Course Detail: PER420 - Sustainable Garden Design Certificate

Sustainable Garden Design Certificate

This certificate was designed to educate garden enthusiasts on the key elements of sustainable garden design. Generally, sustainable gardening is solution-driven, values ecosystem support, and generates some of its own resources. A sustainable design evaluates current site characteristics and implements features that are both beautiful and beneficial to its local ecosystem. 

Each class will offer students guidance in planning and designing more sustainable qualities into their own landscape. Class meets for lectures every other week for two hours. 

By the end of this program, students will have designed 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 observations and research 
  • Understand the importance of site evaluation, relative to plant selection and sustainable management.
  • Recognize the role sustainable landscape design can play in adding to a healthy environment.

The Program 
Session 1: Personal Survey & Site History (October 7) 
Session 2: Drawing Your Base Map (October 21) 
Session 3: Soil Survey (November 4) 
Session 4: Water Survey (November 18) 
Session 5: Site Cross Section (December 2) 
Session 6: Ecology I (January 13) 
Session 7: Ecology II and Microclimates (January 27) 
Session 8: Zone and Sector Compass (February 10) 
Session 9: Design Plan (February 24) 
Session 10: TBD (March 10)

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:

 Session Information: 24FPER420

Schedule: Mondays, October 7 - March 10 (10 meetings)
Class meets every other week. No class December 18 or January 1.
Times: 06:00pm-08:00pm EDT


Name Additional Resources
Marissa Renz

Facility Detail

Purdue Fort Wayne Campus
Modular Classroom Bldg Rm 114 - Enter from St. Joe Rd. Look for Lot 16 or Parking Garage 3 (P3).
2101 E. Coliseum Blvd
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Facility Resources
Campus Map - Click Here

Modular Classroom Bldg Rm 114 - Enter from St. Joe Rd. Look for Lot 16 or Parking Garage 3 (P3).