Rain Garden and Native Planting Area Program
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Rain Garden and Native Planting Area Program

Mayor Greg Ballard and the Office of Sustainability want to encourage the use of storm water as a valuable natural resource instead of managing it as a pollution source. 

Rain gardens and native planting areas are a beautiful way for you to help use storm water as a valuable natural resource.  The Rain Garden Resource Center connects residents, businesses and institutions with the resources and tools to design and build their own rain garden or native planting area.  Everything you need is outlined: supplies, customized planting plans, maintenance guidelines and more are all in one place. 

Check back often to watch the Rain Garden and Native Planting Area Program grow.

 What's New!

Spring is right around the corner, and as you begin your planting for the year, the Office of Sustainability encourages you to choose native plants and non-invasive species when deciding what to plant around your home or business.

To help you get started, here's a list of Native Indiana Plants:

Native Trees Native Shrubs Native Flowers
Eastern Red Cedar​ Serviceberry​ Redbud​
Hemlock ​New Jersey Tea ​Aster
​White Pine ​Spicebush ​Dogwood
​Hackberry ​Ninebark ​Goldenrod
​Tulip Poplar ​Sumac ​Bee balm
Shagbark Hickory​ ​Elderberry ​Phlox
​Red Maple ​Gray Dogwood ​Liatris
​Oaks ​Silky Dogwood ​Purple Coneflower
Walnut or Butternut​ ​Virginia Sweetspire ​Summer Sweet
Redbud​ ​Winterberry Holly
Black Gum ​Buttonbush

Remember, our Office is here to help! If you have questions about native plants and non-invasive species, send an email to sustainindy@indy.gov

Planting in the Right-Of-Way

What is a right-of-way?

A right-of-way is city owned property along streets extending beyond the edge of the road. Commonly, this is the lawn strip between street and sidewalk.

A permit is required for any tree planting, landscaping, spraying, bracing, removal or pruning work in the city's right-of-way.

To apply for a Flora permit, click here

How to get started:

Permitting Guidance
The term rain garden encompasses a large variety of applications and scales of practice. In general, a small voluntary rain garden on private property will likely not need a permit.  However, rain gardens are construction and construction often requires permits and considerations. Permits are based on land disturbance, construction in special areas (historic districts, regional centers, etc.) and disturbance to waterways or city infrastructure (storm sewer pipes, ditches, swales, water bodies, etc.).   Below is an easy to use permitting flow chart.

Permitting Flow Chart


A rain garden is an attractive garden with a special purpose - to improve local water quality and reduce the impacts of storm water on area streams. Communities around the country have experienced dramatic reductions in storm water pollution due to citizens installing rain gardens on their properties. Check out the Build Your Own page for more information.

Register Your Rain Garden and Native Planting Area Program
If you are within the city limits of Indianapolis, you are encouraged to register your rain garden or native planting area with the City of Indianapolis and elect to receive a sign for your yard.  Registering your rain garden will also allow you to put your project on the interactive map and encourage others to do the same. Check back often to watch the Rain Garden Program grow.

Register Your Rain Garden or Native Planting Area Application.pdf

Register Your Rain Garden or Native Planting Area Application(Word)

Preferred online submittal-Complete, Save, and Send to raingardens@indy.gov  or Send a hard copy to:

200 E. Washington Street Rm 2460
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Attn: Office of Sustainability Rain Garden Program

Technical Assistance
If you have questions about rain gardens you would like answered, technical assistance is available upon request.   Please send an email to raingardens@indy.gov.