Meet your Chicagoland Stormwater Storage Requirements with a rain garden!

My Must-Have Rain Garden Tool: The $20 Water Level

Water Level

If there is one specific “rain garden tool” I always carry with me for both the design and installation of a rain garden, it is a water level.

This $20 DIY tool is waterproof, does not require batteries, and has kept my $500+ laser level on the shelf for most of this year.

Watch the Water Level in action on one of our Rain Gardens:

To build your own water level, you will need:

        (2) Metal Yard Stick – $2.96 ea.                  (1) 20′ of 3/8″ I.D. Vinyl Tubing – $5.59
        (6) 5″-8″ Plastic Zip-Ties – $2.99              (2) “1/2 Top Rubber Stoppers – $0.23 ea.
            (2) 48″ Snow Markers – $1.99 ea.            Drill and Bits (approx. 1/8″ and 9/32″)

Total: 18.94 x 8% Tax = $20.46

Constructing Your Water Level: (Approx. 20 minutes; Skill Level = Easy)

Drill 1/8″ hole at 18″ and 1″ on Ruler.

Drill holes in second ruler.

Run snow markers through the zip-tie loops.

Secure tubing, ruler, and snow marker with zip-tie; tubing on the numbers side.

Rotate tubing to unwind slack.


Water should be level. Make sure all air is out of the lines.

Enlarge holes with 9/32″ bit.

Insert zip-ties through holes and pull only a for few clicks.

Run tubing through the zip-tie loops.

Secure second tube, ruler, and snow marker.


Fill with water to 18″. A hose works too.

Put in rubber tops for storage and transport.

Ready to go!

Leave a comment below if you have any questions on how to build or use a water level, or if you have used one before let me know how it went for you! It is a great tool that can be used for many more things than just a rain garden.

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