WaterSmart Classes

WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program

Using water efficiently is a way of life and an important responsibility that comes along with the benefits of living in a beautiful Mediterranean climate like the one we enjoy in San Diego County.

The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program is a free educational program designed to give you the skills and knowledge to turn your water-thirsty lawn into a beautiful and sustainable landscape that saves water and will thrive in our region.

Choose from our personalized four-class series, three-hour workshops and videos on demand.

Upcoming & New


Three-Hour Design for Homeowners Workshops

These free, three-hour workshops teach homeowners the basics of landscape makeovers. Topics include soil, design, turf removal, plant selection, planning, irrigation, rainwater catchment and implementation — all the elements needed to convert high-water-use turf to a beautiful, water-efficient landscape. Registration is required. 

Three-Hour Workshop Descriptions

  • All classes are currently being held online.
  • All weekday workshops are held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday workshops from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Please note that while registration is unlimited, only the first 100 registrants to join will be admitted to the interactive portion of the webinar. Registrants joining after the webinar has reached capacity will be redirected to the YouTube live simulcast.

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead: Understanding Soil and Site Assessments

This workshop will introduce you to the steps needed to turn water-thirsty turf into a beautiful and sustainable landscape that is. Our landscape expert will show you the steps required to rethink, redesign and renovate your landscape with a focus on site assessments, base sheet development and understanding the important role of healthy soil in a successful landscape.


Design: Shape Your Space

Ensuring your new landscape is well-integrated into your personal lifestyle is the goal of this session. Our landscape expert will show you how to plan for the functionality of your new space and provide tips to achieve a design style that fits your personal style.


Plants: Inspiring Choices for Our Region

This session illustrates how a low-water-use landscape can be an upgrade, not a compromise. Our landscape expert will teach you about plants and why some are more water efficient than others. You’ll be introduced to attractive, WaterSmart plant palettes and learn how to research and choose plants that fit your design theme.

Water & Irrigation

Water & Irrigation: Utilizing A Precious Resource

This session will give you strategies to use our limited water sources wisely, including integrating stormwater capture elements into your landscape and conserving water through simple irrigation system retrofits. Our landscape expert’s goal is to help you create a sustainable landscape that loves San Diego as much you.

Installation & Maintenance

Installation & Maintenance: Protecting Your Investment

After planning your new garden space, it’s time to learn how to protect your investment. Our landscape expert will give you strategies for success when removing your turf, installing your new landscape and maintaining it. You’ll learn how to minimize your water use and maximize your enjoyment of an outdoor space that suits your lifestyle.


WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Four-Class Series

The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series provides a personalized experience to help you turn your high-water-use turf areas into WaterSmart landscapes. This is done through four classes that focus on your specific project and include lectures, hands-on lab work, demonstrations, homework assignments and one-on-one coaching by local landscape and irrigation professionals.

Enrollment in the four-class series is limited to 25 participants.

2022 Series Schedule

Spring Wednesdays
April 20-May 11
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Summer Saturdays
May 28-June 18
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Eligibility & Requirements

Class participants must:

  • Own their home
  • Identify an existing turf area for removal (brown or dead turf that is evident in a recent, original photograph is acceptable)
  • Have a functional in-ground irrigation system (sprinkler heads, irrigation valves or controllers shown in a recent, original photograph are acceptable)
  • Commit to attending all four classes in the series
  • Apply online and be approved for enrollment

Class 1 – Get Started

This class is designed to help you understand the factors needed to create a beautiful and climate appropriate replacement to traditional turf. You will learn the watershed approach to landscaping. This class walks you through the important tasks of analyzing your site, assessing your soil and consideration for how much water you ultimately want to conserve in your newly landscaped area.

download this documentClass 1 – Presentation

Class 2 – Shape Your Space

The new landscape you envision should support the way you intend to use the space. Imagine creating an extension of your home with consideration for the basic architecture of the house. What type of room would you add? In our Mediterranean climate, you can add an exterior room that may accomplish the same goal. At the end of the day, if a space doesn’t function well for the people who use it, it won’t be successful.

download this documentClass 2 – Presentation

Class 3 – Make It Happen

This class explains how you will be able to retrofit to an efficient water-saving irrigation system by becoming familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of various irrigation controllers, rotary sprinklers, pop-up spray head sprinklers, sprinkler nozzles, irrigation valves, and drip irrigation types. Proper maintenance and effective watering schedules are also covered.

download this documentClass 3 – Presentation

Class 4 – Design Coaching

In this session, you’ll be meeting with your Design Coach to finalize your LID, planting, and irrigation plans. If you’re still unsure of what you want to do, don’t worry. Our Design Coaches will work with you to develop the plan you need. Your coaching session will be by appointment.

download this documentClass 4 – Presentation

Landscape Makeover Videos

This series of 20 videos provides a step-by-step guide through the process of creating beautiful, water-efficient landscapes. These entertaining and informative videos cover numerous topics, from measuring properties and understanding soil to picking the right plants for the right place

Episode List

Episode 1: WaterSmart San Diego County

Episode 2: WaterSmart Series Overview

Episode 3: Identify Your WaterSmart Target

Episode 4: Create A Plot Plan

Episode 5: Get To Know Your Soil

Episode 6: Build Healthy Soil

Episode 7: Put Your Soil To Work

Episode 8: Rediscover Your Yard

Episode 9: Pick Your Plants

Episode 10: Share Your Space

Episode 11: Design For Curb Appeal

Episode 12: Create A Garden To Live In

Episode 13: Draw Your Garden Design

Episode 14: Irrigate Like A Pro

Episode 15: Toss Your Turf

Episode 16: Install Your WaterSmart Garden

Episode 17: Care For Your WaterSmart Landscape

Episode 18: First Flush of Rainwater

Episode 19: Catch The Rain

Episode 20: Store The Rain