WaterSmart Classes

WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program

This program will come to a close in Summer 2024. Please make sure to register for a class series below if interested in taking advantage of the Designer At Your Door program. The DYD program will close on July 15, 2024.

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 will save water and thrive in our region.

Choose from our three-hour workshops, videos on demand and the new Designer At Your Door program. For questions, email landscapemakeover@sdcwa.org.


Three-Hour Landscape Workshops

These FREE, three-hour online and in-person workshops will give you the skills and knowledge to create a yard that loves San Diego as much as you do! Each workshop, taught by a local landscape design professional, focuses on specific landscape topics with a “do-it-yourself” approach including landscape design and maintenance, soil identification and health, turf types and removal tips, plant selection, rainwater catchment, irrigation retrofits and project installation.

These workshops are funded in part by the County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program. If you live in unincorporated San Diego County, you may be eligible for additional incentives through the Waterscape Rebate Program.

Virtual Workshop Schedule

Plants: Inspiring Choices for Our Region

Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 9 a.m.

Water & Irrigation: Utilizing a Precious Resource

Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 9 a.m.

Installation & Maintenance: Protecting Your Investment

Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 9 a.m.

Workshop Descriptions

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.

Design Program

Designer At Your Door

Transform Your Yard into a Beautiful Water-Saving Landscape

The Designer at Your Door water conservation service will close on July 15, 2024. This service represents an additional opportunity for one-on-one support from industry professionals. Homeowners must meet certain criteria to qualify for these services. Please make sure to finish the 5-class series to sign up for a DYD consultation before July 15, 2024.

In response to climate changes and the changing needs of regional residents, the Designer at Your Door service incorporates our living curriculum model and complements our special topic workshop classes. Our on-demand landscape makeover videos round out the core components of this educational program.

Since 2014, the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program has helped the region’s homeowners replace 1.5 million square feet of turf with sustainable landscaping, saving more than 51 million gallons of water per year! San Diego offers the ideal climate for indoor-outdoor living. Our team is committed to helping you design a garden to live in and one that loves San Diego as much as you do.

It’s FREE and it’s EASY so apply today!

Step 1.  Apply for the Designer At Your Door service.
Step 2.  After receiving approval, enroll in the five core special topic workshops.
Step 3.  Report your workshop attendance to WaterSmart team by emailing landscapemakeover@sdcwa.org.
Step 4.  The WaterSmart team will verify your attendance and contact you to schedule one-on-one technical support!

To qualify for the Designer At Your Door service you must:

  • Be a homeowner in San Diego County and a customer of a local water agency
  • Have an in-ground, operational irrigation system
  • Be willing to convert an existing turf area to a sustainable landscape
  • Take at least 5 of our three-hour workshops

How can I learn more about WaterSmart landscapes?

Attend a Three-Hour Virtual Workshop

Find a workshop in your area and get a sneak preview of the series content. These three-hour workshops are free and held countywide. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all workshops are currently being held online.

Landscape Makeover
Watch Our Videos On Demand

This series of videos will take you step-by-step through the process of creating your very own beautiful, water-efficient landscape.

Watching videos
Think About Your Landscape

How do you use your space? Do you have kids and pets? Do you like entertaining? Or just want less maintenance?


Landscape Makeover Videos

This series of videos mirrors the content of the workshops and four-class series and will take you step-by-step through the process of creating your very own beautiful, water-efficient landscape. From measuring your property to getting to know your soil to picking the right plants for the right place, these entertaining and informative videos will guide you along the path to a WaterSmart landscape.

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