Rain gardens retain and reuse rainwater from rooftops, driveways, or parking lots to prevent adverse stormwater impacts. In this class, students will learn the principles and design techniques for planning, building, and maintaining a small-scale rain garden. Using the spirit of do-it yourself, students will become empowered with the tools to make a positive impact on their personal water-use and water-waste footprint. Learn how rain gardens are at once beautiful, effective, and fun! The course will cover background science, site investigation, permitting, design basics, plant and material selection, and hands-on installation.

Course start time: Saturday, 9am
Course end time: Monday, 5pm


  • Competency Level: All Levels
  • AIA credits: 21 HSW Learning Units

Course Outline


9:00 AM Introductions & Opening Exercise
10:00 AM Morning Lecture

  • Intro to Rain Gardens
  • Urban Hydrology and Stormwater

12:00 Lunch
1:00 PM Soil & Infiltration Tests
2:30 PM Lecture

  • Intro to Raingarden Design/Build

3:30 PM Establish design teams and projects
4:00 PM Plant walk and identification
6:00 PM Dinner

9:00 AM

  • Recap of Day 1
  • Q & A
  • Discussion

9:30 AM Individual exercise: Rain Garden Sizing
10:00 AM Team design time: Site analysis
11:30 AM Teams present site analysis
12:00 Lunch
1:00 PM Team: Design time: calculations, drawings, plantings, materials
4:30 PM Design presentations
6:00 PM Dinner


9:00 AM Leave YM for build site (off campus)
10:30 AM Build site orientation, tour of additonal rain gardens
12:00 Lunch
1:00 PM Rain garden work party - excavation, soil amendments, etc.
4:00 PM Return to Yestermorrow

Items to Bring

  • Closed-toed shoes
  • Work Clothes
  • Gloves