Workshop Descriptions

Not sure which workshop to take? You can take them all or go to just one. The choice is yours – go at your own pace and enjoy the process! Workshops take place throughout the metro area and are led by experienced facilitators and landscape designers. Most workshops include a visit to a neighborhood project to see design principles in action.

Explore Naturescaping

Naturescaping Basics (4 hours)

Yard Tour 2013 photoLearn how to design your landscape to reduce water use, decrease stormwater runoff and improve habitat for local birds, wildlife, and you! We will explore the core concepts of naturescaping, pollution prevention, and introduce attendees to watershed connections, native plant identification and site planning principals. Participants get to view before and after naturescaping examples, get native gardening and design tips, and take a field trip to a nearby project to see naturescaping principles in action. Every participant receives a comprehensive workbook and a native plant to help them get started.

Learn to Build a Rain Garden

Rain Gardens 101 (4 hours)

rain gardenLearn to construct your own rain garden! You will learn how to assess your site to determine the best location and size, calculate impervious surfaces, determine soil suitability, choose appropriate plants, and how to build and maintain your new rain garden. You will also receive a comprehensive rain garden manual, and where possible, take a field trip to a nearby rain garden.

Rain Garden Installation Workshop (Not currently offered)

Get a little practice before you start your own project! Get your hands dirty and gain practical experience as we work together to build a rain garden. We’ll start by reviewing some of the basics you learned in the Rain Garden 101 workshop and then we’ll start digging! (Note: Visit our Become a Rain Garden Captain page if you would like your yard to be considered as a future potential installation workshop site.)

Explore Native Plants

Native Plant Workshop (2 1/2 hours)

Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa)Find out about the many benefits of gardening with native plants! You’ll walk away with loads of information that will help you decide which native plants will work well in your yard. We will introduce you to common native plant communities in Portland, show examples of species that do well in similar growing conditions , share successful planting tips that will help them thrive and more! A native plant slideshow will highlight characteristics and desired growing conditions of many local favorite native groundcovers, shrubs and trees.

Invasive Weeds

Urban Weeds (2 1/2 hours)

Weeds – we all have them! Come learn how to identify the most common garden and landscape weeds, along with some of the other more notorious plant invaders of the region. We will walk you through how some of these aggressive plants take over in your yard, and how you can get the upper hand.

Graywater Systems and other Water Conservation Infrastructure

Graywater workshops (Not currently offered)

graywater concept sketchEMSWCD does not currently offer workshops or trainings on graywater reuse, rainwater harvesting or composting toilets. However, we may consider adding these topics to our future workshop offerings. If you are interested in any of these topics and would like to be notified of upcoming related events, please contact Erik Carr at