The Beginning of A Rain, Rock Garden

– Posted in: Garden Design

A note from our colleague and guest contributor, Ed Snodgrass:


“I just built a rock garden out of boulders that has a water feature powered by my downspouts. Of course, it normally would only run when it rains. But these downspouts come off my green roof so water drips for days after the rain, thus extending the motion in the garden. I’ll be planting it in early spring. But I’ll send a construction photo along since I know you can imagine it finished. There are two downspouts in the photo”.

As always, Ed is looking for new and creative ways of increasing sustainability in the landscape. I’m looking forward to seeing what the end product looks like and hearing from Ed how efficient it is.

Have any of you been ambitious enough to create your own rain garden? If so, please post some pictures on your blog with a link on GGW.

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

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Fran Sorin
3 Comments… add one

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Bren February 26, 2009, 9:21 pm

I have been doing some research about starting one of these rain / rock gardens. Thank you for documenting your progress and thoughts on this garden style. I will have to blog about mine in the spring once I get it planned out. THANK YOU!

Since I am answering in ‘proxy’ for Ed Snodgrass, I’m glad his photo and explanation was helpful. Love your webiste: I agree with your thoughts about agastache. I don’t think you can ever have too many in the garden. It has become one of my favorite perennials. If you want to view some new varieties check out: They have some that are mouthwatering. Let us know when you post a story about your rain/rock garden as you progress. Fran

Sylvia (England) February 27, 2009, 6:49 am

What a lovely feature, this is going to be a real feature in the garden. I do like the idea of rain garden and water features that only work when it rains or just after. I hope they will catch on in the UK. The nearest we have is the road, we live on a steep hill, with a river and flood plains at the bottom. We often enjoy watching the water rush down the hill!

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Yes, it would be a great feature in practically any garden. I also live on a steep hill and observe the water rushing down my driveway into the gutters during a major rainstorm. There are quite a few good books out there on rain gardening now, one authored by Ed Snodgrass, our colleague who wrote up the post and sent in this picture. I would check out Wisley or the RHS to see what’s happening with rain gardening in England! Fran

Michelle March 2, 2009, 8:43 pm

I’m hoping for some progression photos on this project.
Because at this stage in construction that pile of rock abutting the house is not a thing of beauty and actually detracts from the value of the property.
I’m all for rain gardens and the more that we can illustrate their functionality as well as their beauty I think we can convince more people to install one on their property.

I understand exactly what you’re saying. I’m pretty confident that Ed will come through as he develops this concept with some type of rain/rock garden that is both functional and pleasing to the eye. Let’s see!! Fran

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