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Installing a Rain Garden

Am I Required To Have A Rain Garden On My Property?

Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions is encouraging property owners to install rain gardens as a voluntary practice to help reduce stormwater pollution. However, new development or redevelopment projects may require a rain garden or some other type of Low Impact Development (LID) technique to manage stormwater. Rhode Island stormwater regulations enacted in 2011 require individual single-family residential development or redevelopment projects to treat the water quality volume, or one inch of stormwater runoff, from any new rooftop, impervious surfaces of 600 square feet or greater in size, and all new driveways and parking areas.

Rhode Island Stormwater Management Guidance for Individual Single-Family Residential Lot Development is a guidance document produced by The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (RI CRMC) to assist with designing, installing and maintaining stormwater management practices that meet the requirements for new or enlarged single-family dwellings, driveways and parking areas, including rain gardens.

RIDEM Office of Water Resources has more information about managing stormwater at new development projects.

Getting Started

With proper guidance, rain gardens are not difficult to install and are easy to maintain. Rain gardens typically require digging a shallow depression, usually 6 inches deep, berming the edges to help keep water in and allow for proper infiltration, amending the soil, and planting with native perennials.

Finding Resources

See our resources section for a series of links to helpful websites, factsheets, and presentations and even a mobile app to help you design your garden. There are numerous design guides available with detailed instructions for installing a rain garden – including site assessment, sizing, design, installation, and plant selection guidance.

Training Opportunities

Check out the RI Residential Rain Garden Program at the URI Outreach Center for more information and upcoming workshops. URI Cooperative Extension provides annual training opportunities for stormwater managers, natural resource professionals, volunteers, and others interested in learning more about rain garden planning, implementation, and maintenance.

Small-Scale Bioretention Installation Training is a 2012 workshop sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, URI Cooperative Extension, City of Providence, and Groundwork Providence.