Plants used for rain garden should tolerate both water saturated and dry soil; when rain and other run off is plentiful the soils will be wet, during other times the soils may be dry. A well planned rain garden require minimal maintenance to survive, should be compatible with adjacent land use, contribute habitats for native butterflies, birds, and beneficial insects, and be ascetically pleasing.

A rain garden requires an area where water can collect and where plants can grow, they allow water to infiltrate into the ground instead of running off and causing erosional damage.