Rain Garden

Collecting rain and storing it in the ground on site is an excellent water conservation strategy. The dry creek and rain garden in our new garden illustrates how to safely collect water, direct it away from foundations, and retain it in the landscape. The dry creek serves to slow the flow of water, catch any debris, and direct it into the rain garden. The rain garden is basically a catchment basin sized to hold runoff from a one-inch storm. A porous bottom layer helps the detained water soak into the soil within 72 hours. Any overflow is carefully directed away from structures and septic systems to prevent flooding.

Rain garden plants must tolerate both periods of standing water in winter and complete drought in summer – a tall order! But plants like scarlet monkey flower, common rush, yerba mansa, common yarrow, deer grass and western columbine are all candidates. The surrounding deep-rooted trees and shrubs benefit greatly from the extra water that persists at depth for many months. Any water not used by vegetation eventually enters the ground water cleansed of pollutants by its passage through the soil.


The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden conserves California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Our Tax ID number is 95-1644628.