Use your lawn, yard, or garden to enhance your property's ability to absorb, filter, and redirect stormwater away from your home.

A rain garden featuring black-eyed susans and native grasses

You can reduce your risk of flooding and help restore local ecosystems by replacing your traditional grass lawn or yard with a variety of strategically placed native plants and other features. 

What is a Rain Garden?

Rain Gardens to manage stormwater A rain garden replaces traditional grass lawns with native plant species in low-lying shallow depressions on your property. Loose deep soil is added to enable water to easily soak into the earth, acting as a natural drain for stormwater. Native shrubs and flowering plants can be planted in this deep soil, adding a beautiful feature to your property. These plants often absorb more water than traditional gardens, which reduces water pooling in your yard. They also release water more slowly, easing drought stress on your garden.

Blooming plants can also support pollinator species like butterflies! The Mono Pollinator Gardens has excellent resources for learning how to select plants that will support pollinator species. You can also use resources from Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Credit Valley Conservation. Other features like soakways — walkways made from medium to large-sized gravel — can enhance your rain garden and help water soak into the ground more quickly. 

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority recommend that you ask the following questions when deciding if a rain garden is right for you: 

  1. Do you have a low-lying area on your property where water naturally flows during a heavy storm? 
  2. Are you interested in installing a new garden, or do you have an existing garden that you would like to redesign? 
  3. Is your potential garden space at least 3 metres away from any building foundation on your property? 
  4. Is your potential garden space relatively flat? (between 1% and 5% slope) 
  5. Is there a source of water to feed your potential garden space, such as a downspout or a rain barrel? 

If you answered ‘YES’ to all of the above, a rain garden could be right for you! 

IMPORTANT: Utilities like pipes and underground power lines can be quite shallow. It is possible to damage them or hurt yourself. Call the Ontario One Call (1-800-400-2255) or use their online form to locate utilities before you start digging a rain garden. 

Benefits of Rain Gardens 

  • Reduce excess stormwater entering municipal stormwater systems 

  • Filter pollutants like bacteria from pet waste, grass clippings, fertilizers, pesticides, and road/driveway salt. 

  • Reduce flooding risks for your own home 

Additional Resources