NOTE: All member and nonmember tickets must be reserved in advance, and masks are now optional but recommended. Learn more about how you can join us!

The Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes Certificate programs consist of courses that teach best management practices necessary for gardening with minimal ecological impact, design priciples and techniques for creating environmentally responsible landscapes, and essential knowledge on how to best use native plants for habitat and ecosystem preservation.

For more details about our programs, or to receive personalized class recommendations from our helpful staff, please feel free to contact us at edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Confirmations will be emailed before each class, including a Zoom link for online classes. Please check your spam/junk mail folder, and if you have not received the link, email edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Virtual classes are recorded and made available to all registered participants for one month after the program.

All times are Eastern Time Zone.

Current Classes

Classes Currently in Progress

  • Landscape Design II: Principles of Design | Acadia Klain | Wed., Sept. 7, 14 and 21 | 6:30 – 9 p.m. [note updated time]
  • Invasive Ornamentals and Garden Invaders | Rachel Patnik | Tues. Sept 13, 20 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Phipps Garden Center at Mellon Park | Field Trip: Sat. Sept 24 | 10 - 11:30 a.m., Allegheny RiverTrail Park (formerly known as Aspinwall Riverfront Park)

Detailed Listings

Living in the Wild: A Visit to Larry Weaner’s Suburban Property

Wednesday, September 28 | 6 – 8 p.m.

Phipps Special Events Hall
$20 Phipps members | $23 nonmembers

Experiencing wild nature needn’t be limited to the remotest regions of the world.  It can occur in even the smallest backyard garden.  Learn how noted landscape designer Larry Weaner interacts with and responds to ecological processes to create an ever-evolving wild yet still ornamental garden in his small property outside Philadelphia.  Learn how this brains-over-brawn approach goes beyond simple editing of what occurs naturally and incorporates natural processes and plants’ reproductive abilities to achieve common aesthetic and functional goals.  And perhaps most importantly, discover how loosening the reins can bring a newfound mystery and discovery to even the smallest garden. This course has been approved for 2.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES, and 2 PCH and 2 SLC CEUs.

Sponsored by: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Landscape Design III: Design Development | Acadia Klain

Wed. Oct 5, 12, 19, 26 | 7 – 9 p.m.

$160 members | $180 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center at Mellon Park

Objective: To gain experience and graphic skills necessary to complete a master plan.
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisites: Landscape Design I and Landscape Design II, Landscape Graphics

Utilizing skills learned in Landscape Design I and Landscape Design II, the student will work through design development to create a master plan. Bring to first class: engineer’s scale; straight edge triangles (45° and 30°-60°-90°); mechanical pencils: 1 soft lead, 1 hard lead; chisel point black marker; extra-fine point black “sharpie” marker; small roll tracing paper (bum wad).  Landscape & Garden Design certificate program core course. This class has been approved for 8.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.

Soil Ecology | Philip Bauerle

Tuesday, Oct. 11 and Thursday Oct. 13 | 6:30 – 9 p.m., online
Hands on Lab: Saturday, Oct. 15 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (bring a lunch!), Phipps Garden Center at Mellon Park 

$117 members | $132 nonmembers

Objective: To understand why soil is the foundation of the garden and to be able to modify it for successful gardening.
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

Soil provides the foundation for healthy plant growth and development. Bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms found in healthy soil are beneficial both to plant and animal life. Through both lecture and an hands on lab experience, students will learn about the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils and best management practices for maintaining a healthy soil. The interpretation of a soil test and organic fertilizers and amendments will also be discussed. Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape & Garden Design and Native Plant Landscapes certificate program elective. This course has been approved for 9.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.

Not Your Mother’s Garden: Explore a Piet Oudolf Inspired Home Garden | Deborah Chud

Tues., Oct. 18 | 7 – 8 p.m.

$25 members | $30 non members
Virtual program presented through Zoom

In “Not Your Mother’s Garden”, Deborah takes the audience on a photo tour of her highly unusual Piet Oudolf-inspired garden and describes the design principles underlying it. Many of the plants are unfamiliar—even to experienced and knowledgeable gardeners. These “new perennials” were all taken from Piet Oudolf’s canon of plants, and they exhibit the qualities valued by Piet and his fellow New Perennialists. What’s new about new perennials, and what can they do for you? Walk through Deborah’s garden with her to find out. Sustainable Horticulture, Landscape and Garden Design, and Native Plant Landscapes elective. This class has been approved for 1.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.

