Skip to Content

Workshops & Classes

The following workshops and classes are typically “hands-on” so people learn with mind and muscle. You can choose from the following, or a custom workshop or class could be developed for your unique potential and needs.


How to Plant the Rain (and Other On-site Waters) to Grow Sustainable Abundance
Minimum duration: 6 hours. Preferred allotment: 7 hours.

Paragraph description:
In order to better see the whole and our place within the hydrologic cycle, each workshop begins with participants learning the Water-Harvesting Principles; basic watergy facts; integration of sun, water, and community; oasis zones; how to think like a plant; and various earthworks strategies. We then assess the site, identifying water resources and watersheds, asking and answering relevant site-specific questions, and testing our observations with simple tools. Equipped with a deeper understanding of the site and its water, we then place and create water-harvesting earthworks, guided by the Principles, key integration techniques, and the goal of living within the site’s sustainable water budget. Depending on the site, typical earthworks created in an workshop can include infiltration basins/rain gardens, one-rock check dams, contour berm ‘n basins/swales or boomerang berm ‘n basins, and terracing. Time and resources permitting, we will plant guilds of vegetation within/beside the earthworks and view a presentation of earthworks from around the world.

Outline description:
We begin by learning to better see the whole and our place within the hydrologic cycle with Water-Harvesting Principles; watergy; integration of sun, water, and community; focusing on oasis zones; thinking like a plant; and an introduction to various earthworks strategies.

Site Assessment
What are our on-site resources, needs, challenges?

Identify the site’s watersheds and subwatersheds, and test our observations with simple water level tools.

Seek and find all on-site water resources (such as rain, runoff/runon, stormwater, greywater, blackwater, clearwater (air conditioning condensate, Reverse Osmosis (RO) bleedoff, evaporative-cooler bleedoff, pool flush), fog, and imported water sources such as well, surface, and municipal waters.

Determine: Where is the water coming from? How much is there? How much is needed?

The goal: To live within our site’s sustainable water income.

With a deeper understanding of the site and its water, we then place and create water-harvesting earthworks using the Principles to guide us.

To simplify and increase effectiveness we:

Typical earthworks created in class can include:

Key integrations when building:

Additional Options (time permitting)

Greywater Assessment and Harvesting Class

Goal: All participants should be able to assess and design a system in class so they can assess and design their own system after class.

This class begins with Brad’s Greywater-Harvesting Presentation (see description above), followed by a hands-on site assessment of greywater-harvesting potential to analyze the accessibility, quality, and volume of greywater that can be harvested on the site. The assessment will include how to make and use a simple, effective, cheap water level that can be used in creating all water-harvesting earthworks. Simple calculations and a soil-percolation test will be used to determine the size of greywater-harvesting earthworks so they work, don’t flood, and don’t puddle. The session will wrap up with determining what plants can be planted in balance with the harvested greywater, so that, once established, the plants will thrive, irrigated only by harvested greywater and rainwater—no potable municipal or well water. Duration: 4–5 hours.

Note: A hands-on implementation of the greywater system designed in the greywater assessment and harvesting class can be completed in an additional 5–6-hour workshop if desired and logistics allow.

Sun & Shade Harvesting

Integrated Sun & Shade Harvesting for Buildings, Landscapes, and Gardens
This hands-on workshop uses a variety of effective, low-tech methods to map and work with seasonally-changing sun paths to provide free/passive heat and light in winter, cooling shade in summer, and reduced water loss to evaporation. Topics/methods covered:

Duration: 3.5 hours. Class will be a combination of PowerPoint presentation peppered with hands-on applications of methods being learned.

Useful website:

Pre-class reading:

Workshop needs:

Integrated Design

Description to come.

Compost Toilets & Other Onsite Nutrient Reuse

Description to come.

Neighborhood Retrofits

Description to come.

Workshop Materials & Resources