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I have always been into the environment and design. I graduated college with a degree in “built” architecture, but after only a few years of practicing decided to pursue a different path and formed a nonprofit (Everlasting Marks) which engages youth hands-on in sustainable construction projects. Through that work I spent several years helping to build a sustainable educational garden in Arizona (while pursuing a Master’s in Nonprofit Studies). This was where I was first introduced to permaculture and the many practices it includes. During that time I also became a certified Master Gardener and recently became a certified Permaculture Designer myself. After having a child of my own I am back on my path of community development, but with a different approach, helping individuals convert their yards from what it is, to something beautiful, sustainable, and functional.
So many reasons…
I moved back to my home town, where people typically live on larger properties (1/2 acre +) and grass was a dominating feature. When the water crisis in central CA happened (or was finally acknowledged) I saw so many people rip out grass and “drop rock” as I call it. No wonder people wanted to keep their grass! What they saw as an alternative was not nice…they needed help!
Doing it Yourself Saves $$$ and Adds Value
I know how important cost is to most people. Doing-it-yourself allows you to do things as you have the funds to do them. Being a designer, I know the value of having an overarching plan…so your small projects actually add up to something. But most importantly, I believe that it is important to get outside and get your hands dirty, it is good for the mind, body, and soul. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than looking at an awesome yard and saying “I did that!
Having an amazing yard full of native and drought tolerant plants, edibles, and rain catchment is sustainable, it helps you…and the native wildlife and pollinators that often get forgotten when land gets stripped and built on.
We learn when we do, and while I have always been involved in youth education, I have found that gardening is a great way to teach adults as well. You become more engaged in your yard and all that is happening in it when you do even just small parts of it yourself. As a bonus, it is good for your health!