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Master Rain Gardener Certificate Course

Time limit: 49 days

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Full course description

To view course offerings please click HERE to visit the program page.

Course Description:

Master Rain Gardener is a program focused on rain garden and rainwater harvesting system design and installation. The Master Rain Gardener (MRG) course will provide design standards and the knowledge-based skill set necessary to install rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems on a residential scale. Rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems offer residents and landscape professionals with a management tool for flooding on property, erosion prevention, incorporation of native plants and backyard habitat into the lawn, and the establishment of a low-irrigation landscape.

The Certification Track is intended for contractors, landscape designers, landscape installers and other professionals who will install residential-scale rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems for pay. The Certification track is open to residential audiences who wish to participate in the field day.

Online course content will include:

  • Rain garden site assessment, soil analysis, design standards, construction, plant selection, design elements, maintenance, and more.
  • Rainwater harvesting system sizing, pre-filtration devices, component considerations, water use and safety measures.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Design a rain garden for long term aesthetic interest, function and water quality protection.
  • Analyze soil and other site conditions to determine size and placement of a rain garden.
  • Determine an appropriate soil recipe for a rain garden to encourage infiltration and healthy plants.
  • Size a rainwater harvesting system based on site conditions and end use.
  • Design a rainwater harvesting system complete with pre-filtration, conveyance and other system components necessary.
  • Create a maintenance and inspection plan for rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems. 

Course Topics:

Weekly Topics:

  1. The Built Environment, Introduction to Rain Gardens, Siting & Soil Assessment
  2. Drainage Area Analysis, Rain Garden Size & Shape, Planting Mix, Soil Amendments
  3. Landscape Design, Plant Selection, Mulch Calculation & Rain Garden Maintenance
  4. Introduction to Rainwater Harvesting, System Sizing & Use, Rain Barrels, Cistern Conveyance & Pre-filtration, Maintenance

Course Requirements:

Students seeking certification will be required to participate in an asynchronous online course with audio-visual modules. In addition to the course core, students will be required to participate in weekly forum discussions and complete weekly quizzes. All participants must complete all modules, pass all quizzes, participate in 80% of the discussions, attend a full-day, in-person training, and pass the final exam to receive their certificate. Recognition as a certified Master Rain Gardener can serve as a marketing tool for professionals.

Technical Requirements:

To participate fully in this course, you will need:

  • An active email address for the individual participating in the course.
  • A desktop computer or laptop (recommended): Canvas is available on mobile devices, but some content may appear differently.
  • Access to a high-speed internet connection.
  • A web browser compatible with Canvas: Chrome and Firefox are recommended.
  • Headphones or speakers (closed captioning also available).
  • Computer skills including Internet browsing, using email, typing, downloading files, and basic troubleshooting.

Need Help?

  • If you need help accessing or registering for a course, please contact Clemson Online at
  • Our support email is monitored Monday-Friday from 8:00-4:30. If you contact us in the evening or on the weekend, we will help you during the next business day.
  • Please do not contact CCIT regarding CPE courses. Please reach out to Clemson Online so that we can assist you.
  • Using Bulk Purchase? Please inform those you purchase seats for. They will receive an email invitation immediately upon enrollment. For more help, read about bulk enrollments in Catalog.