I grew up in Virginia and spent a lot of time swimming and fishing in the Rappahannock river. It was a beautiful area to grow up in and I began to understand the importance of our water resources at a very young age. What I do today shares that same passion and inspiration I knew back then. We must be responsible stewards of our land. Water conservation in the landscape is one small part of that idea.
I am not a landscape architect. I won't charge big firm fees. I am a horticulturalist. What this means is that I am educated, specialized, and experienced in selection, arrangement, establishment, and care of plant material in the landscape. I hold a master of science degree from University of Florida in this field. I currently focus on residential work.
People choose their career for many different reasons. I chose mine for the following:
- First, so that I could make my living doing something I believe in.
- Second, I had to do something that would have a positive impact on the world and people around me.
- Third, I love working outdoors.
- Fourth, I enjoy the artistic side of landscape design and enjoy working with plants, stone, and other natural materials.
My research focused on water conservation in the landscape by the use of climatic factors to schedule irrigation.
In business, I have expanded this to include other ways to conserve water such as:
- Correct plant selection
- Irrigation system calibration
- Cultural practices (such as plant care & mulching)
Landscaping practices impact our environment by affecting surrounding ecosystems via non point source pollution. Runoff from chemicals and fertilizers over applied to lawns make their way into bodies of water and underground aquifers.
Also, lawns are thirsty. They require twice the water an ornamental landscape requires. Moreover, residential irrigation systems are often inefficient due to design or lack of maintenance.
We can help by:
1. Properly applying high quality chemicals and fertilizers to lawns, and irrigate more efficiently.
2. Landscape using ornamental plants and ground covers that do not require chemicals and survive on minimal applications of fertilizer and water.
3. Maintaining and improving existing irrigation systems so that water is not wasted.
My humble hope is that through this business I can help others to understand the impact their landscape is having on the surrounding ecosystems, and how they can take steps to make their yards more efficient & practical, costing less money.
Please visit my ROI page to learn how a new landscape can pay for itself by eliminating the need for lawn mowing, chemicals, fertilizer, and minimizing the amount of water required to sustain a healthy, vibrant, eye-catching landscape.
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (con-law & philosophy), University of Central Florida, 1997
Post Baccalaureate Studies, Landscape Management, University of Florida
Master of Science, Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, 2012
Thesis research: Plant water relations
Area of research concentration: Water conservation in residential landscapes
Owner, Earthwise Yard Care / Earthwise Horticultural Services since 2008
Licensed in Orange & Seminole Counties
Certified: Best Management Practices
Thesis: Deficit irrigation of mixed landscapes based on turf water needs and reference evapotranspiration
What this boils down to is that our research revolved around the irrigation of a typical residential landscape based on weather as opposed to simply "setting and forgetting" an interval based schedule. By doing this, we found that we could cut residential water use in the landscape by more than 40%. Based on 2005 residential water use in the landscape that would amount to a savings of 396 million gallons of fresh water per year.
Published document @ UF library: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044175/00001/citation
Here is the published abstract (American Society for Horticultural Science 2012 Annual Conference ):
Irrigation of landscapes can be responsible for more than half of the water consumption of residential homeowners. The objectives of the research presented here were to test two hypotheses. First, that irrigation frequency based on turfgrass water needs is sufficient for the irrigation of woody shrubs and trees within a mixed landscape. Second, that warm season St Augustine turfgrass can maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance at irrigation volumes and frequencies less than predicted by ETO.
Data was collected over a year’s period from 1 June 2010 to 31 May 2011 from nine drainage lysimeters at the University of Florida’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center – Apopka, Florida. Lysimeters had a surface area of 13 m2 each and contained two Viburnum odoratissimum, one Magnolia grandiflora ‘D.D. Blanchard’ magnolia, and 9.7 m2 of ’Floratam' St. Augustine turfgrass Stenotaphrum secundatum. Irrigation regimes of 60%, 75% and 90% of ETO were adhered to throughout the year. Irrigation occurred when the cumulative depth of ETO exceeded 1.90 cm.
All magnolias and viburnum hedges displayed aesthetically pleasing quality, independent of DI level throughout the year. Turfgrass quality varied among DI levels. All turfgrass plots were rated above the minimum acceptable quality.
Results indicate that St Augustine ‘Floratam’ turfgrass can be irrigated at 60% of ETO derived from the UN-FAO Penman-Monteith equation in Central Florida, and still maintain acceptable aesthetic quality. This frequency also maintains acceptable quality of magnolia trees and a typical woody hedge if concurrently irrigated at 72% ETO based on horizontal canopy project area.
During my education, I was fortunate enough to receive several scholarships. One of the most distinguished is the William V. Storch award Given through the American Water Resources Association (AWRA).