Live, laugh, love, garden

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A young woman started her own business when she was 25, and its success is credited to her creativity and hard work.

Holly Larson, now 27, lives in Hayward and has a shop there called Garden Diva Design Studios, 80920 County Road 46. Her passion is creating landscapes and helping people expand the use of their yards.

“I love working with the plants and making the drawings,” Larson said.

Email newsletter signup

One of the first things she does when talking with a client about redesigning their yard is to make a detailed drawing of the yard from a bird’s-eye view. Then she takes a photo of the yard and, on her computer, adds in trees, shrubs and all the extra work so they can see what it would look like at the end of landscaping.

Most designers only show the homeowner a drawing, but the pictures help customers visualize what the end result could look like, so Larson likes to use both. When she was in school the main focus were the drawings, and she has since taught herself to use computer landscaping programs.

“The programs weren’t as sophisticated as they are now,” Larson said.

Larson got her education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and majored in garden design and horticulture. She said her mom originally got her interested in plants and gardening. After she graduated in 2005 she worked at a garden center, then in 2008 she opened her own shop.

“I have unique things that bring people to my shop,” Larson said. “I try to find unique suppliers who have unique plants.”

She stocks annuals, tropicals, perennials, trees and shrubs. She also stocks what she calls “garden art” which are mostly metal pieces like trellises and arbors.

Age: 27

Address: 82017 County Road 46, Hayward

Livelihood: garden designer

Family: father, Jon; mother, Sandy; brother, Randy

Interesting fact: Her favorite plants are hydrangeas and calla lilies.

“A lot of people look for outdoor living stuff like firepits and fireplaces,” Larson said.

She said expanding their homes by adding living space outside is popular now. People can find more information on her website at or by stopping at her store on County Road 46 near Hayward. Her hours are Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shop is closed on Sunday.

The shop is open March through December. She said during her off months she works on designs for the next year and always has work to do. She also has to change all the merchandise from holiday-themed items to new things for spring. In January and February she is also busy organizing the April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon and Relay Race.

The memorial race is in honor of Sorensen, Larson’s sister, who was murdered in her home in Rochester in 2007. Her family asks others to remember Sorensen by running. The slogan for the event is “Live, Laugh, Love, Run.” Sorensen herself was a runner and had finished three marathons. This year’s race is July 10, and more information can be found at