It all started when I moved to British Columbia. I was born and raised in a blissful backyard in East L.A. down the street from brushy hillsides speckled with cactus patches. I always fantasized about the magic of the forest. And then, as a twist of college enrollment fate would have it, I was thrust into the midst of a massive rainforest in one of the most health-conscious and environmentally aware cities in the world.
Every few months or so, I would go home to L.A.: freeway, warehouse and palm tree covered L.A. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved palm trees, but I could feel deep down that the living environment in L.A. had been sacrificed to the built one. That nature was a little broken. Or at the very least, that it could be made a lot stronger, healthier and more enjoyable for everyone.
And so, I started designing landscapes. Drought tolerant, eco-concious, California native, edible gardens - you name the 'hippie' adjective I incorporated it - into front yards, backyards and parking lots. But gradually I found that custom design was slow, costly and so dispersed that we were not making much of a difference in L.A.'s greater landscape.
Plus, a lot of my hipper clients, really wanted to be creating their landscapes themselves. Call it the 'DIY movement' or just mindful awareness but I found people wanting to participate more but not knowing enough. What goes together and where it should go: shade or sun? Water or none? Australian grevillea or Japanese maple? California wildflower patch? My clients all had and wanted a bit of each of these but getting the combination right was a challenge.
So, with the help of my team, I've created California Wild. a company that aims to revolutionize the landscapes of California by shortcutting and eradicating the dated design conventions that have dominated our living environment. Like landscaping as an accessory to building instead of its own thing. Like the design maxim of lawns, hedges and roses that descends from the hyper-wasteful 18th century royal gardens of France and Britain.
Our yards should not be eating cake! They should be growing it for us and for the birds and the bees! And without an expensive water bill! And without the constant sound of lawn mowers and leaf blowers (Don't worry my Mexican friends, we intend to keep you in business just by putting your incredible outdoor skill set to better use than burning precious fossil fuels to move dust around)!
Don't get us wrong - we like lawns and roses too - in certain settings and in moderation but there is a BETTER way to landscape and it will create a better California for us all. So let's get our landscapes out of the 18th century. Join us, not just in rebuilding the wild in our own backyards but in improving it for humans and wildlife alike. Our rare, endangered and idyllic California Mediterranean climate is an enviable godsend that should not be wasted.
How do we better it you might ask? By offering affordable easily assembled pre-planned gardens that anyone in California can buy and install - or have their gardener install. Gardens that are:
- Local climate adapted
- Native habitat & wildlife friendly
- Food producing where possible (eat the local-ist!)
- Use plants that improve air quality / absorb carbon dioxide
- Use plants that provide their own soil fertility
- Designed to be low-maintenance (occasional pruning only. Watering and weeding in the 1st-2nd year/establishment phase)
- ARE DAMN SEXY aka attractive, seductive, nice to look at, smell touch and be with
Oh and for my fellow eco-freaks out there did we mention that rebuilding high-functioning ecosystems and growing [even very small amounts of] your own food are some of the BIGGEST ways we can reverse climate change?
Yeah, we believe BIG solutions are coming people and we want you to be a part of them.
Peace & Love my Cali People,
Briana J. Lyon
Founder & CEO