You want your outdoor space to be livable, not just for yourself but also for pollinators and wildlife, too—you’d rather share their habitat than destroy it. You like it groomed, but not tamed, flowing with nature’s own design while inviting comfortable relaxation. And you’re not a huge fan of mowing lawns.
As a worker-owned collective, worker-owners have specialties like meadow creation, forestry, and irrigation, and participate in the oversight, direction, and profits of the business.
Fear not; you have natural allies in your quest to design a more sustainable outdoor space, and you’ll find them at Earth Designs Cooperative, a Rosendale-based landscape and garden design company that specializes in grounds and project management, design of hard and soft scapes, installation of ornamental and edible gardens, meadows and no-mow lawns, natural screening, and custom stone work.
The team at Earth Designs lives and breathes sustainability and permaculture. They’ll make you an ornamental garden with integrated stone furniture and native plantings that are a net environmental asset, plant you a butterfly meadow leading up to a no-mow lawn of blended, silky-looking fescues.
The commitment to a sustainable future isn’t just about what gets planted where. In 2016, founder Aja Hudson transitioned the company to a worker-owned collective. Worker-owners have specialties like meadow creation, forestry, and irrigation, and participate in the oversight, direction, and profits of the business.
Since the change, Earth Designs has been flourishing. “It’s all going really well,” says Erin Domagal, creative director. “We’ve added owners and become more grounded in a lot of important social activism related to our experience in creating fulfilling, well-paid jobs; people come in at the labor level and have a path to profit-sharing and decision-making. That’s helped us to grow, both our internal structure and the jobs we can take on.”
Whether you’re looking to heal a particular messy spot or reclaim an entire property, the Cooperative can help.
While they still love to create the perfect small garden, the Cooperative is taking on larger projects that Erin describes as “basically ecological restoration. Sometimes this involves reclaiming habitat around new construction where everything has been cut down, installing lawns and native perennial meadows. Sometimes a client will come to us about a meadow that’s been taken over by invasives or otherwise just become unmanageable.” The results manageable, beautiful vistas, spaces for recreation and contemplation that nourish the soul as surely as the earth nurtures seeds are informed by the founders, who bring to the table the bred-in-the-bone savvy of a Rondout Valley legacy farmer (Aja’s grandfather let her help tend the specialty produce he marketed to city restaurants), the eye of a
fine artist (Erin has a BFA in Drawing and Painting from SUNY New Paltz), and a shared passion for horticulture and landscape design done with grace and intention. “When you change the landscape, you impact the future,” says Erin, “so we want what we do to be beautiful and interactive in the moment and sustainable for the future.
Sustainability has achieved some level of mainstream acceptance, at least in the Hudson Valley; people want to know that their plantings are beneficial. We get questions about pollinators all the time.”
“We love connecting people to their surroundings, helping them relish and walk in nature in ways that aren’t forced or contrived but are comfortable.”
A big hit lately is the no-mow lawn of blended fescue grasses that grow long but lie flat. But whether you’re looking to heal a particular messy spot or reclaim an entire property, the Cooperative can help.
“The Earth Design team took the aesthetic of our indoors, and brought it outdoors,” says customer Jon Wagner in one of many testimonials on their website.
“The result? We now have elegant, inviting spaces throughout our property that have essentially become different “rooms” that we use throughout different parts of the day and through different seasons.”
THE COLLECTIVE BUSINESS MODEL—BUILDING FINANCIAL EQUITY, CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, AND SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS—IS JUST ANOTHER FACET OF SEEDING A FUTURE THAT’S A BEAUTIFUL, CONNECTED, AND FUNCTIONAL HABITAT FOR HUMANS.
“In some situations, we’re creating what will one day be a small forest, taking care that everything is complementary and beneficial,” says Erin. “And we love connecting people to their surroundings, helping them relish and walk in nature in ways that aren’t forced or contrived, but are comfortable. We want people to get up close, love their outdoor environment, and help us protect it. Personal connections matter, on every level.”
Earth Designs Cooperative
363 Main Street, Rosendale