Distinctive Rain Garden Designs

vertical garden

Rain gardens are distinct in their own way. They are… different. Clearly not your typical garden. But what distinguishes them outside of being… different? Some would say that the design is the distinguishing factor. And that’s probably true to some extent, but there are also other factors that make a rain garden unique—and easy to steal! Let’s discuss some of these items here today. We’ll end with an invitation for you to contribute your favorite distinctive rain garden by explaining it below.

Vertical Design

A close up of a flower

Vertical design is all about height. Rain water accumulates at the top of the wall and then slowly trickles down through a layered planting scheme, giving your garden time to absorb the water. The height of these walls varies from 6 inches to 3 or 4 feet high, making them suitable for small patios, decks, driveways or walkways around your home.

Half Moon Design

A person posing for the camera

This rain garden plan features a semi-circular area with plants running along the inside perimeter. Water drains into an underground drainage system or soaks into gravel beneath mulch on ground level before being absorbed by plant roots below ground . This type of design is fairly self-contained and will work even if you do not have space to accommodate a larger garden.

Upward Rain Garden Design

This rain garden is designed to catch water from elevated surfaces such as patios or rooftops where water drains into the gutter. The idea is to use these gutters as a source of irrigation for your garden by piping them into terraced beds that hold water to be absorbed by plants below. Although it may take some effort and time up front, once you have this system in place it can provide years’ worth of beauty and enjoyment — not just attractive but also practical and efficient.

Multilevel Rain Garden Design

This system is designed to collect rainfall from rooftop surfaces by pipework channels that direct water into several different levels that hold both plants and gravel/sand filters beneath them. The advantage of this system is that it can handle large volumes of water, making it suitable for areas that receive heavy rainfall. If you take the time to plan carefully and install everything properly, this type of design will provide many years’ worth of beauty and practicality.

Containerized Rain Garden Alternative

If you do not have enough room for a full-sized rain garden but still want to make use of all that water, installing a containerized one is probably your best bet. Although it will not provide the same amount of runoff collection as some other designs on this list, this method can be combined with others to help ensure you always have plenty of water for irrigation.

Underground Rain Garden Alternative

Similar in principle to above-ground rain gardens, these subterranean solutions are more efficient because they catch and hold excess water underground where soil filters slowly release clean rainwater into surrounding plant life instead of letting it run off too quickly. Like other solutions on this list, these types of designs combine well with many others so there are many ways they can be used to improve your home or office landscape.


Although these rain garden solutions may not suit every situation, they are still excellent examples of how you can use this concept to efficiently collect water that would have otherwise just run off into your environment. All of the above methods are listed in order from easiest to hardest so start small and gradually work up to more complex designs as your skills improve.

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