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1404 Goodale Boulevard, Suite 100
Columbus, OH 43212
Phone: (614) 486-9613
Fax: (614) 486-9614

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are shallow gardens designed to absorb rainwater runoff from rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, roads, and other hard surfaces, including turfgrass lawns. They allow water to soak into the ground, reducing runoff. Tough plants that thrive during brief periods of inundation as well as drought do well in rain gardens, and they can be installed in a variety of residential and commercial landscapes.

How do they work?

  • Rainwater is directed into the garden via rain chains, rain barrel overflow, downspouts, driveway drains, curb cuts, dry streambeds, or sheet flow.
  • When water soaks in, less stormwater erodes our streams and rivers.
  • Deep-rooted plants break up hard soils and create channels for water to move through.
  • Plant uptake, physical filtration, and biological processes reduce contaminants like oil, metals, and nutrients.

What are their benefits?

  • Reduce localized flooding
  • Beautify your landscape
  • Create important habitat

I’d like to be a rain gardener! What do I do?

NEW Franklin Soil and Water is currently developing a Master Rain Gardener program to tentatively launch in the fall of 2022. The certification course trains residents to build their own rain garden throughout a series of classes, field trips, and design feedback, and enables gardeners to improve their own yard while becoming a stormwater ambassador in their neighborhood. The program was initially developed in Washtenaw County, Michigan, and has been adapted around Ohio and even Canada, resulting in valuable rain gardens, and engaged advocates.

Click here to sign up for e-mail notifications about the Master Rain Gardener Program!


Franklin Soil and Water also provides technical assistance (site assessments, soils suitability, and planting lists) to landowners, local community groups, and municipalities. If you live within the City of Columbus you may even be eligible to free technical assistance. We also serve as the lead for the Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative (CORGI), a collaborative effort to promote the benefits of rain gardens for community beautification and clean water.

Learn about our 2010 Brook Run Project, a collaborative partnership that resulted in a network of 16 residential and 5 right-of-way rain gardens in Westerville, Ohio.

For the homeowner:

Franklin Soil and Water is currently developing a Master Rain Gardener program to tentatively launch in the fall of 2022. The certification course trains residents to build their own rain garden throughout a series of classes, field trips, and design feedback, and enables gardeners to improve their own yard while becoming a stormwater ambassador in their neighborhood. The program was initially developed in Washtenaw County, Michigan, and has been adapted around Ohio and even Canada, resulting in valuable rain gardens, and engaged advocates. Sign yourself up for updates. 

We are often available to provide assistance with planning and technical assistance and you may be eligible for a cost-share up to $250, depending on where you live (not every municipality offers cost-share). Contact us to see if you qualify or visit  here.  We give workshops and presentations throughout the year, so be sure to check our calendar for upcoming events!

Ready to dig in? View examples of rain gardens, step-by-step instructions, and recommended plants!

For the nursery or garden center owner/manager:

We’ve noticed that gardeners have been asking about native plants and rain gardens. The Gardening for Clean Water Project connects the landscaper and nursery to its conservation-minded customers by providing technical training for employees and educational materials for customers. This grant-funded program was awarded by Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund for years 2013-14.

Lean more about the Gardening for Clean Water Project.


For more information about any of our rain garden programs, contact us at (614) 486-9613 ext. 125, or by e-mail.