Rain gardens are specifically designed to manage stormwater runoff, mainly from rooftops, but also from driveways, lawns, roads, and parking lots. Rain gardens look like regular perennial gardens, but they are much more. During a storm, a rain garden fills with water, and the water slowly filters into the ground rather than running into storm sewers. Compared to a patch of lawn, a rain garden allows about 30% more water to soak into the ground. Therefore, by capturing stormwater, rain gardens help to reduce nonpoint source pollution (i.e., road sediment/salt, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria from pet waste, eroded soil, grass clippings, litter, etc.) and help to protect local waterways. Rain gardens also add beauty to neighborhoods and provide wildlife habitat.
Rain Garden Information Center
Presentations, manuals, and fact sheets are just a few of the resources that are available to you at the Rain Garden Information Center, where the goal is to give you a better understanding of rain gardens and to assist you with starting your very own rain garden project.
Stormwater Management in Your Backyard – New Jersey
This collaborative initiative between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, the New Jersey Sea Grant Extension Program, and the Northeast States & Caribbean Islands Regional Water Center, is comprised of three major components listed below:
- New Jersey Demonstration Rain Gardens:
Over 125 demonstration rain gardens have been installed and are being maintained throughout the State of New Jersey. They are collaborative projects between the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, various Rutgers Cooperative Extension County offices, local stakeholders and volunteers. Demonstration rain gardens are intended to serve as living examples to be visited by the general public. They are located in publicly-visible locations and are often the sites of workshops and other events that train homeowners, landscape professionals and gardeners. For detailed information on each of these rain gardens, including location, design considerations and plant layout, please visit the New Jersey Demonstration Rain Garden website.
- Rutgers Cooperative Extension Master
Gardener and Environmental
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program offers Stormwater Management in Your Backyard training lectures to the Master Gardener and Environmental Steward programs located throughout New Jersey's counties. If your county's Master Gardener/Environmental Steward program would like to participate in the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard program, please contact the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program Rain Garden Team. Lectures can be adapted for various time slots including new class curriculums, special sessions and in combination with a demonstration project.
- Community Extension Education:
Once a demonstration rain garden has been installed, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program offers community extension education. The community extension education program consists of working with community leaders (including Master Gardeners and Environmental Stewards) to build their capacity for ongoing extension education efforts, as well as future demonstration projects. Additionally, the community extension education program provides assistance with many aspects of program development, including printed educational literature/signs, website development, news coverage, community training workshops, K-12 curriculum development (as part of the Community Project-Based Learning initiative) and outreach to local nurseries and landscapers. If you would like to participate in the community extension education program, please contact the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program Rain Garden Team.