My Connecticut garden coaching practice is devoted to teaching homeowners how to garden in a more environmentally sustainable way. Together we create healthy yards that are resilient, full of life, diversity and delight.




Guidance for creating sustainable, attainable landscapes

LISTEN TO A CONVERSATION WITH KAREN on Thomas Christopher’s Growing Greener podcast


  • Would you like a garden mentor to teach you basic gardening skills?
  • Someone to help envision what your yard could be?
  • A view without cutting all the trees down?
  • Techniques for gardening with nature?
  • Help with going organic?
  • Less maintenance?
  • Great plants?
  • More fun?
  • Birds?


NEW! Virtual Garden Coaching

Sometimes you just need a more experienced gardener to show you what’s what and how to.

Sure, hands-on garden coaching is more immediate, but with Covid-19, we’re sheltering in place and getting used to learning and interacting virtually.

If you are uncomfortable meeting with a socially distanced (but still friendly) garden coach in person, or live too far from Connecticut for me to work with you, let’s meet online. Shoot me an email, give me a call, or click the ‘Book a Session’ button and we will work out the best way to communicate and solve your garden dilemmas.

Here’s what a new gardener on Long Island had to say after our FaceTime session (which was really fun).

“I planted my first vegetable garden this spring and was totally overwhelmed with the unreliable and conflicting advice that I was finding online. I reached out to Karen to ask if she would do a FaceTime session as I needed an expert to tell me if I was on the right track.

Over FaceTime, I showed Karen my garden and we went through my list of questions. She gave me some excellent advice on how to care for my plants, what type of soil and mulch to use (I was using the wrong kind), how often to water, and some great suggestions for companion plants and pollinators.

I walked away with an action plan and felt confident that I was on my way to a successful first season. Karen also recommended a few books and websites that I have found to be very valuable. I highly recommend a FaceTime session with Karen.”

Virtual coaching client

“The garden that Karen designed keeps growing and changing so that it’s like waking up to Christmas morning every day for most of the year.”

Anna W., Kent, CT

Check Out Karen’s Work With Some of Her Clients

See a Slide Show of Karen’s Work


Stamp out boring, unsustainable, high-maintenance landscapes with an eco-friendly makeover.

NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional · Member Ecological Landscape Alliance

Garden coaching specialties

  • Low-maintenance plants and practices to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Deer-resistant plants and strategies for discouraging deer
  • Renovating garden beds – plants and design
  • Pruning and deadheading – and teaching you how
  • Planting for wildlife – especially birds and butterflies
  • Attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects
  • Organic solutions
  • Gardening with kids
  • Conserving resources
  • Improving views and access
  • Selecting the right plant for the right place
  • Planting for year-round interest – including winter gardens
  • Native plants
  • Invasive plants – recognizing, removing and controlling them
  • Woodland editing to preserve understory plants for wildlife
  • Edible landscaping
  • Creative garden problem-solving
  • Creating spaces that flow
  • Site-specific plant-centered design (link to gallery of my garden designs)
  • Nurturing gardens and gardeners


As the Eco-Friendly Garden Coach, I draw on

  • Decades of photographing and writing about ecological landscaping, native plants, biodiversity, xeriscaping, organic gardening, planting for wildlife, gardening with nature and related topics
  • A lifetime of hands-on down-in-the-dirt garden making
  • Studies with leading ecological landscapers, ecologists and wildlife biologists
  • Training for and meeting the ongoing requirements to be a NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional.
“Karen co-lead a training day for Audubon Connecticut’s Audubon At Home program on creating bird friendly habitats utilizing native plants and sustainable garden design features for people interested in creating these types of spaces on their properties. Her depth of knowledge and breadth of work … was inspiring and engaged the audience in the story of garden design and the beauty of native plants and their connections to the health of biodiversity.”
Taralynn Reynolds, Audubon At Home Coordinator Connecticut Audubon


A garden coaching session is whatever you want it to be.

Some clients have asked for

  • A walk-through for new homeowners to identify plants – the good, the bad and the ugly – and work out strategies for maintaining, increasing, rearranging or eliminating them
  • Help in defining spaces, screening or opening views, simplifying busy planting schemes, creating a balance and a sense of flow, adding color
  • A written maintenance plan or plant inventory
  • Follow-up research – things like a list of plants for butterfly gardens, a recipe for encouraging moss or plant suggestions for sites that are wet, shady or full of deer
  • Advice on what they can do and what requires a professional. Interviewing and selecting landscape contractors and supervising their work
  • Sourcing and purchasing plants – I can provide plants, take you shopping or just make suggestions
  • Selecting and placing new trees – getting just the right varieties for the location and arranging for planting
  • New gardeners sometimes schedule a weekly private class, others check in with me a couple times a year, when they’re “stuck” or when they’re ready to go on to a new phase. One I’m working with to develop gardens and edit woodland plantings over the next 10 years. Some coaching clients realize they don’t have time and just ask me to make them a garden.

“It’s hard to imagine where we would be without Karen’s help.  

Only a few weeks after buying our house, we met with Karen to figure out how to tackle our overgrown landscape. Karen walked our property, showed us the good and the bad, and ultimately, set us on a path to eliminate the many invasive species.  

With Karen’s help, we’ve now begun a slow process of repopulating our site with native plants, shrubs and trees. Karen’s guidance has been invaluable, and we look forward to her continued input.”  

Jill P., Kent, CT