Garden Diva hopes to spread joy of gardening and design through Hayward business

Published 9:17 am Thursday, April 30, 2009

Business owner Holly Larson looks to spread the joy and creativity of gardening and design through her business Garden Diva Design Studio LLC.

Larson designs gardens and does other landscape work, and the process usually starts when a customer calls or e-mails Larson to set up an appointment. Larson will discuss ideas for the project with her customers at their home or business.

“I try and get out of them exactly what they want, and I try to have each project reflect the homeowner. I feel that when you see a landscape it should reflect the people living there and what they are about,” Larson said.

Email newsletter signup

To reflect her customers, Larson said she tries to converse with them to learn about what they want.

Larson said meeting with her customers multiple times can help her better serve her customers, and she likes to meet with most of her customers a second time at her store, so she can show them examples of materials.

Larson said she’ll take the ideas that come out of meeting with her customers, and she’ll work to design an outdoor living space. She can work with the homeowners and supply materials if they want to do the work and installation on their own, or she can install the materials for them.

Interaction with her customers is Larson’s favorite part of her business, because she said forming that relationship with all her customers is something that may not be possible if she worked for a larger company.

Larson has a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of Minnesota, but her love for gardening and design formed while gardening with her mother, who Larson said introduced her to gardening at a young age. After college, Larson worked at garden centers in Albert Lea and Austin before opening Garden Diva Design Studio about a year ago.

“I would say I’m incredibly different, because I have a different take on gardening and flowers and different things,” Larson said. “I want to create garden fashion. The way I display things is very unique. The type of material I carry is very unique. You don’t see it anywhere else. I’m more of a specialty store.”

The cost varies, because Larson said she can do small projects like installing plants and things by a front door, or she can work on larger projects like installing an outdoor fireplace or an outdoor bar area.

Larson said she can perform different tasks in different seasons, and she can do design and work with things like pumpkins in the fall and wreaths in the winter.

Larson said she’s closed in January and February, but she will line up projects in the fall so she can get the measurements and then work on designs for the projects over the winter.

Larson typically works in the Albert Lea and Austin area, but she has done some design work near Rochester, Owatonna and Mankato. Larson currently doesn’t have any employees, but her parents will help her with installation and other work.

Larson’s most memorable project was working as part of the Extreme Makeover Home Edition project at the DeVries home, as she worked to design the courtyard. She said the experience was a positive one where she was able to work with different designers.

No matter the size of the project, Larson said she enjoys interacting with her customers and wants them to enjoy the work as much as she does.

“Just have fun with it,” Larson said. “Gardening should be incredibly fun, and it’s super easy. There’s so many things. Everyone’s like ‘oh, gardening, it’s so much work. I don’t want to have anything to do with it.’ It’s just so much fun. It’s so relaxing. It’s a stress reliever. I just wish people would come here and just see how fun it is and how easy it is and fashionable it can be.”