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Knack for Native

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As the founders of Eden Garden Design, Sarah Yant and Amy Hovis use their green thumbs to create stunning sustainable landscapes.

By Amanda Penney, Photos by Greg Thomas

After the landscape-design company she had been working for went out of business, Sarah Yant knew she had to find a way to continue doing what she loved. It was this mindset that led to the birth of her own business. She started Eden Garden Design in 2009 to keep up her passion for designing landscapes in the Austin area.

Yant grew up around gardening and design. Both her grandmothers were gardeners and her mother was a gardener and an interior designer. However, although she was exposed to the powers of cultivating a green thumb at a young age, Yant did not feel the pull to pursue the passion until years later.

“I would say that I didn’t really come to love [gardening]until after I got out of college,” Yant says. “I worked on an organic farm, and that’s when I really fell in love with farming, and then that led to working at nurseries, which led to doing landscape design. It was kind of an organic process that I didn’t really plan out, but just sort of fell in my lap.”

Amy Hovis joined Yant as a business partner in February 2012, and the two women started designing properties throughout the Central Texas area. Just like the plethora of native plants incorporated into their designs, the business started to grow as word spread among previous clients and the duo received more project referrals from industry connections. While initial projects tended to start on the smaller side, the landscape-design company was soon tackling larger design projects such as commercial reconstructions and ranch jobs, much of what Eden Garden Design does today.

“My favorite projects are ranch projects,” Yant says. “We’ve done several of those in the Hill Country and they’re usually about two or three hours away from Austin. I really enjoy the opportunity to be in a rural setting like that and work on a larger property.”

Thin soils and extreme temperatures give Texas a harsh growing climate, but Yant and Hovis make it their mission to use native and adapted plants in all their projects. Eden Garden Design emphasizes plants that survive and thrive throughout time and are suited to the hot Central Texas climate, from fragrant mistflower and Texas sotol to gulf muhly and galeana sage.

“We really get the range of everything that you can experience in gardening,” Yant says. “Early on, just in my philosophy of gardening, I started to learn that I wanted to use plants that would actually be more sustainable and have longevity in their lives.”

When it comes to design, Yant and Hovis feel they thrive working with different styles. The women enjoy fusing a native and adapted palette of materials with a modern architecture project. With Hovis’ background in commercial design and construction, Eden Garden Design projects take on more than just the exterior landscape design; the duo has put their heads together on everything from swimming-pool renovations to the interior and exterior design of gyms.

Yant says she never wants to be pigeonholed into one style, and she and Hovis say they are happy just where they are.

“As for future plans, I think we’d be happy doing exactly what we’re doing right now,” Hovis says. “We think that it’s really fun to have a business that’s run by two women who are doing great things and having fun doing them. We’d like to inspire that all around as well.”

 

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