Libraries Parks

Water Quality


A raingarden soaks up rain water from roofs, driveways and lawns. It is a landscaped area planted with native plants or cultivars to replace areas of lawn. The garden fills with a few inches of water and allows the water to slowly filter into the ground instead of running off to storm drains.

A raingarden is not intended to be a wetland or a water garden with permanent water. Raingardens are designed so that water soaks into the ground in approximately one day.  This way it does not breed mosquitoes.

Compared to a patch of conventional lawn, a raingarden allows 30 percent more water to soak into the ground. 

Attend a workshop
Several cities are hosting Blue Thumb garden planning workshops on native gardens, raingardens, and native shoreline stabilization. If you can’t make a workshop, you can learn to start a raingarden on your own.

Get help with the basics
You can learn how to create beautiful gardens to keep water clean by attending a Blue Thumb Introduction Workshop in the spring. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.

  • Learn how native plants can help clean the water moving through your landscape
  • Address wet problem areas in your yard and garden
  • Add variety and interest to your landscape by incorporating low maintenance native plants
  • Determine the best plants for sun or shade areas
  • Select plants best suited for Minnesota's climate and soils
  • Make your garden unique

Get help designing a raingarden
After attending the introductory workshop, you're ready to attend a Blue Thumb Raingarden Design Course. This four-hour course lets you work with professionals who will walk through the steps of placement, plant selection, where to purchase materials and how to install your garden. You create a design plan specific to your yard. Plus, receive a copy of "The Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens." Raingarden Design Courses are scheduled in the spring following the introductory workshops. First attend any introductory workshop that is most convenient for you. The introductory workshop is a prerequisite to the design course.

Apply for a grant
Dakota County and the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District offer grant money to help offset the cost of installation, and can provide technical assistance during the installation of your new garden. You must attend the Blue Thumb introductory and design course to be eligible for grants.

Last updated: 3/4/2014 9:48 AM