Constructing a Rain Garden

Water in the garden can be a blessing and a curse. While it’s great for plants, when it gets under houses it’s not so helpful. When we took on this job on a sloped property in Geelong one of the first issues identified was the water coming down the hill and under the house. One option would have been to put in a perforated agricultural drain pipe (agi-pipe) and divert the water into the storm water network. With the clients blessing we chose to make a feature rain garden in front garden. Rain gardens help treat and slow the flow of water before it gets into storm water systems and local water ways. Installing a rain garden also enabled the water to be accessible to the new tree planting in the front garden.


Rain Garden 21


The site before we started work

Rain Garden 20

We called in the big equipment to dig out the base of the rain garden




Rain Garden 19



The depth of the trench gradually reached 600mm (2ft) at its deepest point.Rain Garden 18


The rain garden is fed by water collected in underground agi pipes across the back and down the side of the residence.
Rain Garden 14



The trenches for the pipe were filled in with scoria

Rain Garden 6


This image shows the agi-pipes at work. The water makes it’s way down the hill and into the trench before being redirected into the rain garden at the front of the property.

Belmont 7



Once covered in toppings and garden beds the drainage system is invisible.
Rain Garden 15

The agi-pipe is flexible enough to curve around the front of the house

Rain Garden 17


The drainage trench meets up with the main rain garden

Rain Garden 16



The base of the rain garden is filled with a deep layer of large scoria stones which water filters through easily

Rain Garden 12The scoria is then covered with a layer of fine screenings which prevent the later soil layer mixing with and clogging up the scoria

Rain Garden 8

A layer of half sand half loam is then added as a growing medium for planting 

Rain Garden 7

You can use many types of mulch for a rain garden, in this case we were going for a stylised dry river bed and chose washed river stones.

Rain Garden 4
Rain Garden 1

We installed a bridge to enable access to the other side of the garden and not disturb the workings of the rain gardenRain Garden 3

The rain garden was then planted out with native grasses that are tolerant of both drought and inundation.

Rain Garden 2Then we added some sculpture because that’s just fun.


If you want any more information of rain gardens or other ways to use water better in the garden contact us here or via the form below.

Gibbs Sculpture Park, New Zealand

In April this year I attended the International Federation of Landscape Architects conference in Auckland New Zealand. As part of the conference I took part in a tour of the Gibbs Sculpture Park, an hour north of Auckland. The sculpture park ( ) was set up by New Zealand businessman Alan Gibbs over twenty years ago and contains large sculptural works by some of the world’s leading artists, including Richard Serra, Andy Goldsworthy, Anish Kapoor, Sol LeWitt and Maya Lin. The sculpture park is an amazing experience, the scale of the works and how they interact with the landscape is breathtaking. The green rolling hills and beautiful Kaipara Harbour would have been enough to make for a great days walk. However the artworks are the scene stealers. Below are some pictures I took of my favourite sculptures.



Te Tuhirangi Contour – Richard Serra


Untitled (Red Square/Black Square) – Richard Thompson


The greenness of the grass and blue sky were an attraction in themselves.


Red Cloud Confrontation in Landscape – Leon van den Eijkel


Dismemberment, Site 1 – Anish Kapoor


Arches – Andy Goldsworthy


88.5° ARC x 8 – Bernar Venet

Even if you don’t have 1000 acres on the edge of the largest bay in the southern hemisphere art and sculpture can provide inspiration in your garden. For more information about how art can add value and beauty to your garden contact us here.