Clemson Cooperative Extension to Launch Master Rain Gardener Certification Program in 2018

By: Kim Counts Morganello, Clemson Cooperative Extension

Message From The President

In the spring of 2018, Clemson Extension will launch Master Rain Gardener, a new certification program focused on rain garden and rainwater harvesting system design and installation. The Master Rain Gardener (MRG) program 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 offer landscape designers and installers with a means of assisting clients with management of flooding on property, erosion prevention, incorporation of native plants and backyard habitat into the lawn, and the establishment of a low-irrigation landscape.

The Master Rain Gardener program is a hybrid, multi-week curriculum allowing self-paced online learning modules, hands-on field experience, and a two-track option to meet the needs of diverse audiences. The Certification track, or professional 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.

Recognition as a certified Master Rain Gardener can serve as a marketing tool for professionals. In addition to online recognition through Clemson Extension, marketing materials will also be provided to certified individuals. Clients expressing concerns regarding site-level flooding and erosion issues, or expressing interest in “green gardening” methods, can be directed to the Master Rain Gardener certification program page on the Clemson Extension website.

The online-based instruction format of Master Rain Gardener allows for self-paced learning. 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.

The field component of the course provides participants with the opportunity to apply practices learned as they participate in the installation of a rainwater harvesting system andrain garden at the field site.

In order to achieve certification, individuals must complete four weeks of Master Rain Gardener online course content, attend a full-day, in-person training and pass the course exam.

To learn more visit or email Kim Morganello at to be notified when registration is open.


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