Lectures listed below can be tailored to meet the interests of lay and professional audiences. Contact us to inquire about fees and availability. LWLA’s educational affiliate, New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL), also provides conferences and workshops.

  • Living in the Wild: My House view more

    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.


  • Living in the Liberated Landscape view more

    All too often in our gardens and landscapes we think of static compositions of carefully placed and managed plants.  But our approach can be more dynamic—and arguably more rewarding—than that by taking advantage of plants’ natural abilities to reproduce and proliferate.  Learn how designer Larry Weaner combines design with the reproductive abilities of plants as well as ecological processes to create compelling, ever-evolving landscapes that bring new meaning to partnering with nature.  Using examples from his own property as well as diverse client projects, Larry will share how this give-and-take approach can result in compelling, low-maintenance landscapes that free plants to perform according to their natural abilities and liberate people from having to cater to their landscapes’ every need. 

    Check out a version of this lecture Larry gave as part of the Grow Native Massachusetts annual lecture series.

  • The Self Perpetuating Landscape: Setting a Process in Motion view more

    Nature has spent millennia perfecting plants’ abilities to reproduce and proliferate on their own, and yet we often go to great effort and expense placing every plant in our designed landscapes. How can we capitalize on plants’ reproductive abilities, and actively encourage planted as well as existing and new species to colonize our landscapes? Join Larry Weaner as he discusses principles and protocols for creating dynamic, ecologically rich landscapes where nature does much of the “planting.” The lecture will include detailed case studies that demonstrate how practical, concrete strategies for assisted plant proliferation can be applied at diverse scales, from the most intimate garden to large multi-acre landscapes.

  • Breaking the Rules: Ecological Landscape Design and Traditional Landscape Methodology view more

    Using native plants requires more than simply expanding the conventional design palette. Based on observation of how native plants develop in nature, new design, implementation, and management techniques emerge, many of which are diametrically opposed to traditional horticultural practice. This presentation examines how alternative approaches on everything from selecting, arranging, and spacing plants to the simple act of weeding can yield more easily maintained landscapes that express the beauty and ecological richness of our native landscapes.

  • Planning for the Unplanned: Integrating Ecological Restoration Techniques and Landscape Design view more

    Using native plants is increasingly accepted in landscape architecture and design. Knowing how to incorporate and work with the ecological patterns and processes associated with native plants, however, is less well understood. Explore ways of integrating ecological restoration techniques and traditional design aesthetics to achieve beautiful, diverse landscapes for varied situations—from small gardens to large, multi-acre projects. Meadows, old fields, and woodland projects are shown in detail, from conceptual stage to full establishment and management, illustrating the exciting results that can be achieved when ecological restoration is combined with the visual art of landscape design.

  • Native Wildflower Meadows: Let’s Get Real view more

    Demand for native meadows, particularly as alternatives to lawn, is increasing and yet few types of landscape plantings are more misunderstood than native meadows, with failures often resulting from inadequate planning and the use of poorly adapted plants. Better results can be achieved when the design reflects the ecological character of naturally occurring meadows. More than one-year wonders, meadow plantings modeled on actual meadow communities provide long-term, easily managed landscapes that harbor a myriad of birds and butterflies, and provide color and texture throughout the year. This presentation discusses meadow design, implementation and management strategies using a series of case studies ranging in age from three to ten years.

  • Natural Landscape Design: Meadows, Woods and Water view more

    Natural gardens can reduce maintenance, improve the environment, and enhance the beauty of any residential property. Through a series of case studies, this presentation details techniques for gracefully integrating native plant compositions and ecological processes into the residential setting. Projects are presented from inception to maturity, providing a behind-the-scenes look at both practical and aesthetic considerations involved in creating and maintaining natural gardens.

  • Lawn Alternatives: Creating Successful Groundlayers view more

    Demand for alternatives to mowed turf is increasing. Yet successful techniques for consistently establishing turf alternatives are less understood since it often involves acting counter to traditional horticultural practices. This presentation explores practical ways to adapt groundlayer compositions found in our native woodlands, wetlands, and meadows to residential properties small and large as well as public landscapes, illustrating how environmental and cost benefits can be realized through the creation of visually stunning lawn alternatives.

