Rain Gardens

Rain Gardens, also known as bioretention, are a beautiful way to manage stormwater on site. A rain garden is a constructed depression in the soil that ranges from a few inches to several feet in depth, depending on the amount of area that drains into the rain garden. The depression is filled with an engineered soil mixture that allows water to percolate quickly. The garden is then planted with shrubs and flowers that "drink" up the stormwater.

In 2006, the WVDEP partnered with several organizations to build a rain garden at the Berkeley County Judicial Complex in Martinsburg, WV. The partners included the City of Martinsburg, Berkeley County Commission, the Berkeley-Jefferson Master Gardeners, Opequon Creek Project Team, and others. Without the commitment and involvement of the partners this project would not have succeeded.

The space for the rain garden was chosen because runoff from the parking lot drained to this corner. And, there was an available storm drain inlet that would receive excessive amounts of water. Five parking spaces were removed to accomodate the rain garden. During construction of the rain garden the Berkeley County Judicial Center was undergoing a major rennovation. (The green hash marks in the photo indicate the area where the rain garden will be constructed.)

The Berkeley-Jefferson Master Gardeners and members of the Opequon Creek Project Team pitched in and planted the flowers and shrubs in the rain garden. This photo was taken shortly after the plants were placed in the ground.

Photo by George Snider

By May of 2008, the plants are well established and starting to fill the empty spaces.

In November of 2008 the plants are showing off their fall colors.

Photo by Alana Hartman


  • Opequon Creek Project Team
    • Description: The Opequon Creek Project Team (OCPT) was formed in April 2005 to plan and implement nonpoint source pollution reduction projects in the watershed.
  • Rain Garden Network
    • Description: A rain garden is no more than a shallow depression, planted with deep-rooted native plants and positioned near a runoff source.