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Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are shallow depressions planted with different types of flowers, grasses or shrubs that collect storm water and allow it to soak into the ground.  They can be located in various places on a property to treat different sources of storm water.  Storm water can carry a significant amount of pollutants to our streams, lakes and wetlands.  Urban/residential development (rooftops, driveways and sidewalks) increase the quantity of water draining to streams and rivers (too much) and the rate of the runoff (water runs off faster creating higher peak flows.)  A rain garden is a practical yet aesthetically pleasing means to reduce the impacts of development.

There are three rain garden demonstration projects in Woodstock where you can see what they look like and how they work:

  • Woodstock Historical Society
  • Roseland Park Golf Course
  • Woodstock Town Hall 

The Woodstock Conservation Commission encourages homeowners to plant rain gardens on their property if it is practical to do so.  Contact the staff of the Eastern CT Conservation District if you would like more information on rain gardens.

Rain Garden Dos and Don’ts



Select a location with well drained soils.

Plan your rain garden where there is standing water or a high groundwater table.

Conduct a percolation test to make sure the site is well drained.

Locate your rain garden within 25’ of your well.

Call 1-800-922-4455 before you dig to avoid conflicts with buried utilities.

Locate your rain garden within 25’ of your septic tank or leach field.

Consider the solar needs of the plants you want to grow.

Locate your rain garden within 10’ of your foundation.

Use native plants adapted to area growing conditions.

Locate a rain garden on a very steep slope.

Supplement the new plants with water until they become established if no natural water is available.

Choose plants that are potentially invasive. See list of invasive plants for Connecticut.

Weed and replace mulch annually.

Allow organic material to build up to fill in your rain garden basin.


More Information and References:

Conservation Commission
Into each life some rain must fall....
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow