Smartscape trained landscape professionals now in Maricopa

The graduates of the first Pinal County Smartscape course are Chad Whittle, Maricopa Unified School District; Armando Montoya, Maricopa Unified School District; Luis Rodriguez, AZ Yard Doctors; Paul Pence, Caretaker Landscape and Tree Management; Cher Cendejas, Caretaker Landscape and Tree Management; Anthony Solano, Maricopa, Parks and Recreation; Patrick Tallabas, Maricopa, Parks and Recreation; and Steve Jolitz, homeowner. [Submitted]

On Sept. 7, nine landscape professionals took their Smartscape training test in Maricopa. These professionals attended 24 hours of comprehensive training in the fundamentals of design, installation, irrigation and maintenance of desert-adapted landscapes.

Smartscape: A Training Program for Landscape Professionals,™ consists of eight workshops taught by University of Arizona faculty and local business professionals. The training provides research-based instruction to educate water users on best practices for developing attractive and water-wise landscapes.

There currently two types of Smartscape classes:

  • Professional classes: intended to help build capacity within the landscape industry to design, install, and maintain low-water use landscapes.
  • Residential classes: designed to assist residents and Homeowners Association members in making water-smart choices for their landscapes.

Why is Smartscape so valuable?
Unlike water used indoors, water applied to outdoor landscapes cannot be captured and used again. That is why it is so important that it is used efficiently. In Arizona, approximately 70% of water is used outside. Landscape and irrigation professionals can greatly influence the amount of water used on landscapes through the ways they design, install, irrigate and care for landscapes. As water scarcity continues to increase in Arizona, it is more important than ever to spread this water-saving education across all regions of the state.

Where can I find Smartscape?
Smartscape has provided foundational training for thousands of professionals and influenced landscape choices and outdoor water use in the Phoenix and Tucson areas for more than 25 years. But this year marks the first ever Smartscape training for Pinal County!

Global Water Resources (Global Water), the water utility for Maricopa, was excited to bring this educational platform to Pinal. Global Water partnered with the University of Arizona Pinal County Extension program to organize this inaugural class. Anne LeSenne from the UofA taught the Smartscape program. She is a trained horticulturalist and former landscape designer, who is passionate about water-wise landscaping. Shaina Shay, the water-conservation specialist at Global Water, promoted the training program and hosted the class at Global Water’s headquarters in Maricopa.

What comes next?
As is the case for most firsts, there were some challenges faced. We had the opportunity to learn about the difficulties landscape professionals face, primarily time commitments. However, this type of education provides the knowledge needed to excel in this industry and offers a real competitive advantage. That is why Global Water decided to fully sponsor the class making it free, providing an added incentive to attend.

We need your help spreading the word about this program so that we can make Smartscape the gold standard training for all landscape professionals. The UofA is excited to further expand this program in Pinal County and is looking to forge additional partnerships to bring this to other communities, such as Apache Junction, San Tan Valley, Florence and Casa Grande.

Do you want to attend this training or bring Smartscape and water-wise landscaping to your community?

More information: Anne LeSenne annelesenne@arizona.edu.