In a world of streets, parking lots, and sidewalks, rain gardens can be a place for stormwater to go besides flowing into sewers and ultimately, nearby lakes and rivers. As it flows towards waterbodies, rainwater picks up pollutants like pesticides and fertilizers along the way. Precipitation that is absorbed into rain gardens recharges groundwater 30 percent more than even that of a typical lawn.

Besides that, rain gardens are pretty.

The Southern Lake Michigan Rain Garden Manual is a how-to for homeowners, landscape architects, city planners, and anyone interested in creating a garden to “absorb the storm.” This booklet is chock full of information–from choosing a location to designing and installing a rain garden to care and maintenance. You can find a plant list, including those suited for shade and clay soils, and sample garden plans. 

This publication is adapted from the Vermont Rain Garden Manual for the southern Lake Michigan region. The manual was developed through Lawn to Lake, which is a collaborative program to protect water resources in the Great Lakes region by promoting healthy lawn and landscape practices.

**The Red Oak Rain Garden at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign  

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