It’s easy being green with revamped SmartScape classes

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Whether you’re a gardening pro or just starting out, the newly revamped Texas SmartScape program promises to nurture your inner green thumb.

The City of Mansfield is offering two opportunities this month to take part in the newly revamped Texas SmartScape Project: 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct 23, or 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 26.  Both events will be held at the Chris W. Burkett Service Center, 620 S. Wisteria St.  Both contain the same content, so you only need to register for one.  Registration is required.

SmartScape classes have a new look

The revamped program was inspired by the HGTV series Yard Crashers. In Yard Crashers, random homeowners are chosen, usually while shopping at a home improvement store and a landscape redesign frenzy ensues.  This approach inspired the new program idea but with an educational twist.

“I’ve been doing Texas SmartScape programming for almost seven years now,” said Arianne Shipley, public education specialist with the city. “Stephanie and I decided we wanted to freshen up our program and encourage people to come together and get outside.  That’s where the magic happens.”

Mansfield is part of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, a regional entity that coordinates regional programming such as Texas SmartScape. Texas SmartScape was developed to help cities meet mandated state stormwater requirements.  The program is unique in that it bridges two key water education components: quantity and quality.

“Texas SmartScape plants are native and adapted to this specific region,” said Randy Weston, owner of Weston Gardens and a Texas SmartScape advocate. “Because these plants are adapted to our local climate, they typically require less water once established, are more drought tolerant, and many times require less pesticides and fertilizers.”

According to the Texas SmartScape program, less water, pesticides and fertilizers means more money in your pocket. It also means less of these pollutants ending up in our water sources due to run off from irrigation or rain.  Randy Weston has been in the native plant business for 30 years and was a founding contributor to the Texas SmartScape program.  Staff from his business will be conducting the upcoming classes, focusing on fall planting and landscape design, including such topics as creating curb appeal, landscaping economics and the benefits of planting native plants.

Attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for a free irrigation evaluation. Spring and summer are not the only times people should be thinking about their irrigation systems.  It’s wise to give your system a checkup before the weather turns colder.  Participants may also sign up for the Yard Classers element of the Texas SmartScape Project.

Yard Classers offers help to lawn-challenged homeowners

Do you have a trouble spot in your lawn related to irrigation? Do you have broken heads or have you noticed a lot of runoff?  Are you 99 percent sure your irrigation controller is programed incorrectly but too afraid to even pop open the door on it?

Did you plant some new plants this spring and are wondering now what? Does dead heading mean anything to you?  Spoiler alert:  It has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead band.

If you need some extra help, the Yard Classers program has you covered. What’s the catch?

“We need your lawn,” says Stephanie, public education specialist. “Classes are great, but what happens next?  We want residents to get hands on and solve real problems in real yards.  Just like yours.  I used to be terrified of my irrigation system.  It wasn’t until I got out there in my lawn and actually put my hands to work that I realized the fear was all in my head.  There are larger jobs that should be done by a licensed professional, but quick fixes like replacing broken heads are way more simple than you might think.”

Attendees may volunteer to host a class in their lawn.  The Public Education Team will bring the chairs and the educators.  Yard Classers are only required to provide the lawn space and invite a friend or neighbor or two.  You must also be open to having other residents attend to learn with you.

Everyone that signs up to volunteer to host a Yard Classer program will be eligible to win a landscape design gift card from Weston Gardens. This gift card will cover Weston Gardens drafting a landscape design plan for your front yard or back yard.

“We understand knowing where to start can be daunting,” said Arianne, public education specialist. “We hope that the design gift card serves as a friendly nudge to reduce some turf, maybe convert to drip, and of course use Texas SmartScape plants.”

Register for either classe by emailing the Public Education Team at [email protected] or calling 817-728-3610.   Please only register for one as class size will be limited in order to have one on one time with our speaker.

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