Student Workshops

These workshops are provided as an additional educational experience for students and faculty. Students can earn points towards their CDS certificate by attending a combination of morning and afternoon sessions.

Registration is $20 per person and includes lunch. Workshops run independently of the competitive events, and participation in these workshops is not required to compete in the events. Participation is limited due to space constraints, please register early.

Workshop Topics

3D Exterior Landscape Design Workshop

Sponsored by: VectorWorks, Inc.

The 3D Exterior Landscape Design workshop will be an essential activity for landscape industry students who are considering a career in landscape design, design/build, and design/sales. Participants in this workshop will:
  • learn about efficiencies gained when combining 3D with their 2D design workflows with hybrid landscape objects.
  • recognize the critical need to test your proposed design with sun/shade analysis, surface slope and drainage studies, cut/fill calculations, and nighttime lighting appropriateness
  • realize the true value of bringing the customer’s dreams to life with 3D perspective views, rendering styles, animated walk–throughs and other opportunities such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).
NOTE: It is recommended that the participant also attend the Computer Aided Landscape Design Workshop as this 3D workshop will pick up where the CAD workshop ends.

Arboriculture Workshop

Sponsored by: Bartlett Tree Experts and Husqvarna

The Arboriculture Workshop has expanded and now includes 2 tracks, with 3 total sessions.

The Arboriculture – Classroom workshop will be offered in the morning. The Arboriculture – Hands-On workshop will be offered in the morning and afternoon. Attendees do not have to attend both tracks, nor do the sessions have to be taken in any particular order.

Students that are interested in climbing during the Arboriculture – Hands-On workshop must bring their own climbing gear (saddles and climbing lines) and personal protective equipment (hard hat, goggles, gloves, etc.) and wear appropriate climbing shoes and attire.

Climate Change and Arboriculture: As Earth Warms, Trees Feel the Heat

Sponsored by: Davey

Compact Excavator Operation Workshop

Sponsored by: John Deere

Compact Track/Skid Steer Loader Operation 

Sponsored by: Caterpillar Inc.

The Compact Track/Skid Steer Loader Operation workshop will introduce and expand upon student/faculty current knowledge of this type of equipment within the industry.

During this workshop, we will discuss the follow topics:

  • Basic machine applications and usage
  • What makes a skid steer loader a "Swiss Army knife" within the industry
  • How to maximize machine utilization
  • Overview of available solutions, in terms of machine size and attachment
  • Understanding how to select the appropriate machine and tool

Computer Aided Landscape Design Workshop

Sponsored by: VectorWorks, Inc.

The Computer Aided Landscape Design workshop will be an essential activity for landscape industry students who are considering a career in landscape design, design/build, and design/sales. Participants in this workshop will:
  • learn about the primary benefits of CAD, such as efficiency, precision, and quantification (estimates).
  • recognize the advantages of Landscape over general CAD solutions, including familiar workflows, industry tools, and library symbols.
  • realize the value of digitally rendered presentations and other visualization treatments for clients, and how this is possible in various phases such as concepts through design development.
NOTE: It is also recommended that the participant also attend the 3D Exterior Landscape Design Workshop as 3D design will be further explored in that subsequent session.

Construction Cost Estimating Workshop

Sponsored by: Yard Solutions

Review of general techniques to understand how to cost estimate.

  • Basic Plan Review- understanding plans/how to read a plan (plan review/PowerPoint)
  • Basics of Estimating- quantity take offs/formulas/general procedures (exercise to be handed out)
  • Conversion of information and assigning costs (exercise to be handed out)

*Students will need to bring an architects and engineer’s scale and calculator.

Hardscape Installation Workshop

Sponsored by: Anchor Wall Systems

The classroom will introduce students to the hardscape industry including the history of interlocking pavers and retaining walls. Also, the components involved in creating a long-lasting project, things to consider when looking to start a hardscape business and a brief overview on construction of walls and pavers. The outdoor portion will focus on demonstrating some of the tips for installation of walls and pavers as well as some good construction techniques.

Irrigation 101 Workshop

Sponsored by: Hunter Industries and American Society of Irrigation Consultants

Irrigation 101; Irrigation Hands-on

  • 3 groups, with 45 minutes per each session 
  • Indoor Product Instruction – Product ID, installation techniques and some basic troubleshooting
  • Outside Installation Demonstration – How to read a plan, a legend, and install the components. 
  • Outside Troubleshooting – Basic and intermediate troubleshooting of electrical, valves and hydraulics

Irrigation 201; Principles of Design 

  • Principles of design to include basic hydraulics, layouts of zones, pipe sizing, and product selection

Landscape Lighting Workshop

Sponsored by: FX Luminaire

**The morning and afternoon sessions are each limited to 25 students. Max 2 students per school, per session. First come, first served.

During this workshop, we will be exploring many avenues in landscape lighting. A few, but not all, include the following:

  • Electrical -terms, Ohms Law, voltage drop calculations
  • Products - Transformers and Fixture selection
  • Installation “hands-on”- wire selection, wire splices, wiring techniques, fixture placement, transformer installation and timing mechanisms
  • Design - basic design description with “do’s and don’ts”
  • Maintenance - maintaining a lighting system
  • Value to the property “Why Lighting"

Maintenance Estimating Workshop

Sponsored by: LandCare

During the 75 minute workshop, offered twice, we will be discussing in depth the following aspects of estimating maintenance contracts:

  • Quantitative measurements
  • Use of measuring software GoiLawn
  • Production factors
  • Direct cost, Indirect cost and Profit
  • Discovery with client
  • Production reviews
  • Use of estimating software Aspire

Plant Problem Diagnosis Workshop

Sponsored by: Bartlett Tree Experts

**This session is limited to 45 students. Max 2 students per school. First come, first served.
**This session is now FULL**

Spots, Rots, and Knots, Oh My! –How to diagnose plant disease, insect, and abiotic problems.


Sponsored by: Corona Tools & Michigan State University

Learn the fundamentals of horticultural pruning tools and practices.  The classroom portion of the workshop will cover tools and tool maintenance along with proper pruning techniques to maintain healthy landscapes.  The hands-on portion will provide demonstrations of what is covered in the classroom.

**The morning and afternoon sessions are each limited to 25 students. Max 2 students per school, per session. First come, first served.
**The AM and PM sessions are now FULL**

Robots in the Landscape

Sponsored by: Husqvarna

Safety First Workshop

Sponsored by: SiteOne

Sales Presentation Workshop

Sponsored by: Gravely

In this workshop students will be introduced to the sales cycle with a strong focus on how to listen by asking the right questions. While presenting a formal sales process, JW Washington—Director of Business Development, Ariens Company, shares 19+ years of sales management dos and don’ts providing attendees a usable road map from prospect to a successfully closed sale. Learning is fast paced for the student and focuses on immediately applicable core competencies with learnings for continued long term development.

Small Engine Repair Workshop

Sponsored by: STIHL, Inc.

The Design Process: Concept to Outdoor Space

Sponsored by: Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Truck and Trailer and Mower Operating Safety Procedures

Sponsored by: Gravely

General introduction of the safe operation of a truck and trailer, securing trailer loads, commercial zero turn mower operation and a generic intro into DOT rules and regulations. Personal safety will also be reviewed pertaining to personal protective wear such as ear plugs, eyewear, clothing, gloves, skin protectant, etc. Fun and engaging opportunity within a classroom and hands on field training.

Woody Ornamental Plant ID Workshop

Sponsored by: Proven Winners® ColorChoice®