COACH Series

This is a new series of events featuring our resident experts in home energy efficiency, RAIN Smart Homes and waste reduction.

Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden

This workshop is perfect for Do-it-Yourselfers who have an early-stage plan for their healthy yard and desire additional design support to fulfill their vision for a healthy yard. We will build upon the concepts and principles learned in Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning and guide you through a more detailed design for your healthy yard project(s).

Boulevard garden and Little Library

The workshop will focus on planting design and project planning for rain gardens and naturalized landscapes, as well as topics such as:

  • planting for year round interest
  • the best plants for rain gardens
  • harvesting rain to water plants
  • materials calculations (i.e. compost, sand, mulch)

Participants will leave with a planting design for a part (or all) of their yard and a shopping list for plants and related materials required to implement the project successfully.

Come with a specific gardening project in mind, including its size and location. This could possibly be developed during the Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning workshop or through a RAIN Coach consultation. We will develop a scaled drawing of your garden during the workshop to effectively determine the number of plants and other materials you will require, so knowledge of the dimensions, sun exposure, and soil conditions (wet, dry, or moist or sand, silt or clay) will be helpful.


  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

This workshop is a repeats of the workshop on Saturday Macrh 24. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited


Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design ( and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation


We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.


by Peter Speckner, Communications Coordinator

The average person living in the Region of Waterloo uses 200 litres of water a day so our regional government created an online self-audit called the WET Challenge. It is part of an effort to lower the average amount of water used per person to 165 litres.

Here are eight ways you can conserve water outside your home–without spending a single cent. In fact, using these tips can save you money and help the environment.

Obey the water conservation by-law

Before you do any outdoor watering, be sure to know when you can do different types of watering according to schedule in the Region of Waterloo’s Water Conservation by-law.

8 tips on conserving water outside
      1. Deep-soak your lawnproper lawn watering
        When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn – when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount.
      2. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks. It also helps keep gravel and other items swept up out of the storm sewers.
      3. Water your lawn only when it needs it
        A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3″) will also promote water retention in the soil.sponsge in red circle
        Most lawns only need about 1″ of water each week. During dry spells, you can stop watering altogether and the lawn will go brown and dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, the morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn back to its usual vigor. This may result in a brown summer lawn, but it saves a lot of water.
      4. Don’t wash your car at home
        Use a car wash that uses water efficiently and diverts oil and grime from the storm water system.
      5. Don’t water the gutter
        RAIN garden watering cansPosition your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
      6. When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most
      7. Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water
      8. Water your garden with a watering can rather than a garden hose
        A hose uses 1,000 litres of water an hour. Mulching your plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning and late afternoon will reduce evaporation and also save water.

Learn more about dealing with water outside your home from our RAIN program.

Do you have any tips to share? Any habits that don’t require spending a cent?


Upcoming Events

  1. Finding a Perfect Match: Right Tree for the Right Place

    July 25 | 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  2. Fruit Trees for Beginners

    August 20 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  3. FRESH AIR FEAST: 20th Anniversary Community Celebration

    September 14 | 11:00 am - 2:00 pm