**Update: 11/16/17** - The program is currently full, but we are accepting names on the waitlist for next year. We have had a lot of people sign up, but are experiencing a higher than normal drop off rate. If you are interested in installing a rain garden on your property sooner rather than later, you can go through our CleanScapes program and apply to receive reimbursement and/or credit for installing a rain garden on your property.
Rain Gardens for Clean Water
(formerly CleanScapes Communities)
Do you dream of a landscaped yard that can solve erosion and runoff problems? What if we told you this landscaping can also help local pollinators, local streams, and local businesses and we’re picking up 75% of the cost? Not a gardener? No problem; we’ll supply tips to maintain or you can get a maintenance package for an additional charge. And you won’t even have to find your own landscaper.
You must be outside Columbia Association boundaries in order to sign up for the program. Click here to see if your home falls within the program area. If you do not fall within the program area you can go through the Columbia Association rain garden program.
What do I have to do?
Fill out this form. A County-hired landscaper will contact you to arrange a time to meet with you and see your yard; they will prepare project plans based on this visit. If you decide to move forward, you will fill out paperwork and pay 25% of the cost (Howard County Government will pay the rest). The average cost to homeowners is about $750, but this varies widely from site to site. Some homeowners have spent as little as $400 out-of-pocket.
Any rain gardens installed through this program are not eligible for reimbursement through the County's CleanScapes program. Once your garden is installed if you wish to receive credit towards your Watershed Protection Fee, fill out the application here.
What will they install?
Based on an individual consultation with you and a site visit, County-hired landscapers can install the following items:
Rain gardens are gardens filled with native plants and absorbent soil. They are shaped to collect and filter water when it rains. Rain gardens are not only beautiful and attractive to local wildlife, but can help solve drainage and pooling problems in your yard.
Rain barrels and cisterns are large storage containers, often attached to downspouts, which collect rain during storms. They can be used to water lawns, gardens, and potted plants.
What homeowners are saying:
Our clients have rated the program and contractors in the "outstanding" category across the board (via anonymous, post-participation survey).
Don't just take our word for it, here are some reviews from last year's participants:
"I had a fantastic experience with the Howard County CleanScapes Community program....Working with the selected landscaper was fantastic...It feels really good to improve my local environment with a rain garden and my neighbors love the final look"- Jason L.
"We were very pleased with the entire experience with CleanScapes Communities. The program fit all of our needs....We are excited for winter to be over and to invite our friends to see how lovely the new garden looks. We feel that we are contributing to the improvement of our community, the county, and the state water and erosion issues. Not only that, but our new rain garden looks great. Thank you Cleanscapes."-John R.
"Neighbors have comments that they will be contacting CleanScapes Communities seeking similar enhancements to their property. Our raingarden was designed to address excesws water during heavy downpours, so our original water pooling issue is now resolved and we have a beautifuland functional addition to our landscaping." - Randi and Adam G.
Thanks to all of our homeowners and from the Northern Little Patuxent sub-watershed for a great pilot year. We will have installed about 30 rain gardens and treated almost 1 acre of impervious surface by the time we've wrapped up the pilot.
Photos from the pilot:
Please note that all homes must be older than January 1, 2003 to participate in this program.