We have started with a small rain garden in our backyard. Next year we hope to build a larger one in our side yard.
I diverted two downspouts and graveled the bed of the garden in an abstract shape. It turned out beautiful with fairly little effort.
Rain garden was planted entirely with Portland native plants and is certified as part of my Bronze Backyard Habitat through the Audubon society.
I set aside all of the rocks we dug up while amending the soil, and incorporated those into the rain garden.
A huge key for me was re-grading the soil around my house, which helped alleviate water issues in the basement. It also helped motivate me to fix gutter issues around the house.
One of the things I didn’t anticipate the importance of was slope in the garden. After excavation of the first rain, I had to reposition rocks and various mulch pieces to allow better flow of the water into the garden.
Do not get intimidated, or over think it. Keep it simple. It is very simple and very rewarding.
Great stimulator of neighborhood conversation! Our neighbors have admittedly loved watching our front yard transform after some initial skepticism.