Eco-yards™ was founded on the belief that we should leave the land we steward in better shape than we found it. Life on earth depends on the vitality of the topsoil and the plants that grow in it. We can enrich the soil and enliven the energy of the places we steward by using sustainable landscaping methods. And we can create colourful, fragrant, life-enhancing, soul-enriching spaces. In this way we create a healthier, more beautiful, and fruitful world.
OUR 2018 ECO-YARDS CREW
My lifelong passion is beautifying landscapes in ways that enhance the natural environment. I have been landscaping most of my life, from helping my parent’s landscape yards as a child, in towns across Western Canada, to beautifying landscapes as an adult. Traveling and living in different landscapes around the world and North America has inspired my designs.
I love flowers, especially designing landscapes with hardy, perennial flowers to provide colour and joy all growing season long. I also love delighting my clients with landscape designs that go beyond their desires and bring them more than they imagined. This involves listening, intuition and sharing ideas.
I’ve taken courses, read lots of books and magazines, visited and spoken to gardeners whenever and wherever I can, and experimented with what works and what doesn’t in many different kinds of yards.
I have worked as an international development educator, public involvement consultant, management consultant specializing in creativity, and as a shamanic healer and teacher.
I work with a crew and sub-contractors who love the earth and beauty and pleasing clients too!
Operations Manager for 2018 and beyond
John is a curious and forward-thinking individual who loves to work with people, plants, and the communities that contain them. This is John’s sixth year working with Eco-Yards, and his skills have grown every year under Laureen’s guidance and mentorship. With training in permaculture (Permaculture Design Certification completed in 2012 with Verge Permaculture), resilient design, and socio-ecological systems, he is equipped to handle both the day to day work and the ‘bigger picture’ aspects of landscaping and site design. John has attended workshops, classes, and actively pursued educational opportunities to increase his knowledge of regionally-appropriate plants, innovative design and landscaping methods, and how to reduce individual impact while increasing bio-diversity and beauty. In addition, he has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (focusing on environmental and social psychology) and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Design with a focus on food systems, community engagment, and urban design.
John has years of experience in landscaping, growing food, and improving living spaces. On his own time, he enjoys growing food, flowers, and connections, approaching each day as a new adventure. He is an avid record collector and DJ, as well as being a loving father and husband. John appreciates every day working with the best co-workers and clients in Calgary!
Landscaper / Supervisor
Lane Shordee comes to Eco-yards from a 12 year background building various types of landscaping projects; from hard landscape features such as ponds, decks, pathways and rock placement, to soft landscaping with a focus on native plant species.
Lane has a fine arts degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design and brings a creative eye, looking at new ways to build and maintain landscapes. Lane also builds large scale ecological based artworks that range from theatre sets to permanent public artworks.
To learn more visit: laneshordee.com
Landscaper / Supervisor
Steve graduated from the University of Calgary, with a BA in Geography in 2015. Through his degree, he became deeply passionate about sustainability, particularly the interface where the built and natural environments meet. His research included investigating food security in Calgary, along with other aspects of urban policy, in an effort to understand and improve the workings of our built environments and make them more equitable and ecologically sound.
Steve has four seasons of general landscape experience, one season working on a local vegetable farm, and extensive experience at a compost facility, where he helped produce organic compost, and developed and tested potting mixes for local growers. This work helped him develop a deep appreciation for the critical role soil plays in supporting the health of both humans and the planet.
This will be Steve’s first year with Eco-yards, and he is excited to put his passion for soil health, design, and sustainability into practice by creating ecologically friendly, resilient, and inspiring living spaces. In his free time, Steve enjoys learning more about permaculture, reading and writing, playing music, brewing, cooking, and enjoying the natural spoils of the Rocky Mountains through climbing, biking, running, and backpacking.
Brandon has traveled from southwestern Ontario to become a part of Eco-yards team and is excited to experience Calgary’s natural beauty. After finishing his Undergraduate degree in Environment and Resources Studies from the University of Waterloo, Brandon became passionate about conservation and restoration practices in Ontario.
While working for Credit Valley Conservation in Mississauga he was part of an invasive plant species removal team that focused on community outreach, removal, and educating the public about stopping the spread of invasive plant species. Brandon learned the importance of understanding native ecosystems and how they are affected by exotic, invasive species that can be purchased by consumers likely uninformed about the impact they could cause.
Growing up on his parents’ hobby farm taught Brandon the definition of hard work, and that you “reap what you sow”. At the beginning of every spring when the fields were plowed Brandon and his family would pick all the rocks out the field that would lead to a large rock garden feature on the property that has sunflowers, trees, and wildflowers growing along the farmhouse. The farm life provided Brandon with many skills in landscaping/hardscaping, lawn maintenance, vegetable gardening and permaculture systems thinking.
Brandon’s most recent job at the Toronto and Region Conservation authority was an excellent opportunity to be part of large scale restoration projects including Tommy Thompson park, reforesting farmers’ fields, and creating/restoring wetlands to make habitat for native species.
Eco-yards aligns perfectly with Brandon’s dedication to sustainability, community awareness, and reducing our ecological footprint.
Here are a few yards and projects designed and installed by our Eco-yards™ crews.
Our Process is beautiful and sustainable too!
Every morning our crews circle up and set the intention to work harmoniously, lovingly, safely, efficiently, all while creating beauty. And they do! They work with joy and respect for each other and our clients. Our clients often say that as much as they love what we have done, they love the energy our crews bring to their home just as much.
We work to avoid using techniques that are harmful to the environment. This is what makes us stand out from other landscaping companies in the city. Here are some of our techniques:
- When we remove sod we take it for composting.
- Cover-over lawns with newspaper rather than hauling sod to the landfill.
- We usually use shovel, pick axe and wheelbarrow rather than bobcats.
- Minimize driving.
- Use materials that are local and organic.