Build A Rain Garden

Bottom Curve


Rain gardens are man-made landscape features where stormwater runoff is allowed to collect and pond for a short period of time. Native perennial plants are typically used in a rain garden because they are hardy, they come back from year to year, and they can actually help filter some pollutants out of rainwater runoff while their roots help water soak into the ground naturally. In fact, compared with a grassed lawn area, a rain garden may allow 30% more water to be absorbed! Planting a rain garden is like returning a little bit of your property to its natural state.


Here are three great reasons to plant a rain garden on your property:

1 Reduce water pollution

Rain gardens can be an important way to reduce water pollution caused by increased stormwater runoff that carries surface pollutants into storm sewers and then into streams and other water bodies.

2 Reduce sewer discharge into rivers

Rain gardens can also help to reduce the amount of stormwater that enters storm sewers and the combined sewer system, causing sewage to be discharged to our rivers during wet weather.

3 Address drainage issues

Rain gardens may help to address some drainage issues on public and private property.


Help Fort Wayne reach its goal of 1,000 rain gardens! So far, more than 100 rain gardens have been created in and around Fort Wayne. Is there one in your neighborhood? Check the map!

Map of Rain Gardens in Fort Wayne

NOTE: Please call 311 or email if you’d like to include your rain garden on the map.


Interested in learning more? The City of Fort Wayne has made several resources available to help you create your own rain garden.


Our manual walks you through the process of planning, planting, and maintaining a rain garden, step by step.


Join us for an in-person or virtual workshop to learn all about rain gardens from our team of experts.


Watch our series of free videos online, at your own pace, to explore rain gardens for yourself.

Concerned about the cost? Check out the City of Fort Wayne Rain Gardens Incentive Program


Is a rain garden a pond?
Rain gardens are not ponds. When properly designed, a rain garden should only hold water for about 24 hours.
Will a rain garden be a breeding ground for mosquitoes?
No! Properly designed rain gardens are, in fact, mosquito death traps because the water soaks into the ground within a day or so. The mosquito life cycle takes place in standing water and lasts seven to 12 days. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water. The eggs hatch into larvae and then grow into flying insects. If a mosquito lays its eggs in a rain garden with standing water and the water soaks into the ground, the eggs won't have an opportunity to develop and will die.
Are rain gardens hard to maintain?
The benefit of using native plants in a rain garden is that they are well-adapted to their natural surroundings and do not require a lot of maintenance, fertilizers, or pesticides. The bulk of rain garden maintenance involves periodic watering and weeding. Here’s a short brochure we’ve provided that gives you an overview of how to maintain your garden. See the Maintenance Guide >
Will I need to water my rain garden?
You will need to water the rain garden during the first one or two growing seasons until the plants become established. About an inch of water a week is a good rule of thumb. In later years, the garden will only need to be watered during prolonged dry periods.
Are rain gardens expensive to build?
Rain gardens do not have to be expensive. If you build the rain garden yourself, the main cost is typically the plants and mulch. Choosing smaller plants — called plugs — and buying plants and mulch in bulk can help reduce the cost. An average rain garden will cost almost nothing if you do the work yourself and use plants from other parts of your landscaping or receive cuttings from friends or family. If you hire a landscaper to design and construct the garden and install the plants, the cost could be $18 to $20 per square foot.
Will a rain garden cause water to seep into my basement?
Wet basements are commonly caused by improper grading and drainage around a house foundation. For example, a downspout may empty right onto the ground next to the house or the surface of the yard may slope toward the house. A rain garden can be used to direct water away from the house foundation by routing downspouts toward the garden instead of letting them discharge near the house foundation.