Course Detail: PER420 - Sustainable Garden Design Certificate - NEW!

Sustainable Garden Design Certificate - NEW!

Sustainable gardening combines organic gardening practices with resource conservation. Generally, sustainable gardening is forward-thinking, values ecosystem support, and makes as little negative impact on the earth as possible. A sustainable design evaluates every aspect of the landscape with the goal to reduce your negative environmental impact, while including features that are beneficial to the natural world and beautiful at the same time. Each class will offer you guidance in planning and designing more sustainable qualities into your landscape. 

Class meets for lecture every other week for two hours. By the end of this program, students will have a comprehensive sustainable design plan specific to their own space. Students should plan to dedicate several hours per assignment to outside research and planning and be able to utilize Google Slides and Docs to upload coursework for review. 

This noncredit certificate was designed for those interested in enhancing their gardening and agriculture skill set in an informal setting. Information is applicable to urban, suburban, and rural areas.

By the end of the program, students will be able to: 
  • Evaluate the sustainability of a landscape 
  • Design a sustainable landscape, guided by your specific landscape evaluation and needs 
  • Understand the importance of site evaluation, relative to plant selection and sustainable landscape design 
  • Recognize how landscape design impacts resource use and the impact design choices can have on the environment

The Program - Offered Each Fall Semester

Session 1:  Personal Survey & Site History

Session 2:  Drawing Your Base Map

Session 3:  Water Survey

Session 4:  Soil Survey

Session 5:  Site Cross Section

Session 6:  Garden Ecosystem & Local Ecology 

Session 7:  Microclimates & Zones 

Session 8:  Sector Compass

Session 9: Design Plan

Session 10:  Wrap Up, Q & A, Presentations 

About the Instructor 
Marissa Renz is the owner of Plant Happiness LLC, a garden consultation and design company located in Fort Wayne. After receiving her B.S. in Public Policy, Environmental Affairs, she received training in the Purdue Extension Master Gardener, Master Naturalist, and Urban Agriculture programs.  In 2023, she completed the Oregon State University Professional Permaculture Design Program. In the last decade, Marissa has worked in property management, provided designs and installations for clients, permaculture, community education, and organic market gardening.  Marissa's research of plants and garden design focuses on creating visually appealing outdoor spaces that also operate as balanced and functional ecosystems.
Learn more about her services by visiting her website at:

Available Sessions - Click on date(s) below.