Master *Rain* Gardener Class

Welcome to the Kalamazoo Master Rain Gardener class.  Everything you’ll need for the class will be posted here.  The course will be taught indoors, so no special clothing or equipment is required for class.  Students will need access to gardening supplies and equipment to test their soil and dig and plant their rain gardens.

 Class Information

Dates:  Wednesdays, February 20 – March 27, 2019
Time:  5:30 – 8:00 PM
Location: KVCC Food Innovation Center classroom
Instructors: Anna Kornoelje ( and Patty Hoch-Melluish (

Class Resources

Class Schedule

FEBRUARY 20   |   Class 1:  Introduction to Rain Gardens

  • Class video
  • Coursepack: page 5
  • Homework:
    • Start thinking about where you’d like to put your rain garden. It can be at your home, place of business, or a willing friend’s yard.  Or you choose to design and plant a rain garden with a group (see Jamie for details).
    • Take photos of the area
    • Post photos to the group facebook page or bring photos or notes about the site to class next week
    • Read pages 3-5 and 9-11 of the coursepack


MARCH 6   |   Class 2:  Moving Dirt to Move Water & Site Design

  • Class video
  • Coursepack: page 6
  • Story of a Rain Garden,
  • Homework:
    • If you revised your garden location, post another photo to the group facebook page
    • Do a percolation test in the spot you plan to put your rain garden or grab a soil test to determine if your soils are sandy, clay, etc.
    • Call MISS-DIG (811)
    • Measure the approximate area of the impervious area that will feed into the rain garden and calculate the area in square feet (see coursepack, pages 12-13)
    • Post your percolation rate and impervious area to the group facebook page
    • Read pages 12-13 and 24-29 of the coursepack
    • Watch this video on how to dig a rain garden


MARCH 13   |   Class 3:  How to — Measuring, Planning, Digging & Sculpting

  • Class video
  • Coursepack: page 7
  • Story of a Rain Garden,
  • Homework:
    • Measure your space using the methods discussed in class and outlined in the coursepack page 14
    • Draw the outline of your rain garden on the base sheet (the bottom, berm, and cut edge).  Make sure bottom is big enough.  Do the number of squares (square feet) in the bottom correspond to the number of square feet you calculated you would need? (If slightly under-sized, plan for more wet condition of plants; if slightly over-sized, plan for more dry condition of plants).
    • Draw the rain water conveyance (pipe location, swale, or direction of overland flow)
    • Post a photo of your rain garden shape to the group facebook page or bring it to class next week
    • Decide on 3 plants you’d like to try in your rain garden
    • Read pages 14-21 in the coursepack


MARCH 20   |   Class 4:  Plant Design & Palette

  • Class video
  • Tentative guest speaker:  
  • Coursepack: page 8
  • Homework:
    • On your base sheet, draw in the areas where you’ll put different plants, be sure to take into consideration the zones of the rain garden (from wettest to driest) and the sun light conditions — a final rain garden design is due in class March 27.
    • Post a photo of your base sheet with your plant palette to the group facebook page or email your plan to Anna or Patty if you need additional feedback
    • Read pages 22-23 and 30-31 of the coursepack
    • Prepare a creative presentation of your final rain garden design to present to class next week (e.g., poster, 3-D model using clay/digital/etc., short video or slideshow [must provide your own tablet or computer], or any other format you choose!)


MARCH 27   |   Class 5:  Present Your Rain Garden Plan

  • Student poster session
  • Going forward:
    • Keep in touch as you begin digging!  Feel free to contact Anna or Patty with questions.
    • Once you’ve finished you rain garden, complete the Rain Garden Tracking Form and send it to Patty.  She’ll arrange to give you your certificate, rain garden sign, droplet (if you’re a master gardener), list your business on the certified contractors list (if applicable), and your Master Rain Gardener decal — post it with pride!
    • Map your finished rain garden on the website

THANK YOU to the many partners who have worked hard to bring this training course to Kalamazoo, especially Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, MSU Extension and Kalamazoo Master Gardeners Program, Kalamazoo County Land Bank, Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner, Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioners Office, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Kalamazoo District, Kieser & Associates, City of Kalamazoo, and our many guest speakers, volunteers, and committed residents.

This NPS Pollution Control project has been funded in part through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Nonpoint Source Program by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement #C9975474-16 to Kalamazoo Valley Community College for the Gardening Kalamazoo for Clean Water project. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Environmental Quality, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.