IUPU Columbus Campus

The demonstration rain garden in Bartholomew County is located on the IUPU Columbus Campus in a parking lot island and had previously been a flat and open, windswept area occupied by turf grass adjacent to a mature oak tree. During the winter, it often receives snow and ice melter scraped from the parking lot. This particular site was chosen for a number of reasons. Because of the snow melt that the particular area received, it was a prime site for a rain garden. The stakeholders also played an important role in the location of the garden. Two professors from the University advocated for this site so they could use it for teaching field biology and botany. They were also seen as a great partner to help maintain the garden.

Bartholomew County Demonstration Rain Garden (PDF)

bartholomew-co-rain-garden-31.jpgThe garden was planted with native prairie plants such as prairie drop seed, big bluestem, and compass plant, and designed by Kris Medic, a Bartholomew Count Extension Educator. Having the right soil composition as well as hardy perennials to fill the garden was an important factor in the design process. It was installed by the Rainscaping education course in Bartholomew County as part of the demonstration garden for the course. Coordinators were able to help with the planting along with the partnership by Indiana University Professors Luke Jacobus and Barbara Hass Jacobus. This partnership was critical to the success of the project and aided coordinators in getting this project off the ground. When the demonstration garden planting day was to start, campus security was concerned about this project going underway, but the partnering professors on campus advocated for the project to be done and the planting day was able to continue.

The garden has made significant impacts on the campus community and the environment since its opening in September 2015. Having native species on campus provides an oasis of sorts for pollinators and songbirds on a mainly grass and trees campus. Additionally, a killdeer has made the Garden its home, nesting within the site. This site also provides great learning opportunities for student learning in regards to ecology and botany and has created a lot of educational opportunities through positive media attention for the University and school administration.

Background Information

rainscaping41.pngA rain garden was established in 2018 in a portion of the Boone County Community Gardens, on a plot of land offered by the Lebanon Church of Christ. The two acre site is an open field located within Lebanon city limits.

This site was chosen to redirect stormwater and filter it through the soil. As the garden matures, it is expected that this will reduce the water flow into the wet areas of the land. There is a future plan to use the past wet areas a a public vegetable garden. Several Boone County Master Gardeners headed the planning and design portion of the project. Site preparation was done by hand through the work of volunteers. Some plants were extras following the establishment of a Pollinator Garden, while others were purchased by the Boone County Community Garden Organization.

The plants in the rain garden consist of of a mix of sun-tolerant prairie grasses, forbes, and wildflowers. These plants were extras following the establishment of a Pollinator Garden, while others were purchased by the Boone County Community Garden Organization.

Following the installation of the garden, a Boone County Rainscaping Education Team, consisting of seven Master Gardener Volunteers, was formed.

Boone County Demo Rain Garden (PDF)

Background Information

gardenThe site was previously a grassy area beside a building and a parking lot.The rain garden is located at the Extension office in Franklin, Indiana. It is visible to the public, but it cannot be seen from the front of the building.The 300 square foot rain garden was installed over one day in September 2019. This site was chosen because it receives runoff from a nearby roof and there are many plants in other areas around the office. Obstacles of the installation included the expenses and the excavation of the site, however each were eventually handled successfully. The rain garden has an ecological impact, as it filters runoff storm water from a downspout. The rain garden also creates a conversation piece.

This rain garden is home to 236 native plants of twelve different species.
All plants were acquired from Spence Nursery, and planted with 12 inch
spacing. The garden is weeded by hand every 4 weeks or as needed by EMG volunteers and extension staff. Herbicide was used around the perimeter to keep grass back. No fertilizer was added and the native plants have adapted to the soil type on the site. Sand and compost was added when the initial excavation took place.

Johnson County Demo Rain Garden (PDF)

Crown Point

Background Information

rainscaping51.pngBefore this rain garden was implimented, this area was an lower area where water ran through to reach a pond. The water came from gutters of a building and also was directed into a nearby pipe and drain.
This area was chosen due to the high levels of flowing water into the pond. The intention was to purify the stormwater and prevent a majority of it from reaching the pond.

Obsacles realized during the creation of the rain garden include the discovery of the poor soil quality in the area. Riprap rocks were discovered underneath the upper level of soil due to erosion from the
northern side of the site and improper maintenance.

The creation of the rain garden allowed for the area to have a more asthetic appeal. The area suffered from a lack of proper maintenace, which caused it to become visually unappealing. Invasive weeds, tall
grasses, and cattails were removed. Maintenance has become simpler since the installation. The mulch stays in place better due to the application of rocks that block water flow. The plants help with keeping
the soil and mulch in place as well. The plants are healthy due to the water flow. The area also is hoped to improve the water quality of the lake, as much of the water is intercepted by the rain garden.

Lake County – Crown Point Demo Rain Garden (PDF)


Background Information

group of people
Rain Garden at Lake County

The Merrillville Stormwater Office was designed to showcase features that exhibit responsible practices for stormwater conservation. When it was built, a small area was set aside by the front door for a rain barrel and rain garden. A drain was installed in the area to divert the extra water from the demonstration rain barrel as it was not sufficient to house all of the water that could come off of the roof. After the building was complete, the director, Purdue Extension-Lake County, and the Soil and Water Conservation District collaborated to offer Purdue Extension’s Rainscaping Education Program to educate local residents and conservation professionals about rain gardens and also install the demonstration rain garden on site with the class participants.

