Rain Garden Solutions

Rain gardens offer so many benefits. These specially designed gardens filter pollutants from runoff, conserve water, remove standing water from your yard, and help keep water from potentially damaging your home, just to name a few.

Located in the heart of Des Moines, this cozy little front yard gave us the opportunity to install a rain garden. With its limited lot size, the home’s downspout and sump pump had no where to go during a heavy rain. A section of PVC was installed underground, connecting the two to an area about 15′ away from the foundation of the house. The existing soil was excavated about 24″ deep to be replaced with a sand, soil, compost mix. This is essential for good drainage. Without amending the soil, the garden would have had issues with heavy rains and draining fast enough, creating overflow and potential flooding. Measuring the square footage of the roof determined the size of the rain garden. A special formula will calculate this. It is also essential to create a shallow depression. The rain garden is not to be level with the existing landscape. In a heavy rain as the waters rise, a rain garden will contain the water with its shallow depression, and slowly filtrate it back into the soil. Planting native plants will also help with the water absorption and filtering water as they have a more extensive root system than non-native plantings. With this particular installation, New Jersey Tea Shrub was planted in the rain garden.

Hydrangeas, turf grass and assorted shade perennials occupied the space before it was transformed into a rain garden.
This photo was taken during the installation process, showing the depth of the rain garden that later would be filled with a mix of sand, soil and compost. The downspout off the house has been tiled underground and outlets into the rain garden.
The rain garden has been completed. Native plants such as New Jersey Tea shrub have been planted to help absorb water and filter the water back into the ground. Mexican beach pebbles are used decoratively but also functionally as they will help prevent mulch from washing into the yard. They also give the appearance of a babbling brook.

Hocus Pocus Groundcovers

‘Elfin’ Creeping Thyme (Photo Credit: Midwest Groundcovers)
Purple Blooms in May/June. Drought Tolerant!

We are a proud supplier of Hocus Pocus Groundcovers from Midwest Groundcovers. Whether you are looking for something to fun to walk on, something to mix inbetween your shrubs and perennials, a new addition to a fairy garden, blooms to bring in pollinators, plants to grow under trees, we can offer a groundcover for every situation. Mixed with ornamental grasses, perennials and shrubs, groundcovers can also help ease the maintenance of weeding the garden! We offer complimentary online groundcover consultation. Send us a message at info@plantlifedesigns.com with your groundcover questions!

We can find the right groundcover for your garden location, calculate exactly how many you need and order it for pick up at Plant Life Designs!

For a detailed list of our availbity from Midwest Groundcovers, click here! https://www.hocuspocusgroundcovers.com/

Pictured below are two different groundcover planting patterns. Once we know how you would prefer to place them, we can calculate the number of plants needed!

Triangle Pattern
Grid Pattern

Keep On Growing!

During our time quarantined in our homes with the spread of the Coronavirus, we can still find ways to keep growing. Thinking about the garden and planning for the future keeps us going during these more challenging times that we are in. Here are a few suggestions from your friends at Plant Life Designs!

‘Scentsation’ Honeysuckle Vine

‘Scentsation’ Honeysuckle Vine
Very showy vine with extremely fragrant yellow flowers. Drought tolerant. Fall color.
Full Sun
12-15′ in height, 4-6′ in width
Zone 4-9

$38, 2 gal. size

Available in spring 2020. Plant Life Designs will call for pick up.

*Plants carry a warranty only when installed by Plant Life Designs.

‘Wine Garden’

Add a ‘wine garden’ to your landscape this season with these beautiful selections! See the recipe card below and if you need more assistance please give us a call! Order your plants today for a spring pick up. 515.996.8888

‘Ginger Wine’ Physocarpus
4-6′ tall, 4-6′ wide
Full sun to part sun
Hues of orange-red in the spring and fall; burgundy in summer
White blooms in early summer
Zone 3-7
$51.50 ea, 5 gal. size

‘Winecraft Black’ Smokebush
4-6′ tall, 4-6′ wide
Full sun
Burgundy blooms, purple-black foliage; orange in fall
Zone 4-8
$60 ea, 5 gal size

‘Tuscan Sun’ Heliopsis
12-18″ tall, 12-18″ wide
Full Sun to part sun
Bright daisy-like flowers with an orange-gold button center
Zones 3-9
$17.50 ea, 1 gal. size
‘Cherry Cheeks’ Daylily
24-36″ tall, 18-36″ wide
Full sun
Pinkish-red flowers with gold throat
Zones 3-9
$12.50 ea, 1 gal size

‘Bonfire’ Euphorbia
8-12″ tall, 12-18″ wide
Full sun to part sun
Green foliage changes purple, red, and orange for the summer
Blooms yellow in summer
Zones 4-9
$18 ea, 1 gal size

(Photos courtesy of Midwest Groundcovers)

Spotlight on ‘Berry Poppins’ Winterberry

Ilex verticillata ‘Berry Poppins’
‘Berry Poppins’ Winterberry
This shrub is perfect for a pop of red in a snowy Iowa landscape!  
Reaching only 3-4′ tall and 3-4′ wide, makes it easy to add into your garden.  The leaves on this plant will drop early, displaying large red colorful berries for the winter season.  ‘Berry Poppins’ prefers full sun to part sun, with moist, well-drained soils.  Pair with ‘Mr. Poppins’ for proper pollination.  

Order today for spring pick-up!  

‘Berry Poppins’ Winterberry, 3 Gal. $46.50

‘Mr. Poppins’ Winterberry, 3 gal. $46.50


Order your tidy plants today for spring! Plants will be available for pick up in late April/early May. We will contact you when they arrive and can be picked up at our gardens in Van Meter.

(Please note, plants only carry a warranty if planted by Plant Life Designs. )

‘Summer Beauty’ Allium
12-18″ x 18-24″
Full Sun
Deer/Rabbit Resistant
$12, 1 Gal. Size
‘Millenium’ Allium
12-18″ x 18-24″
Full Sun
Deer/Rabbit Resistant
$13, 1 Gal Size
‘Peek-A-Boo’ Allium
8-12″ x 18-24″
Full Sun
Deer/Rabbit Resistant
$15, 1 Gal. Size

‘Royal Heritage’ Lenten Rose
18-24″ x 18-24″
Shade to Part Sun
Deer Resistant
$20, 1 Gal. Size
Aronia Low Scape Mound
18-24″ x 18-24″
Full Sun/Part Shade
Red Fall Foliage
White Spring Flower
$38.50, 2 Gal Size
‘Kit Kat’ Catmint
8-12″ x 8-12″
Full Sun
Deer/Rabbit Resistant
$12, 1 Gal Size
Drift Roses
Apricot 12-18″ x 24-36″
Coral 12-18″ x 18-24″
Peach 12-18″ x 18-24″
Pink 12-18″ x 24-36″
Popcorn 12-18″ x 18-24″
Red 12-18″ x 24-36″
Sweet 12-18″ x 24-36″
White 12-18″ x 24-36″
Full Sun
$38, 3 Gal. Size

Drift Rose
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’
Apline Betony
18-24″ x 12-18″
Full Sun
$12.50, 1 Gal Size
Autumn Moor Grass
18-24″ x 12-18″
Versatile Grass
Full Sun
$14, 1 Gal. Size
‘Bonfire’ Cushion Spurge
8-12″ x 12-18″
Full Sun/Part Sun
$18, 1 Gal. Size