Students will learn to use the tools contained in an integrated software package to design a xeriscape for a local school site. Integrated packages contain software enabling users to word process, paint/draw, create spreadsheets, and make graphs. Some examples of integrated packages are ClarisWorks®, AppleWorks® and Microsoft Office®.


Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that is becoming popular in desert areas because it requires little water, unlike more traditional types of landscaping. Participants in this workshop will divide into small groups representing individual landscaping consulting firms. Each 'firm' will use word processing and graphics to create a company logo and prospectus. Prospective clients will be surveyed to ascertain their needs and desires. After entering the survey results into a spreadsheet, participants will construct graphs and interpret the data. The firms will then move on to actually creating the landscape design for their area utilizing on-line resources. Firms will make final presentation to the large group at the end of the day.






For Participants

Copies of Participant Xeriscape Landscaping Packet for each participant:

For Teacher



The day begins with one of two options, depending on whether this is this group's first workshop or a subsequent workshop:

  1. If this is the first workshop:
    As soon as the entire group is assembled, divide the participants into five groups of 4 members each.
  2. Give each group ten minutes to interview each other and organize for presentation of those interviews to the whole group.
  3. Groups should remain intact following the presentation of interviews because these same groups will be needed for the project.

If this is a subsequent workshop:


  1. The video on xeriscaping is shown and briefly discussed.
  2. Participants should receive copies of the RFP (Request for Proposal) from a hypothetical local school board seeking plans for xeriscaping at a local school. The RFP will be read aloud and discussed with the participants.
  3. Participants are divided into the original 5 groups of 4 members each. These are the new landscaping design firms. Each firm is given a packet of materials which includes:
  4. Survey guidelines.
  5. Detailed information on completing the contract.
  6. Requirements for designated area.
  7. Resource information on drip irrigation.
  8. Database on disk (hard copy backup available if necessary).
  9. Graph paper for final design.
  10. Examples of landscape design plans.
  11. Facilitators should go over each portion of the participants' packet, answering questions while emphasizing the products due for presentation at end of day.
  12. Due to the scope of the day's work, the facilitator should encourage groups to divide tasks to conquer this project. The first task to be completed must be the survey of the client's employees impacted by this project, in this case, the teachers at the site. Each firm should construct a survey of no more than ten relevant questions with simple yes-no responses, which could help guide their plan. This survey must be completed in the first half-hour of the work session so that it can be duplicated and disseminated to the entire group at the specified time. (Note: If duplicating facilities are not available, instructor will need to construct an alternative means of gathering the information, e.g. a tally sheet on the wall next to the survey copy).
  13. Following the brief time when the whole group assembles to administer surveys, each group should proceed independently with the day's work. One member of each group will be responsible for attending each of the expert sessions to be held.
  14. Expert sessions, conducted by the instructor and on-site coordinator, are aimed at quickly giving participants the minimum knowledge needed of each software application to accomplish today's task. Each firm should send one representative to each presentation so that they can return to the firm as the resident expert.
  15. After a brief break for lunch (some firms may decide on a working lunch), groups continue to fulfill the requirements of the contract.
  16. The actual landscaping plan is to be done with paper and pencil on graph paper. Samples of landscaping plans will be provided.


At the end of the working period, each firm is to give a ten-minute presentation highlighting their day's work. The presentation should include the following:


Participants will complete the Integrated Packages Rubric for self-assessment.

Integrated Packages Rubric

 Integrated Package Skills Possible Points  Self-Assessment
Organization of information from survey in spreadsheet formats. Can create different types of graphs from information.
Paint and Draw Tools:
Knows and understands how to use tools and produce a finished graphic design.
Database Search:
Knowledge of how to search a database for specific information.
Word Processing: 
Excellent skill in using word processing program and its components.


Rate each category according to the following scale:

9 ­10 = excellent
7 - 8 = very good
5 - 6 = good
3 - 4 = satisfactory
1 - 2 = needs help
0 = see instructor for individual help




Upon successful completion of this workshop, the learner will be able to:

Grade Levels

This unit is appropriate for elementary age students. This is an interdisciplinary unit involving skills of composition, geography, reading, and research. Basic computer skills would be helpful, but are not necessary.

Downloading and Printing Files

These pages can be downloaded to your computer as files. Files can then be opened and printed. You can choose from two file formats:

Microsoft document format opens the files in Microsoft Word. You can make changes in the pages before printing them.

Acrobat Reader or Portable Document Format (pdf) opens the files in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Pages cannot be edited in this format. However, .pdf files are less likely to be distorted. Pages that contain graphics or large images look better in .pdf and print very nicely. For your convenience, Acrobat Reader can be accessed from this page.

Microsoft Word (.doc)

Xeriscaping Lesson [also need the resource .pdf files below]

Acrobat Reader (.pdf)

Xeriscaping Lesson [contains all the .pdf files below]

Resource files:

Landscape Plan #1

Landscape Plan #2

Landscape Ad

RFP Letter


About Acrobat Reader

Files in the .pdf format can be read using Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is a free software. You can download and install it by clicking on the link below.

GO TO: Acrobat Reader Download Page

Content Standards