  • Designing in Layers: Creating a Native Woodland Garden view more

    Through a series of case studies, this presentation illustrates the process of creating a native woodland garden, including design, installation, invasive species control, and post-planting management. The practical, concrete steps shown demonstrate how to combine the plants, patterns and processes of our native forests with the creative traditions of landscape design.

  • Managing Native Landscapes: Planted & Naturally Occurring view more

    Learn about ecological process-based landscape management procedures for both natural areas (woods, meadows, shrub thicket) and naturalistic gardens. The program will also include guidance for establishing landscape goals, specifying short-term procedures to achieve them, as well as long-term management practices to be initiated once those goals have been reached.

  • Harmony, Rhythm and Time: Commonalities Between Music Composition and Garden Design view more

    Within the fine arts, landscape painting has the most obvious connection to garden design. Music composition, however, may be more closely related. Composers lead their listeners on an aural musical journey. Designers lead visitors on a multisensorial journey through their landscapes. Unlike a painting, events within each are revealed sequentially over time. Landscape designer and music composer Larry Weaner will illustrate techniques including rhythmic pattern, repetition, transition, foreshadowing, and the introduction and resolution of harmonic dissonance. He will also illustrate how informed improvisation in response to spontaneous events, techniques common to contemporary classical music and jazz, can have particular relevance to the creation of “wild” landscape gardens.

    (Note: This presentation can be formulated for relevance to either a landscape design group, or a mixed group of landscape designers and music composers)

  • Establishing Native Vegetation on Conserved Lands: Meadows, Shrublands, & Woodlands view more

    Once land is legally preserved from development, how can it be affordably and easily managed for ecological services as well visual character? By integrating ecological restoration techniques with cultural landscape preferences, land stewards can ensure properties have tangible value to community members while also possessing high-quality, resilient natural systems. Using case studies from both small and large settings, this lecture illustrates concrete, reliable management practices based on ecological principles, known cultural landscape preferences, and proven restoration techniques. Emphasis is also placed on how to recruit native plant communities and maximize plant colonization, natural succession, and disturbance events to save funds and labor.

  • Finding Your Niche: Establishing an Ecological Focus for Your Firm view more

    Demand for ecologically beneficial landscapes is increasing, and businesses with an ecological focus realize an expanded client base and an invigorated creative atmosphere.  Offering an ecological approach, however, requires knowledge and skills rarely taught in horticulture and design programs.  This presentation guides landscape architects, designers, contractors, and others through what’s needed to establish a respected, visible presence in the fields of ecological landscape design and management.  Participants gain a new understanding of local plant communities, learn about design projects modeled on regional ecosystems, acquire practical design, restoration, and management techniques, and discover new ways grow their skills and businesses.

  • Growing, Planting and Maintaining Native Plants: Turning a Challenge into an Opportunity view more

    For years ‘native landscaping’ was considered a hard sell. Not anymore. The question is now; Do growers, designers and contractors have the wherewithal to effectively and consistently provide it? In this presentation we will discuss the specific changes, many of them dramatic, that could help nursery and landscape professionals take advantage of this fast-growing movement.

  • Ecological Design as Garden Art: The Artistic Thread view more

    Ecological design need not be a bitter aesthetic pill that one must swallow to do the right thing. The order inherent in our wild native landscapes is widely considered beautiful. By translating that ecology-based order into the aesthetically-based language of fine garden design, the results can be more universally embraced. Larry will illustrate how this confluence of approaches can yield landscapes that are both ecologically productive and beautiful.

  • Landscape Learning Threads: Observation and Analysis into Practice view more

    Long-term observation of a plant’s behavior in the wild can yield valuable insight into its likely behavior in a garden. If that insight is applied to other similar species, that value is multiplied. In this presentation Larry will show how observation and ecologically-informed analysis shaped his understanding of how, where, and why wild indigenous species succeed or fail in cultivated settings. Finally, he will informally discuss some of the pivotal projects, conversations, and realizations that transpired during his landscape career.