With the green movement being advertised at every corner, many feel that terms such as “eco-friendly” have lost their luster. Their value diminished to a simple marketing buzzword, rather than a way of life. But one local company is redeeming what it means to be environmentally friendly. They are offering the design, installation, and maintenance of edible and eco-friendly landscapes for residents and businesses throughout San Diego.
It’s called Revolution Landscape, and it’s changing the way some local residents think about their front yards.
La Jolla-based Revolution Landscape is the brainchild of UC Santa Cruz graduates and San Diego residents Ari Tenenbaum and Jeff Robbins. After graduating from school with degrees in plant science and business, respectively, the pair was eager to begin careers that would not only be personally fulfilling, but would give back to the community.
“We started talking about this concept of helping people grow their own food, and also doing a range of eco-friendly landscapes, because we had always been passionate about environmental protection,” Tenenbaum said. “We felt that the landscape was a really unique way to address some of the problems in the environment, in community health, and also to address nutrition and energy use.”
Tenenbaum and Robbins got to work on a detailed business plan, mapping out their mission and goals for the company. Now up and running for three years, Revolution Landscape has many residential and business clients throughout La Jolla and the greater San Diego area. The company offers unique landscape design that not only appeals to aesthetics, but also yields abundant produce year-round, and reduces water usage by up to 60 percent. In addition to offering the benefits to individual clients, each Revolution Landscape project contributes to the overall health of San Diego’s environment. The company plants greenery that is native to San Diego, allowing the entire native eco-system to thrive. Created entirely pesticide-free and with organic fertilizer, the landscapes also reduce area water pollution from surface runoff.
“Every time you come to one of our projects, you will see life,” Tenenbaum said, after pointing out a ladybug on a nearby leaf. “We use a lot of native plants, so many of them don’t need to be watered at all. They’re here to attract beneficial insects.”
According to Tenenbaum, San Diego has the perfect climate that the company needs to succeed. Walking through one of the finished landscapes, one can spot everything from blueberries and strawberries to lettuce and artichokes.
“It’s been so fun to just run outside and grab something out of the garden,” said Candace Person, a Bird Rock resident who had the first part of her garden installed in October 2010. “It’s like a little surprise everyday.”
As the business continues to expand, Tenenbaum and Robbins are setting their sights big, but keeping their focus on San Diego County, at least for the time being. The company, which currently employees six other people, has started to expand their community outreach – a goal they established during their initial business planning. The company recently completed a project for The Marshal House, a non-profit organization in Vista, which provides residences and assisted living for adults with development disabilities.
“I think the best thing for me is just the people that we get to work with,” Tenenbaum said. “I feel like people are craving being able to do something that they feel good about and that they can get paid to do, and that’s why Jeff and I started the company. It’s been really cool to get to share that opportunity with others.”
Tenenbaum and Robbins also appreciate the sense of community that their gardens are able to create.
“Every time we do a front yard project, our clients say that they meet neighbors who they have been living next to for 20 years, and didn’t even know,” Tenenbaum said.
And their clients’ experiences reflect that same sentiment. So many people have been intrigued by Person’s landscape in fact, that it inspired her to throw an Earth Day party for her neighbors and friends in April.
“Lately a lot of people have been stopping by, just to tell me how beautiful it is, or to ask what exactly it is,” Person said about her front yard project. "They just did everything so beautifully."
Revolution Landscape's services don't stop once the last plant is planted, however. The company offers weekly maintenance services, and also provides detailed information to their clients about caring for their gardens, including the proper way to cut produce, how to maintain specific plants, and how to tell when fruits are ripe.
Thinking of starting your own sustainable and edible garden? You can find Revolution Landscape at the every Sunday.
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