Xeriscaping: Teacher's Overview | Trainer's Page

Xeriscaping: General Lesson

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Participants 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 the 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.


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

  • Open and utilize a word-processing document.
  • Integrate graphics into a word-processed document.
  • Open and utilize a spreadsheet document.
  • Construct graphs based upon the information they have entered in their spreadsheet document.
  • Create a presentation to demonstrate for the other participants.

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  • Video on xeriscaping;
  • TV/VCR setup;
  • Appropriate software, i.e. Clarisworks or Microsoft Office;Copy machine(s) if available.
  • Desert Bloom CD



  • Copy for each participant of "The Enchanted Xeriscape" and "Xeriscape 101" brochures
    State Engineer Office, Water Conservation Program, 1-505-827-6121
  • Desert Bloom CD


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For Participants

Copies of Participant Xeriscape Landscaping Packet for each participant:

  • Instruction Sheet
  • Survey Guidelines
  • Sample RFP (Request for Proposal) from Camino Real School District
  • Sample Company Prospectus and resume
  • Site Worksheet and Specifications (Detailed information on completing the hypothetical contract; requirements for the designated area)
  • Resource information on drip irrigation
  • Graph paper for final design
  • Examples of landscape design plans
  • Paper for copiers
  • Floppy disks for each participant (at initial workshop)
  • For each group of four:
  • Colored pencils
  • #2 pencils
  • Large graph paper (24" x 36") Plus several more as extras, if needed
  • Three templates (school building, sloped area and drainage area)

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For Teacher

  • "Living on a Xeriscape" video
  • TV/VCR
  • Butcher paper, newsprint or flipchart as backup if photocopier is not available. This can also be used to record group brainstorm and discussion for documentation.
  • Large markers (1 set for instructor)
  • Erasable marker for white board (1 for instructor)
  • Hardcopy of Native Plant database for backup
  • Large paper
  • Clip art
  • Two diskettes


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:

  • Revisit last workshop and review work that the participants integrated at their sites.

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  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:

  • Company Logo
  • Firm prospectus
  • Survey results
  • Final landscaping/irrigation plan

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

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 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

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This module created by Barbara Coppola-Jones and Penny Garcia. and modified by Marjorie Sharp, Julia Parra, Cissy Lujan-Pincomb, and Mary Saxton.

Copyright 1999 New Mexico Regional Technology Assistance Program.