Designing a Native Mixed Border | Leslie Kaplan

Mondays, Oct. 24 and 31, Nov. 7 and 14 | 7 - 9 p.m.

$104 members | $119 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Objective: To be able to design a mixed border that incorporates native perennials and shrubs.
Level:  Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite:  None

Learn to design a mixed border of native shrubs and perennials that will offer seasonal interest throughout the year.   Using basic design principles to create visual harmony, design a border by combining native plants with varying foliage colors and textures to provide contrast.  Intersperse shrubs with perennials, ground covers and grasses to add interest.  Design process and principles will be emphasized in two of the sessions; the other sessions will be devoted to plant selection and culture. Bring to first class: ¼” graph paper, engineer’s scale, and pencil. Sustainable Horticulture, Native plant Landscapes and Landscape & Garden Design certificate program elective. This class has been approved for 8.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.

Home Garden Design | Meg Graham

Tues. Nov 1, 8, 15, 29, Dec 6, 13 | 6 – 8:30 p.m. 

$195 members | $215 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center

Objective: Students will be able to complete a site survey of a property, plot it on paper, and prepare a conceptual landscape plan suitable for themselves or presentation
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

Home garden design is more than selecting plants for a project, it is the integration of all the elements and spaces that affect our outdoor living environment. In this course you will be introduced to the objectives and principles that are essential to developing a strong design solution for yourself all the while you'll be introduced to new garden and design ideas to help grow your design acumen. Classes will cover how to determine your goals, draw to scale, and complete site analysis and assessment. You will learn how to take these skills, draw your garden design and create a conceptual garden plan for yourself or family. 

Bring to first class: 12 inch ruler; circle template; 2B pencil; eraser; pencil sharpener; color pencils; markers; 19x24inch sketch pad; notebook; and folder. A detailed materials list will be provided upon registration.

Sustainable Horticulture and Native Plant Landscapes elective. This class has been approved for 15.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.

Landscape Design IV: Capstone Project | Michele McCann

Wed. Nov 2, 9, 16, 30, Dec. 7, 14 | 6:30 – 9 p.m. 

$195 members | $215 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center

Objective: To complete a landscape design, incorporating the skills and processes learned in the core curriculum of the landscape design program, and drawing on knowledge acquired in the elective courses.
Level: Intermediate to advanced
Prerequisites: All Landscape & Garden Design core courses

This course is the culminating project of the core part of the Landscape & Garden Design certificate program. Using a specified design project, the student will work to develop a final design, including a planting plan. Landscape & Garden Design certificate program core course. This class has been approved for 15.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.

Landscape Design II: Principles of Design | Acadia Klain

Wed., Sept. 7, 14 and 21 | 6:30 – 9 p.m. [please note updated time]
Offsite field trip: Wed., Sept. 28 | 6 – 8 p.m.

Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park
$160 members | $180 nonmembers

Objective: To understand and to begin applying the principles of aesthetics and design, including form, scale, rhythm, axis, color and texture, to landscapes.
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: Landscape Graphics, Landscape Design I

This course will explain design principles which will then be reinforced in class with exercises in both two and three dimensions. You will analyze the use of these design concepts in landscapes through slides, photos, magazines and a field trip.  Landscape & Garden Design certificate core course. This class has been approved for 11.0 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.

Invasive Ornamentals and Garden Invaders | Rachel Patnik

Tues. Sept 13, 20 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Phipps Garden Center at Mellon Park
Field Trip: Sat. Sept 24 | 10 - 11:30 a.m., Allegheny RiverTrail Park (formerly known as Aspinwall Riverfront Park)

$72 members | $82 nonmembers

Objective: To understand the difference between Native and Invasive plants, identify invasive plants including problematic ornamentals, and name strategies for control.
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisite: None

Do you have Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard and Canada thistle causing headaches in your garden? Did you know that Japanese pachysandra, English ivy, burning bush and other common garden plants are also considered to be invasive because they spread into the wild and can take over natural areas? You may have inherited these plants when you moved or unknowingly purchased them from a garden center and added them to your garden. In this class you will learn about the invasive plants often found in gardens, how to remove them from your landscape and what to plant instead. Sustainable Horticulture and Native Plant Landscapes elective.  This class has been approved for 5.5 CEUs for landscape architects by LA CES.