Master Rain Gardener Class

Master Rain Gardeners earn their certificate by taking the class and building a rain garden. The class trains people to design and install rain gardens themselves - and to serve as their neighborhood expert. Master Rain Gardeners help friends and neighbors to learn about, design and plant rain gardens.

Learn to design, dig and plant your own rain garden!!

Share your knowledge and become your community's expert on rain gardens. At the end of this 5-session course, you will become a Master Rain Gardener! Rain gardens capture and soak in rainwater that runs off hard surfaces like roofs and driveways while filtering pollutants that would otherwise flow to our storm drains and into our creeks and streams.

Hosted by Cuyahoga SWCD, Lake SWCD, and Chagrin River Watershed Partners.

Instructors: Elizabeth Hiser and Amy Roskilly - Cuyahoga SWCD, Natalie Gertz-Young - Lake SWCD, Laura Bonnell, Chagrin River Watershed Partners.

Rain gardens work with nature to collect and filter rainwater that runs off impervious surfaces like rooftops and driveways. Impervious surfaces lead to increases in surface runoff and often result in increased flooding and stream bank erosion. As water travels over impervious surfaces it also has the potential to pick up pollutants. Polluted stormwater runoff enters our rivers and lakes and is one of the leading threats to water quality in the U.S.

This Master Rain Gardener Program will teach you how to manage rain water in your own yard. Rain gardens naturally manage stormwater by infiltrating precipitation and allowing it to soak into the ground rather than sending it directly to storm sewers and nearby streams untreated. Experienced instructors will provide customized feedback which will enable you to design and install a rain garden. Topics will include site assessment, soil analysis, design, construction, plant selection, mulching, and maintenance.

This 5 week course can be taken online and is offered as 5 weekly modules, allowing for more flexibility for those who are unable to attend the in-person classes. All participants will be required to complete five weeks of online course content and hands-on assignments and weekly quizzes.

The Residential Certification is geared toward homeowners who would like to install a rain garden in their own yard and serve as the neighborhood expert on rain gardens. This is a great educational extension program for Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists as well. To earn this certification, participants must complete the online 5-week course and install their own rain garden or adopt a public rain garden. Participants will receive a certificate and Master Rain Gardener T-shirt upon course completion.


  • $50 Online
  • $75 In Person
  • *Scholarships available - Email ehiser@cuyahogaswcd.org to discuss

Are you a professional looking to market your rain garden design or installation skills? Chagrin River Watershed Partners offers a Professional Certification geared toward landscape professionals and contractors looking to install rain gardens professionally on residential properties. Learn more about that option here.

  • Programs are filled on a first come, first served basis, register early to get a spot.
  • Fees must be paid in full upon registration.
  • Program fees are non-refundable and non-transferable to another date/program unless Cuyahoga SWCD finds it necessary to cancel a program.
  • Your payment confirms you are registered for the program.
  • Completed registrations will receive a confirmation email.

Program Coordinators: Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, and Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District

Program Implementers: Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Summit Soil & Water Conservation District

Program Partners: Holden Forests and Gardens, Cleveland Metroparks, and NEOPIPE

2021 Program Funders: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Lake County Stormwater Management Department, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 Program, Western Reserve Land Conservancy Dominion Watershed Mini-Grant Program, the William Bingham Foundation, and the George Gund Foundation

Program Creator: Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's Office


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