Public Works

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

Rain Gardens

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 impervious (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 creeks. 

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 and other residue, before entering storm drains. This polluted water finds its way into our lakes, rivers and cre. 

Rain gardens help prevent excessive stormwater runoff. Strategically placed in shallow depressions in the ground, deep-rooted native plants act as a sponge, drawing water into the soil. Rain gardens reduce polluted runoff from entering our storm drains, as well as helping replenishing the groundwater supply and improving the water quality of our lakes, rivers and creeks. 

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

Metro Blooms - Promotes and educates gardeners, landscapers, community and business gardeners.  Metro Blooms also holds rain garden workshops in Minneapolis.

WaterShed Partners

Clean Water Minnesota - Minnesota Water - Let's Keep It Clean

City of Minneapolis Rain garden FAQ (PDF)

Blue Thumb, Planting for Clean Water

Last updated Jan 23, 2017



Contact us

Email updates

Find a service

About this site

For employees

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats, contact 311.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 


311 call center

TTY relay service


facebook25x25 twitter25x25 youtube25x25 Minneapolis311icon logo tv 14 footer icon image linkedin_32x32