Melbourne Water, a water supply company owned by the Victorian State Government, is encouraging Australian residents to create 10,000 rain gardens – and they’re already up to 7,804! A rain garden is a water-saving garden that is designed to capture stormwater from hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and roofs via downpipes after it rains. The water supply company has set up a website with information on designing, creating and caring for rain gardens – no previous experience necessary.

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Self-watering rain gardens are easy to maintain, and they help reduce the amount of drinking water used to water gardens while also reducing the amount of pollution entering waterways. In a rain garden, there are layers of sandy soil underneath the garden bed that help to slow stormwater from entering rivers and creeks. These layers help remove pollution such as nitrogen and phosphorus, fertilizers, dust, leaves and animal droppings, which wash off hard surfaces.

There are many different types of rain gardens – including planter boxes, in-ground gardens, infiltration gardens, swales, green roofs, porous paving, downpipe diversion and rainwater tank diversion.

Melbourne Water’s 10,000 Rain Gardens Program, which encourages people to build rain gardens in their own backyards, originally started by working with councils to create rain gardens in public spaces. The program recently expanded and now provides instructions on how to design, build and maintain a rain garden so that anyone can create their own at home.

+ Melbourne Water Rain Gardens