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Spotlight: Landscape Design Basics Workshop

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Northern Gardener.

MSHS is collaborating with University of Minnesota Extension again to bring gardeners the workshop Landscape Design Basics for Homeowners. This comprehensive class focuses on the landscape process from site analysis (including soil sampling) to concept plans to site-specific plant selection. Hands-on labs during class allow students to practice developing good bed-lines, mixing and matching plants, and building flexibility into designs. You can take the workshop as a five-evening class where students work on their own project or as a one-day class where students work on a residential landscape design case study.

Design basics image

Photo credit: Istockphotograpy

With so much information and hands-on time, it’s no wonder this is our most popular class. Instructors Julie Weisenhorn and Jim Calkins bring extensive experience (and fun) to the class. Longtime friends and colleagues, they taught landscape design classes together in the Department of Horticultural Science and co-wrote a manual on landscape design for homeowners with Professor Emeritus Brad Pedersen in 2003.

As an extension educator, Julie has statewide responsibility for horticulture education with a focus on plant selection, sustainable residential landscape design and best gardening practices especially for pollinator health. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” she says. You can also find Julie some Saturday mornings on the WCCO Smart Garden radio show.

Landscape horticulturist Jim Calkins describes himself as “a Ph.D. with a sense of humor” and strongly supports the notion that there are no bad plants—only good plants in the wrong place. Jim is currently a horticultural consultant, landscape designer and educator as well as research information director and regulatory affairs manager for the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association.

Registration for the first round of this class ends Jan. 22. A one-day version of the class will be held March 28 as well.

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