Public Works

350 South 5th Street
RM 203 City Hall
Minneapolis, MN  55415-1390

Rain Gardens in Minneapolis

What is a Rain Garden and how do they work?

A rain garden is a shallow depression in the ground that allows stormwater to slowly infiltrate the soil.  Native plants, mulch and soil in the rain garden naturally remove pollutants contained in the stormwater.  Rain gardens receive stormwater from imervious (hard) surfaces such as rooftops, sidewalks, driveways and patios, reducing the amount of stormwater (and pollutants they carry with) from entering our lakes, rivers and streams. 

Build rain gardens near hard surfaces where rainwater can collect and drain into the rain garden.


Planting deep-rooted native plants create beautiful natural areas that attract birds and butterflies.

Polluted runoff is a big problem in urban areas like Minneapolis where it is hard for stormwater to soak into the hard, established ground. Rainwater flows faster over hard surfaces, picking up pollutants like sediment, litter, organic particles, pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste, gas and oil, metal that falls off cars and other residue, before entering storm drains. This polluted water then finds its way into our lakes, rivers and streams. 

Rain gardens help prevent excessive stormwate runoff. Strategically placed in shallow depressions in the ground, the plants act as a sponges, drawing water into the soil. Rain gardens reduce polluted runoff from entering our storm drains, as well as helping replenish the groundwater supply and improving the water quality of our lakes, rivers and streams. 

Rain gardens can be as simple as a shallow depression or as complex as a large stormwater management system that uses a variety of pipes and grading to divert stormwater runoff to a rain garden. Native plants are ideal for rain gardens because they are hardy and deep-rooted. 

Rain Garden Resources

MetroBlooms, Promotes and educates gardeners, landscapers, community and business gardeners.  Hold rain garden workshops in Minneapolis.

Rain garden FAQ, (pdf), City of Minneapolis

Blue Thumb, Planting for Clean Water

Eco-Yard Midtown, Hennepin County

Last updated Mar 5, 2015