Allen Creekshed resident
- See where rain gardens installed through this program are located: Map of rain garden locations throughout Washtenaw County
- See the Master Rain Gardener Hall of Fame.
Roadside Rain Gardens in Washtenaw County: Susan Bryan's Rain Garden Blog
- Our Sample rain garden design page has examples of gardens in varying soil and light conditions.
- Visit Miller Ave between Newport and N. Maple in Ann Arbor to see 24 rain gardens. A map of the street is available here and an interactive map with photos is available here.
- Rain Garden Design Resources.
Rain Garden How-to Manuals
Washtenaw County’s Rain Garden Program began in 2005 with MDEQ grant funding. We have worked with homeowners to plan, design, and install over 105 rain gardens. Today, the program continues to assist homeowners in creating and installing rain gardens on their property.
Hear about it. (WEMU Interview on the "Issues of the Environment" show)