How to Landscape in a Wet Climate



Wet soil and rainy days can wreck your landscaping if you don’t plan accordingly. Make the most out of your climate, and you’ll get a lot more out of your garden. Improve your soil and choose the right plants, and you’ll create a gorgeous landscaping design that will turn heads and stay beautiful even in the soggiest conditions.

Improve Conditions

Wet soil doesn’t have to put a damper on your gardening dreams. If the natural climate of your garden is wet, improve the conditions so plants can grow more easily in the soil.

Improve your soil, and it will support richer plant growth. If soil drains well, it can provide the right environment for plants even in a moist climate. Dig up your garden beds and turn the soil several times to aerate it. Add lots of organic matter (in the form of compost) to the soil to break it up and improve drainage. Compost will lighten up heavy, moist soil and keep it nutrient-rich to support healthy growth of plants.

Raised garden bed with landscaping.

You can also use raised beds to keep garden soil well-drained and more hospitable to plants. If you live in wet conditions, elevated beds will drain better than regular garden beds in the ground, so soil stays dryer. Surround your raised bed with landscaping rocks, wood, or some other type of support, and build the soil up six to 12 inches higher than ground level. Be sure to include drainage holes around the base of your bed surround.

Choose the Right Plants

Pick the right plants for your garden, and wet soil will be your landscaping dream come true. There are many plants that thrive in moist conditions and look best when grown in wet soil. Use these moisture-loving plants to paint your landscaping with beautiful colors, and create a perfect look.

Flowering Shrubs

A white picket fence with a blue flowering hydrangea plant.

Hydrangea is a landscaping favorite, and it's a great choice for moist soil. This flowering plant loves wet soil, and blooms best when it has plenty of water. Hydrangea blossoms in soft shades of pink or blue, depending on the pH balance of your soil.

Black chokeberry is a great all-season plant for any landscaping design. These bushes produce pretty white flowers in spring. The foliage turns purple and red in fall, when the berries bloom.

Winterberry can grow in partial shade or full sun, so it's a versatile landscaping plant. Birds are attracted to the bright berries produced by this deciduous shrub, which adds another element of life and color to any garden.


Marsh marigolds in a swampy landscape.

Marsh marigolds produce beautiful flowers in the early spring. The bright yellow flowers grow well in wet, swampy climates. Marsh marigolds will even survive and grow in standing water.

Canna flowers grow big, beautiful blossoms in bold red, yellow, orange, and pink shades. Cannas grow tall, up to eight feet in some varieties, to become a standout flower of any landscaping design.

Cardinal flowers are named for their bright red blooms. They'll grow well in watery gardens, and in full sun can get up to four feet in height. These flowers will also grow in partial shade, though they won't get as tall.


Lily of the Valley green and white flowers.

Lily of the valley is a pretty flowering groundcover that blooms with bell-shaped white flowers and dark green leaves. Lily of the valley likes moist soil best, and grows well in partial sun to full shade. Even in a rainy, overcast climate, lily of the valley thrives well and creates pretty white blooms.

Chameleon plant is a perfect wet weather groundcover. It grows well in moist soil and spreads out beautifully with colorful foliage. The leaves show shades of yellow, pink, and red around the edges, with deep green in the middle. Chameleon plant grows in full sun or partial shade.


Blue star creeper is named for its star-shaped, pale purple flowers. This groundcover is a gardening superstar that grows anywhere, from full sunlight to deep shade, so it can brighten up any corner of your garden. It loves moist soil and grows happily even in cloudy, overcast climates.


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