The rain garden is a great asset to the area. It provides a more finished feel to the Merrillville Stormwater Office while highlighting a stormwater conservation practice. Furthermore, the garden design highlights a variety of species, which were selected to showcase color in most seasons of the year. The biggest challenge in the garden is the undersized demonstration rain barrel. Therefore, the layout of the rain garden took this into consideration. If the rain barrel were to heavily overflow, there is a straight path of rocks to the drain so that the plants do not wash out. Additionally, plants around the edges of the bed were chosen to hold water in the bed and prevent mulch from washing out.

This successful demonstration garden is visibly placed next to the stormwater building front door to highlight the mission of the office while also displaying how rain gardens can be both functional and attractive.

Lake County – Merrillville Demo Rain Garden (PDF)

Background Information

screenshot-2011.pngThe current rain garden was previously a site for another, poorly maintained rain garden. The improved rain garden is located on a riverfront walkway with an outlet that leads directly to the Ohio River.

This location was selected because it provided a convenient rain garden for refurbishment. This created an ease of access and use.

Challenges discovered during the improvement of the previous rain garden included the size of the garden in regard to the people available to maintain it. The size of the rain garden was far too large for a dozen people to rehabilitate and maintain, therefore the size of it was scaled down to accommodate those that would maintain it over time. Additionally, the plant selection of the new garden was not well communicated, but the final project came together very nicely.

Currently, the reinvigorated Master Gardeners maintain the garden. It receives a lot of foot traffic. There is educational sinage that is easily visible for visitors. Not only is the rain garden a source of education, but it also is ecologically beneficial for filtering water that drains into the Ohio River.

Posey County Demo Rain Garden (PDF)

Background Information

rocks and waterThis rain garden was created in a grassy area near the Wild Turkey Shelter, which is located in a 3,000 sq ft acre of wildland and recreational area. This area was chosen because there is a drainage pipe directly in front of it that releases water near Gentian Lake. This rain garden could aid with reducing pollutants through filtration.

Immediately before installation occurred, the area received a large amount of rain. It had rained six inches in three weeks; therefore, the installation was delayed so the area could dry. Erosion was reduced by adding straw blankets during installation and large rocks were placed in the middle due to higher rates of water flow. The rain garden in this case mostly has an ecological impact, as the primary goal is to filter pollutants from entering the nearby lake.

Steuben County Demo Rain Garden (PDF)

Tippecanoe County Extension Office

Rain Garden at Tippecanoe County

At the Tippecanoe County Extension Office, the community saw a parking lot island as an opportunity for reducing runoff and increasing green space in the area. This site allows for a 500 square foot rain garden split into two gardens surrounding the path. With a prime location for viewing and accessibility as well as the effectiveness of capturing stormwater runoff, the installation of this rain garden went underway following the steps of the Purdue Rainscaping Education Program. This site allows for easy viewing access to visitors and also an excellent example of the benefits of Rainscaping.

Utilizing a landscape design and installation company, the area’s soil was treated and shaped to prepare for the rain garden. Soil amendments were added, and the land was formed to add a depression to allow for water to drain into the garden. The participants of the course planted native plants tolerant of a 24 hour flooding period as well as other hardy and easy to maintain perennials such as blue false indigo, bottle brush grass, and bottled gentian.

A year later, the rain garden is growing successfully and beautifully. It takes the runoff from the Tippecanoe County Extension Office Building and surrounding parking lot and prevents those pollutants from running off to near water sources making the rain garden an excellent example of Rainscaping.

Tippecanoe County Demo Rain Garden (PDF)

Wright Center

Background Information

rainscape11.pngThe Wright Center Rain Garden was established in 2017. The garden is located in the courtyard of the John S. Wright Conference Center. The Wright Center is located in West Lafayette, IN and is managed by the Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) for teaching and research.

Prior to the rain garden, the courtyard of the conference center was underutililized and needed landscaping updates. This rain garden was constructed as part of the 2017 Rainscaping Education Train the Trainer Program for Extension Educators. Purdue FNR staff completed the siting, sizing, and design of the rain garden. The area was selected as an exemplary area for stormwater management education. The garden is 300 square feet and 12” deep. It has an interpretive sign located in the glass hallway in front of the rain garden for visitors to learn more.

Wright Center Demo Rain Garden (PDF)

Background Information

rainscaping31.pngThe site was previously a grassy area beside a building and a parking lot. The raingarden is located in Friedman Park in Newburgh, Indiana. This site was chosen because it receives runoff from a nearby roof. The rain garden has an ecological impact, as it filters runoff stormwater.

This rain garden is home to 133 native plants of fifteen different species. All plants were acquired from Dropseed Nursery, and planted with 18 inch spacing. The 480 square foot rain garden was in-stalled over one day in August 2018. Over the course of 24 hours, the rain garden can drain a total of 5.5 inches of water standing water per day

Warrick County Demo Rain Garden (PDF)