About RainScapes


Learn here about the design details for each type of RainScape Project. Rethink your yard using the RainScapes approach!  

The Requirements link under each project type describes how to design and install a project to qualify for a RainScapes Rewards Rebate. Rebate projects, except for Rain Barrels, require RainScapes approval before installation. For information on the RainScapes Program in other languages please visit our Resources Page.

For projects at schools or other community-based work, check out our other pages under RainScapes Communities. Projects on private property may qualify for a demonstration project or grant through our CBT-administered grant program.

Anywhere you have flowing water off hard surfaces can be evaluated for a RainScape! 
Learn more below!



Types of RainScapes

Conservation Landscaping

Conservation Landscaping

A garden designed to slow down and soak up rain using native plants. 

Cost: Moderate Cost

Green Roof

Green Roof

A rooftop with lightweight soil and plants that will intercept and soak up stormwater.

Cost: Very  High Cost

Permeable Pavers

Permeable Pavement/ Pavers

Pavement that is designed to intercept and store rain water.

Cost: Very High Cost

Pavement Removal

Pavement Removal

Pavement that is removed or replaced with a conservation landscape, rain garden, tree or sod. 

Cost: Moderate Cost

Rain Garden

Rain Garden

A garden designed to intercept, store and soak in rain water. The surface is depressed 6" and allows water to create temporary shallow pond that soaks in and away within 24-48 hours. 

Cost: Moderate Cost

Rain Barrels

Rain Barrels

A barrel connected to a downspout for the purpose of temporarily capturing and storing rain water.

Cost: Low  Cost



A larger version of a rain barrel, typically 250 gallons or larger.

Cost: Low  Cost

Why Install a RainScape?

Most rainfall on urban surfaces such as roofs, driveways, roads, parking lots and patios ends up as stormwater runoff, causing erosion to streams, pollution and flooding. RainScapes techniques help counteract the impacts of stormwater runoff by:


  • Reducing runoff from individual properties

  • Reducing drainage problems on properties

  • Preventing stormwater pollution from entering our streams

  • Reducing water consumption during dry spells

  • Reducing the need for mowing, fertilizer and pesticide applications

  • Enhancing the beauty of yards

  • Enhancing wildlife habitat

  • Reducing energy costs to heat and cool your home

  • Increasing property values


The RainScapes Program promotes the use of innovative techniques which soak up or store rainwater, reduce runoff, and keep pollutants from entering our streams. Many RainScapes are planted and are attractive gardens.

RainScapes also provide community benefits in addition to the many individual property owners’ benefits.  They beautify neighborhoods, reduce local flooding and increase desirable wildlife habitat, which can increase property values.


How Do I Choose Which RainScape is Right for Me?

When planning for a RainScape, the first thing you should do is learn how water flows across your property and where it originates. Visualizing how water flows can be tough, so the best time to do this assessment is during a rain storm. Pictures/videos of your property can also help DEP staff better advise you on which projects would work best for your property. 

Image of a bioretention area with DEP staff
An umbrella and a camera will go a long way in helping you plan for the proper RainScapes Rewards Rebate project!
Remember that you can install multiple RainScapes techniques on your property to increase the benefits! By implementing these techniques community-wide, cumulative benefits can be achieved.


General Considerations for Installing RainScapes
  1. Your budget should help narrow down the choices of RainScapes techniques.

  2. Are you interested in better soil drainage and have you identified problem spots?

  3. Do you have a large lot or a small lot to work with and are there any setback requirements on your lot?

  4. Underground utilities might be a factor and before any digging you must consult  MISS UTILITY .

  5. Do you want to capture rainfall to re-use it?

  6. Evaluate how much time you have for maintenance of your yard.

  7. Consider if you want to change the look of your landscaping or achieve stormwater control without too much change.

  8. Do you have the equipment required to install some RainScapes projects?

  9. Do you want a do-it-yourself project, or would you prefer to hire a contractor?  



If you’re still having trouble deciding, feel free to email us at  rainscapes@montgomerycountymd.gov  with your pictures (reduced file size please), address, and description of what your problem is and what it is you’re trying to accomplish. We would be more than happy to offer some pre-application advice!


RainScapes for SchoolsRainScape at a Sherwood High School

Who Can Participate?

RainScapes are the perfect project for property owners who wish to reduce stormwater runoff on their property and help protect local waterways. 

Groups that have successfully installed RainScapes projects include:

  • Private Homeowners
  • Businesses
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Homeowners Associations
  • Schools
  • Private Institutions
  • Nature Centers 
  • Public and Community Spaces

The County offers technical and financial assistance (in the form of rebates) to encourage property owners to implement eligible RainScapes techniques on their property. 


RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program: Cash incentives for homeowners and other property owners

Anyone can build a RainScape, but to participate in the RainScapes Rewards Rebates program you must meet these criteria:

  • ​Your property must be located in Montgomery County,  outside of the municipal limits of the City of Rockville, City of Takoma Park, or City of Gaithersburg.

  • Projects are not eligible if they are associated with permit approval requirements for new building construction, additions, or renovations.

  • All participation and eligibility decisions are final and are at the sole discretion of the Department of Environmental Protection.


Rain garden


RainScapes Communities

In addition to being rebate eligible, communities may request analysis and planning for identifying RainScapes opportunities. 


“I had rainwater runoff issues and was looking all over for solutions. The incentive from the RainScapes program made it a real winner. It was also a winner because it helps the stream, the Bay and the environment, but the real driver was that it helped me with the runoff problem.” - Silver Spring, MD homeowner

“I have a drainage problem in my back yard and a friend mentioned that the county website had information. I went online and found the RainScapes program. When I started, I did not even know about the incentive.” - Chevy Chase homeowner
Conservation landscaping

“It defrays the cost of a project I wanted to do anyway.” - Aspen Hill homeowner

“I wanted to put in indigenous trees to enhance my yard, but I did not know what to look for on my own. The RainScapes program really helped.” - Bethesda homeowner

“I had an erosion problem. If you hire a commercial outfit to help, they just sell you their stuff. The County is impartial—they gave me the information I needed” - Silver Spring homeowner

Butterfly Milkweed