Rain Gardens & Rain Barrels

Do You Want To Harvest Rain?

Build A Rain Garden!

Rain Garden

Rain gardens can transform many parts of your landscape into habitat for native plants, pollinators, and a system to capture stormwater runoff. These gardens recycle rain 30% more effectively than a lawn by strategically directing water runoff down into the soil of the garden. This prevents the water from washing pollution down the street and into storm drains. 

Rain gardens aren’t just a beautiful addition to our homes but to our schools and local businesses as well. Stormwater runoff from large buildings and parking lots can really add up! Sustain Winona encourages schools to get involved with keeping water on the land. Rain gardens provide an excellent learning opportunity not only during their installation but for years to come as an outdoor classroom. Keep scrolling for a list of resources to help get your rain garden started whether it be at home or for your school. 

The Need for Rain Gardens

  • According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), 40% of Minnesota lakes and rivers are polluted.
  • 86% of the pollution in Minnesota lakes and rivers is caused by runoff from wet weather events such as rain or snow (MPCA).
  • In Winona, like many other places, stormwater runoff enters our storm drains and goes straight to nearby bodies of water such as the Mississippi River or Lake Winona. Storm drains are not connected to any water treatment facilities.
  • Rain gardens filter runoff by taking out 94% of sediment, 43% of phosphorus, and 70% of nitrogen.
  • Rain gardens present a great opportunity to plant native prairie plants, which can be a home to bees, butterflies, birds, and bugs.

Additional Rain Garden Resources

Rain Garden Plants

Planning Your Rain Garden

Installing Your Rain Garden

Rain Gardens for Educators

Green Schoolyards: Resource Hub

National Wildlife Federation, Certified Schoolyard Habitat

Find and visit rain gardens in your community by browsing the map below!

Funding Your Rain Garden

Both the City of Winona and Winona County have matching funds available to help you build your own rain garden.

Contact us to learn about installing your own rain garden:

Within the City of Winona:
John Howard

Winona County:
Lauren Jensen, MN GreenCorps Member

Save Water with a Rain Barrel!

Divert the water pouring down your downspout for your plant-watering needs. Join in the Water Conservation Contest and receive a rain barrel for only $10!

Water Contest

Rain Barrel

Rain barrels have community and household benefits: 

  1. Maintain your own water source in between rains. Rainwater is often better for your plants, lawn, and soil.
  2. Reduce water runoff to prevent erosion and pollution.
  3. Reduce your water bill.


Non-Traditional Rain Barrel Alternatives

Looking to conserve more water than what one rain barrel may hold? Try these great alternatives.


210, 325, & 425 gallon Pickup Truck Water Tanks


Fleet Farm Pickup Truck Water Tanks





275 gallon IBC Tote


These can often be purchased used through websites like Craigslist or Ebay and be re-purposed. Look for totes that were used for food-grade storage to avoid any chemical contamination.



Other Examples and How-To Instructions for DIY Rain Barrels

For more details contact:

Anne Morse, Winona County