AOLCP Snapshot: Emily Dutra, Dutra Designs

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How was your business year in 2016?
In 2016 many of the goals I had in the works over the last several years came together. We had an incredible diverse team. They were loyal, knowledgeable, friendly, reliable and passionate. Our clients and their projects could not have been more supportive of our continued mission to make the environment a cleaner, safer and more beautiful place through regenerative land care. We did run into more emphasis on budgeting than normal, but it only challenged us to be more creative with our services.

Share something that you learned last year, whether about horticulture or the horticultural business.
A lesson that has come up throughout my career is that it is so important to communicate well. Helping to set and understand your client’s expectations is the first step to a successful relationship.  When a new project starts your clients goals and yours should be aligned and realistic. This includes cost, timing, and the finished product. Meadows, hugelkultur gardens, and organic lawns are some areas where this was driven home for us over the last few seasons.  Construction and establishment of these installations take time and money but the finished product is beautiful and saves on both. This applies to many of our services!

What are you looking forward to in 2017, and what do you plan to do differently?
I am really looking forward to continuing to increase living alternative lawns: Meadows, clover, ground covers, edible gardens, native grass and perennials to our sustainable landscapes. A proper alternative lawn not only saves on water, fertilizer, and pesticide use but it is beneficial to the earth and makes for gorgeous functional design! I also have a renewed excitement for our container gardens. They were my first love and after 3 years and 2 moves our greenhouse is finally back up allowing us to grow unique material and get really creative with our designs! 


Raised-Bed Hugelkultur by Jesse Preciado, Published on Sep 18, 2015
During my travels on the East coast of U.S., I had the privilege to work on an amazing project with an awesome company!


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Hugelkultur at Annye’s Whole Foods
What is Hugelkultur? “It roughly translates from German to mean “mound culture.” It is an ancient practice of creating raised garden beds by covering wood with soil.” (Edible Landscaping by, Michael Judd)  “The buried wood acts like a sponge, capturing water and nutrients for later use by whatever you choose to plant.  As it decomposes, the wood draws in beneficial fungi and quickly turns into rich soil.  The results are astounding for such a simple process and creates the most amazing, fertile, and self-hydrating raised beds!

What’s Great about Hugelkultur?

  • Amazing Water Retention
  • Warmer Soil
  • Builds Soil Fertility
  • Creates micro-climates
  • Recycles Organic Matter On-site
  • Less Bending Over!
  • Cleans your Yard up in Style.