How to create a wet meadow garden

  1. Find a location that is relatively level, downhill from the house, and takes advantage of runoff from hard surfaces (e.g., pavement, roof). Look for areas where water already sits after a rain, or where water runs past on the way to the storm sewer.
  2. Dig down 2-3 feet in the center of the area. Dig out from the center gradually sloping the sides of a depression to the size of the wet meadow you want to create. On clay soils, the depression only needs to be deep enough to capture water (1-2 feet).
  3. On sandy soils, place a liner in the depression. Rubber liners available at landscaping outlets work best. Cut the liner to twice the size of the depression. A kiddie pool can be used for a liner, but will not last as long. Fill the liner with the soil you dug out, leaving a slight depression. On extremely sandy or heavy clay soils, add organic mulch to the soil to improve plant survival.
  4. Slope the adjacent area so that overflow water, from the wet meadow during extremely wet conditions, does not back up to the house.
  5. Plant the area with plants suggested above.
  6. During extremely dry conditions, you may need to water your wet meadow.

Back to landscaping with native plants