If a rain garden is designed correctly and the site is prepared well, maintenance is not much different than your typical maintenance for a landscaped bed.
That said, I have needed to make adjustments to a majority of my rain gardens after they were installed, especially my first few installations.
These adjustments ranged from changing out certain plant species, raising or lowering the overflow, increasing the size, and adding erosion preventing materials in certain areas.
It is essential to plan for, and follow through on, inspection of your installations to see how they are performing, as noted in my maintenance schedule below.
The maintenance of a rain garden is not always considered during the planning phase of a rain garden and unfortunately is the major contributor to complaints that rain gardens are “wild” or “unkempt.”
So often schools put in a rain garden with good intentions, but the reality is that the school is out for the summer, and the kids and parents move on quickly.
What is left three years later is a wet weed patch.
Sadly, these efforts end up doing great harm to the image of rain gardens in the public’s mind.
But, I digress.
As for general garden care, if plants are placed close to each other, 12”-18” on center, weeding and watering will be the majority of the maintenance for the first two years, dropping sharply by year three as the plants become established and fill in.
The bulk of the work will then transition to Fall/Spring Clean-ups due to the large mass of plant material in the garden.
Each garden will require different care, but below is a general outline for maintenance of rain gardens, along with some additional notes on what you might expect.
You can also download the PDF here.
Well that concludes my Series on Rain Garden Installation.
I hope you found this information helpful and that maybe it has inspired you to start with your own rain garden.
I enjoy any feedback or questions on any of the information I have posted, and would be happy to help with advice on your specific project.