We had the good fortune of connecting with Diane Michaeli and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diane, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
It helps that I believe in what I do. Climate change is the number one issue for me. Creating a business which allows me to talk about and mitigate the effects of global warming keeps me going with great enthusiasm. There are many practices that a residential homeowner can do to help. First and foremost reducing water consumption, which is particularly important during increased heat waves and droughts. I love to talk to clients about the importance of practices like mulching which provides nutrients to the soil, reducing the need for chemical herbicides and fertilizers. I am strongly against the use of Roundup (the brand name of a broad-spectrum herbicide) and believe it should be removed from the market.
Along with planting native and drought friendly plants I have a, not so secret agenda, of adding as many trees to each design as possible. Trees can absorb and store as much as a ton of carbon pollution (CO2) from the atmosphere. The National Wildlife Association says “If every one of America’s 85 million gardening households planted just one young shade tree in their backyard or community, those trees would absorb more than 2 million tons of CO2 each year.” I am passionate about these and other ideas and practices involved in creating drought tolerant water wise residential gardens and that is the number one factor behind the success of my business.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
It starts with a site visit where we go over the client’s goals and budget. From there I present a preliminary blueprint and some photoshop renderings of my design for my client to visualize. We work through revisions until there is a final blueprint in place. From there I work with licensed landscape contractors who can provide their bids to install the design. I’m always happy to supervise the installations as there are usually last minute decisions and plant placements to consider. In 2015 I created Hummingbird Design, LLC to explore my voice as a garden designer. I am passionate about the environment and am also a person with many years experience in the design world. This allows me to be able to easily organize spaces with an eye to user friendly designs that are low maintenance as well as beautiful.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When my friends and family visit me in Los Angeles I like to take them for morning walks at Descanso Gardens. Visiting Descanso in the early morning you can enjoy forested trails, shaded with mature Oak, Camellia and Redwood trees. You can often see deer and bunnies frolicking. Located in La Cañada Flintridge, it’s an amazing gift to live so close to this garden and I love showing it off to visitors. I also love to hit all of my favorite farmer’s markets. I’ve been visiting the South Pasadena farmers market for years and love the small town atmosphere. After picking up all our fresh vegetables I like to stop at Nicole’s market for the goat cheese salad and a refreshment. On Saturday morning I would take them to the Farmer’s market in La Cañada and on Sunday morning the market in Montrose/La Crescenta. My passion project is ceramics so we would most certainly visit The Pottery Studio in Cypress Park to pick up or drop off my latest project. Since we are in the neighborhood I would bring them to my favorite restaurant there called Tierra Caliente.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe my work ethic and entrepreneurial mindset to my family. In 1929 my Grandfather started Suburban Floor Covering in Westchester, New York. My great uncle, mother, father, and now my brother and sister in law have kept it going strong since then. Being a part of this family set me up with strong role models. These days I am inspired by people that have come together to combat and give voice to the urgent need for action around climate change. People like Greta Thunberg, the Sunrise Movement, and legislation like The Green New Deal have inspired me to do my part.