What is the Aesthetic Nature of Ecology?

In this workshop series, originally held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, you'll explore the power of beauty in transforming and healing your local landscape in ways you never thought were possible.

Workshop Details:

What is the aesthetic nature of your local landscape?  Of the formal spaces that make up the public landscape?  Who decides what looks good?  More importantly, what is sacrificed ecologically to achieve that status-quo look?  When we hear the word ‘ecology,’ or associated terms like ‘nature’ and ‘environment,’ perhaps we envision weeds overgrowing vacant lots or scrappy wooded areas that ought to be tamed.  I created this workshop series to replace such images with orderly scenes of ecosystem function within contemporary developed landscapes.

What this means is that ecology doesn’t have to be messy.  Water can be purified, beneficial pollinators can be fed, and soil can regain a rich top layer when landscape architecture is combined with regenerative design principles.


image: aesthetic nature

WHAT: Three rich weekly modules will be delivered to your inbox.  Each workshop in the series includes slides and a worksheet. Q&A with the instructor is available throughout the series.

WHEN:  Self-Paced

COST: $47


Aesthetic Nature: Soil, the Fountain of Youth

Beauty is indeed skin-deep, so nourishing the earth’s foundation brings repeat good hair days.

In module 1, we accomplish aesthetic nature via recovery of the soil.  The skin is the largest organ of the body.  Similarly, the earth is protected by a living interface.  Supporting this soil layer is similar to a great skin-care routine. By making moves in accord with Nature, you can re-establish your soil’s powerful ability to in turn support a healthy web of life.

What is soil?  Soil is a living foundation layer, a medium for everything to happen, a vital resource to many species, a nutrient house, a super-habitat.

In this module, we travel beneath the surface to uncover landscape problems at their root.  We then take advantage of little-known strategies to restore, nourish, and protect this all-important layer so that our plants and trees can thrive.  We also get the bonus of more butterflies and songbirds, not to mention a visible up-tick of flowers.  Learn how focusing on the soil also offers residents of drought-ridden and dryland areas a huge untapped opportunity to recover lost water.

April 6, 2019 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Arboretum


Trees: Architecture of Beauty

You can't help bone structure, or can you? No-surgery methods for renewal at the root.

Module 2 focuses on affecting change on the surface by starting within.  Can our attitude toward seemingly insentient aspects of the landscape cause cosmetic and other (undreamed of) shifts?  What is the aesthetic nature of a tree and where does that pattern of beauty come from?  We are told the Plant Kingdom is comprised of “lower” organisms, stubborn players that require surgery and control. What if we approached them as highly intelligent partners in the co-creation of our city?

This workshop introduces modern communication received directly from trees as a framework for replacing our traditional relationship with them. When we allow these powerful anchors of our biosphere to feel as well as look their best, they are able to contribute a fuller range of their gifts to us.

In this module, you'll discover awe-inspiring tree wisdom and find out how you can support trees in ways you may not have known existed.  A healthy tree means food, water, and shelter for many species, including us!  Get ready to understand trees in a new way that will connect you to them and facilitate powerful changes to your local landscape.

May 25, 2019 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Arboretum


Aesthetic Nature Via Under-Story Plants: Accessories Communicate

Dress your landscape to impress.

In module 3, we examine how the ways in which we adorn ourselves is our first layer of communication with the world, and we explore parallels in Nature.  Garments and accessories protect us, inspire others, and tell our story. Attracting a supportive, positive community is a key benefit of showing who we are.  Regenerative design acts as your stylist, effectively selecting and accessorizing the right wardrobe for your soil and trees so they draw in the right non-human people.  The result is more beauty with less effort and more rapid success. In this workshop we will discuss effective strategies for placing, planting, and supporting a community of under-story and mid-canopy plants that work for us by bringing in special helpers.

In this final module, we complement the soil and the trees with companion plantings to create a well-rounded version of aesthetic nature in the local landscape.  Whatever your neighborhood style, HOA, required street tree list, or other parameters, this layer will be key in holding the improvements of the previous two modules.

June 22, 2019 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Arboretum