What is Rainscaping?

Rainscaping is a method of watershed restoration that uses practices to manage rain water where it falls. The Macatawa Rasincaping program promotes awareness and implementation of these practices among homeowners, landscapers, and contractors. The program highlights both the benefits of these practices and the skills required for installation.

Some rainscaping practices are also referred to as green stormwater infrastructure. This is a broader term encompassing many more practices that manage rain water where it falls. Rainscaping practices are a subset that can be easily used at home. They include:

  • Rain barrels
  • Rain gardens
  • Native plants
  • Tree planting
  • Riparian buffers

These practices help manage rain water where it falls while improving water quality, providing wildlife habitat and enhancing aesthetics.

Macatawa Rainscaping

The MACC and partners at ODC Network, Holland BPW and the Holland Hope College Sustainability Institute are developing a rainscaping program in the Macatawa Watershed. This program is modeled after Grand River Rainscaping, an LGROW Program. We have worked closely with LGROW staff to honor this program while adapting it to the Macatawa Watershed. A Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to the MACC in early 2020 is helping to fund program development.

How does the Program Work?

The Macatawa Rainscaping program includes multiple components and various ways to participate. The MACC and partners will develop these components this summer and determine a timeline for when each will be available.

Volunteer Training

The goal of volunteer training is to employ volunteers in the field to complete site assessments for homeowners and provide recommendations for rainscaping practices. Training is available for anyone ages 18 and up. Training includes a classroom session where participants will learn about rainscaping practices and how to conduct a site assessment, including some hands-on practice. We’ll also provide background information about our watershed, stormwater and other general concepts. Part two is an outdoor session where participants will practice conducting site assessments. After training is complete, program graduates will be assigned site assessments as they are requested by homeowners. But don’t worry, your trainers will be available to provide support and answer any questions!

We hosted our first volunteer training in April 2021. It was held in 2 parts with the first being a virtual classroom and the second an in-person site visit. Eight people attended the training, but not all will become volunteers. However, we hope to have a few volunteers ready to conduct site assessments soon!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, fill out this sign-up form and we will notify you of the next available training. Contact Kelly Goward at kelly@outdoordiscovery.org if you have any questions about becoming a Rainscaping Volunteer.


Homeowners can sign up to request a free site assessment and recommendations for rainscaping on their property. When available, you will be able to sign up online by filling out a brief survey about your property and goals. We will provide your responses to a volunteer who will arrange for a site visit to walk the property and discuss rainscaping. Within a couple weeks, the volunteer will provide a written summary and additional resources. MACC staff or other project partners will follow up to see if you want to implement any of the recommended practices. Through the current grant, cost-share funding will be available through June 2022 to help pay for rainscaping practices (half of the cost up to $300 per homeowner). Anyone interested in a site assessment now can request one from a program partner. To request a site assessment, please fill out and submit the following form:

Landscapers and Land Managers

We will offer an advanced training session for landscapers, land managers and others interested in learning more about installing and maintaining rainscaping practices. We are still developing program details, but we are modeling it after an 8-hour certification that is part of the LGROW Grand River Rainscaping. Green stormwater infrastructure professionals will lead the training that will include both a classroom and outdoor portion.