- Design Your Space
- Shop Away
- Learn More
- About Us
Habitat Design is a one-stop online gardening resource that lets you design your garden and pick out plants and accessories – while receiving professional guidance and tips along the way.
Habitat was founded by Jessy Berg and Bonnie Gemmell. Here are their stories…
In my family, you’re either a doctor, lawyer or businessperson. Since my older sisters had already claimed the first two professions, I went to business school. I ended up working in technology and marketing for years, but always felt something was missing.
When the dot-com bust happened, I said “That’s it. I’m done.”
I decided I wanted to do something that was creative, outdoors, and involved my love of working with people. Problem was, after a few months went by I still couldn’t figure out exactly what that was.
I started to worry – wondering if it was a good decision to have left my career, if I had just blown my time in business school. I needed a distraction. So, I put up a sign in a coffee shop saying, ‘Gardener Available with a Creative Streak. Cheap!” See, I’d always loved to garden as a way to calm my mind. I figured I could garden while I figured out what to do with my life.
I ended up getting a few calls from that sign. My first client was Nan. She welcomed me into her home and told me to ‘do what I wanted’. I thought, ‘this isn’t how it’s supposed to work!’ but I was excited and got right to work. I still have pictures of the weekend I pulled out her weeds and put in the new plants – I look absolutely joyful covered in dirt!
That day in Nan’s garden, my true passion was born.
As I worked with my clients to achieve their visions of beautiful gardens, I realized I couldn’t express myself visually. So I attended a landscape architecture school at night and took a part-time job at a nursery to learn about plants. I bought gardening books and magazines and poured over the pictures. I was hooked!
While gardening, it became clear to that my clients are the ones who live in the gardens I design—not me. I began working even more collaboratively with my clients, helping them select plants they like, choose the right color palette—right down to picking out a mailbox that would fit their style.
I developed a customizable process to zero in on their ‘vision.’ Because when it comes down to it, it’s these little things coming together that make a garden your own.
The problem is not everyone gets to hire a professional designer. Strongly believing that everyone deserves a beautiful garden, I set out to share my knowledge, design skills and straight-forward process with everybody.
Habitat Design is the product of that belief. I’ve taken my landscape design and customization process and put it online, using video clips to walk you through the processes I would do in-person with my clients.
Isn’t it ironic that after leaving technology, I’m back again—combining my passion for gardens with the internet?
And to think that none of this would have been possible without my first client, Nan.
Thanks Nan for taking that chance on me.
I grew up on a produce farm in Northwest, Ohio – harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers and corn alongside other farm laborers. I began at the ripe age of 10.
Growing up on a family farm, you do what you have to do to help the farm flourish. I learned the value of hard work, and the gratification you feel after tilling the soil, planting the seeds, fertilizing the plants, hoeing the weeds — and finally harvesting a crop. And you don’t do this alone. Being part of a team and contributing to something bigger was a lasting experience — and an experience most people don’t have that young.
Inspired by the value of hard work, I decided to open up a vegetable stand to sell our produce directly to other locals. I was an entrepreneur at age 12!
I guess you could say my life has come full circle: I’m back working in the soil, and am loving it.
I left Ohio in my twenties and moved to Palo Alto, California. I left behind the farmland and — like many who move to Silicon Valley — focused my career on the high-tech world. From founding a computer software distribution company in ’81 to co-founding a catalog of well designed, American made products 84′ to working at Addwater Marketing Agency more recently, I’ve tasted a bit of everything the ‘Valley’ has to offer.
And now, partnering with Jessy is finally allowing me to get back to my love nature, non-instant gratification, and of dirt. I’m helping people grow wonderful things and create beautiful outdoor spaces — online — and I love seeing how happy they are with the results.
I hope you enjoy working with Habitat Design, and find some cool items in our online store. Did I mention I love to shop?
We'd love to share with you:
+ Garden design ideas
+ New products just in
+ Great discounts
+ Tips & Tricks in the garden
“People come to my door all the time to get my landscape designer’s name.”
—Kathleen W., Palo Alto, CA