Rain Beds

Rain barrels + Raised beds = Rain beds

We are excited to unveil our engineer Derek Hann’s latest invention: the Rain Bed. This system is comprised of rain barrels connected to a raised bed, and is the lowest-cost, highest-benefit way we have devised to help treat stormwater runoff from our roofs. Build your own with materials sold at cost by the district.

Derek Explaining the First Rain Bed in the Field (Video 00:41)

First, you will need a rain barrel system, raised on cinder blocks to help gravity flow. Below is a how-to video for installing your own rain barrel(s). Simple tools are needed and a 55-gallon drum. Often, you can get a rain barrel through Snohomish Conservation District. Sign up for updates on our rain barrel page to be notified when we’re having a sale.

How to Install Your Own Rain Barrel System (Video - 9:58)

Here are some photographs showing greater detail of each rain bed component.

Rain barrels on cinder blocks with valve.

Rain barrels on cinder blocks with valve.

Rain barrels are connected to the rain bed with a pipe buried under the soil or grass (as pictured above).

Rain barrels are connected to the rain bed with a pipe buried under the soil or grass (as pictured above).

Valves on the rain barrel are opened to start the flow of water into the rain bed.

Valves on the rain barrel are opened to start the flow of water into the rain bed.

Close up of Hann Gutter and bioretention mix

Close up of Hann Gutter and bioretention mix

Next, an 8 x 4 foot raised wood bed is needed. Liners are used on the inside of the bed. Raised beds are filled with ‘bioretention mix’, which is available at local soil suppliers. This soil mix is traditionally used in rain gardens and is made of compost and sand. Plants love it!

Lastly, it is time to plant! Rain beds are ideal for those plants that need a little extra water - like annuals, cut flowers, and yes- even edibles! Are crops safe to irrigate with rainwater from roofs? The answer is yes! Research has given the green light for watering edible plants with rainwater.

The full system installed without plants.

The full system installed without plants.

Have a group of neighbors (at least 6 homes), community group, business or place of worship that wants to give this a try? You can help our community building efforts by submitting your request for a fully-funded and installed Rain Bed.

Are you a "Do It Yourself" person? If so, you can build your own Rain Bed, and the Conservation District sells some of the rain bed materials at cost.

Cost (plus applicable sales tax):

  • $300 - Full system, which includes 4 rain barrels, plumbing, bed, gutter and liner (not including installation)
  • $50 - Rain barrel only
  • $20 - Gutter for rain bed
  • $10 - Liner for rain bed

Please contact Derek Hann at 425-377-7012 or derek (at) snohomishcd.org for more information or to have the Snohomish Conservation District come out for a site visit.

Happy watering!