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Please contact our Statewide Program Leader if you require this information in a different format.

Rain Garden Online Training for Non-Professionals


Course Overview

A rain garden is a landscaped area that collects, absorbs, and filters stormwater runoff. Rain gardens are sized to accommodate temporary ponding after it rains and are not meant to be permanent ponds. Simply put, rain gardens are working gardens comprising a shallow depression filled with a special soil mix and planted.

Following the requirements of your local city, county, and/or state jurisdiction, this course provides master gardeners (and other rain garden enthusiasts) introductory material for the planning, construction, and maintenance of rain gardens.

The certificate you will receive after passing the assessments associated with these modules will provide evidence you have completed the Rain Garden Training. This training is offered by the Washington Stormwater Center, Washington State University Extension, and Stewardship Partners.

Course Goals

Free online self-paced introductory course to rain garden planning, construction, plant selection, and maintenance for non-professionals. The course is intended for homeowners and rain garden enthusiasts interested in managing excess stormwater on their property.

Course content includes reading material, video segments from in-the-field rain garden construction and referrals to additional resources.

This training is offered through the Washington Stormwater Center.

Module 1: Planning & Design

  • Determine if a rain garden is feasible for an intended location
  • Determine the size of the rain garden needed to meet stormwater management objectives

Module 2: Construction

  • Lock-in all the final planning details for constructing a rain garden
  • Determine the soil type desired or needed for a specific rain garden

Module 3: Planting

  • Gain understanding of how plants contribute to rain gardens—both aesthetically and functionally
  • Make rain garden plant decisions based on a wide variety of criteria, from site conditions to future maintenance efforts

Module 4: Maintenance

  • Learn how rain garden maintenance differs slightly from regular garden maintenance
  • Identify maintenance tasks that follow the seasons, particularly during the dry summers and wet winter months

Course material is offered in an online, self-paced format. The course material includes reading material, video segments of actual rain garden construction, practice examples, and referrals to additional resources.

Assessments at the end of each module comprise 10 questions based on the material presented in the module. All assessments are open book, you may use any resource at your disposal to answer the questions. You will have 30 days from the time you start to complete an assessment. You will need a score of 75% or higher to pass an assessment. You may retake the assessment 2 additional times if you don’t receive a passing score on your first attempt.

On successfully passing all assessments, you will receive a (digital or hard copy) Rain Garden Training Certificate. This online WSU advanced training program for Veteran MGs is approved for 8 hours of CE only upon completion of all modules. 

This course is offered as self-paced and online only. Technical issues with the platform can be directed to: wsuonline.support@wsu.edu. Questions about course content can be directed to lid.inquiries@wsu.edu.

Initial funding that supported WSU Extension’s involvement in rain garden education was provided by Stewardship Partners, a non-profit organization dedicated to land and water conservation in the Puget Sound region.

The material covered in this training program complements the 12,000 Rain Gardens campaign, which is a cooperative effort with local partners led by Stewardship Partners (Home – Stewardship Partners) and Washington State University Extension (Rain Gardens | Washington State University (wsu.edu)).