Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Photo: Scott Woodbury

Rain Garden

Plant a shallow depression or swale with native wetland or moist prairie plants that can accept periods of inundation: Blue Lobelia, Wild Bergamot, Culver’s Root and Swamp Milkweed, for example.

Your Rain Garden can absorb 30 percent more water than a comparable-sized parcel of turf and allow the water to slowly filter into the ground rather than run off into storm drains. A rule-of-thumb is to plan the square footage of your rain garden equal to about 30 percent of the square footage of your roof.


  1. Virginia Wild Rye (Elymus virginicus)
  2. Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)
  3. Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
  4. Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
  5. Meadow Phlox (Phlox maculate)
  6. Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
  7. Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata)
  8. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  9. Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  10. Golden Alexander (Zizia aptera)
Rain Garden

Native landscaping isn’t just for the back yard! If you want to establish a formal native shade garden for your front yard or other area, this  plan can help you. This Front Yard Formal article by Scott Woodbury from the spring 2019 issue of the Missouri Prairie Journal is a companion to this plan, and contains photos of many of the featured plants. Learn more about plants featured in this plan from this audio file from Scott, and learn more about the plants’ growth habits from this audio file from Scott. The following practices apply to plantings where some degree of control is desired. That is, these design elements will help produce a garden that looks as though it was thoughtfully designed and planned as opposed to a naturalistic meadow or recreated prairie where plants grow more randomly.