Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristyn Hansen.
Hi Kristyn, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
I grew up on a farm in rural Utah. My parents were gardeners and farmers and helping was just a way of life! My dad started working for the Bureau of Reclamation and then for Central Utah Water Conservancy District where I had the chance to learn about and visit several dams and water projects that my dad worked on. He taught me a lot about the collection and distribution of water in our state, and I am very passionate about water conservation because of the knowledge I have. I got my associate’s degree from UVU in Drafting and Design and worked for a few years doing home designs and digitizing old blueprints before quitting to raise my kids. While they were growing up, I did several years of set design and construction for school and local community children’s theater.
As we purchased our homes, my husband and I learned to DIY all things inside and out. I also read a lot of landscaping, plant, and gardening books to figure out what I was doing, then started applying it to my yard. With that and the design skills I have, I put together landscapes for our homes over the years. Some were remodeled, and some were new construction. I wanted my yards to look like they did in the books, not like what everyone else did. As I designed our landscapes, I had others pay attention to what I was doing, like it, and ask if I could help them with their yard. So, I started giving advice here and there and maybe doing a few sketches for people, or giving a list of plants that would work well for their area.
When my husband and I went for walks my favorite thing was to comment on what people could do with their yards to make them look better. I wanted to call myself the ‘Anonymous Landscaper’ and leave people anonymous notes – and of course, they would just want to do what I recommended!
With our last move, we did new construction and I heard about Localscapes. It made so much sense to me that I immediately got my husband on board, and we decided to design a Localscaped yard. We signed up for classes and started the design process. My husband is a designer too, so we both combined our ideas and how we wanted to use our space. I drew a few sketches but wanted a CAD program to make them fancier, so I bought one. After we finished, we went to work on the yard, and I posted the 3D design I made of our yard on Facebook and Instagram, along with some of the things I was learning.
Then I had a friend ask me seriously to design their new landscape. So, I did! They posted it on their social media and from that 1 job I got jobs from 3 neighbors and 1 friend. From those jobs, their friends hired me. The majority of my business comes from word of mouth. I also became a Localscapes partner and get a lot of leads from that.
Then Covid hit. And it was the best thing for my business ever! I got furloughed from my part-time job, so I had more time to devote to working on my client’s landscapes, and the worldwide interest in gardening and landscaping went through the roof! I had more work than I could keep up with. I applied for a business license and quit my other job and got to work! Now with the drought, I do a lot of landscapes to make yards more water-wise and pollinator-friendly. I love to welcome pollinators, and that’s where my logo inspiration comes from
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
My biggest struggle is Imposter Syndrome. I don’t have a degree in landscape design or horticulture, so am I qualified? As I started my business, I considered going back to school (at age 47!) to get a degree in landscape design, but decided to do some other classes before making that decision. So, I took all of the online gardening extension courses that Utah State University offered. They had courses for plants, vegetables, shrubs, trees, turf management, etc. They were great information, but I wanted something more in-depth, so I signed up to take the Master Gardener program in Davis County. After completing that, I loved it, and I’m now in my second year as a Docent for my local botanical garden. I love working alongside the experts for our state, and I continue to learn so much from that. I have wonderful mentors there and throughout the landscaping industry that teach me all the time. I still sign up for in-person and online classes through the water conservation districts. I joined the Utah Nursery and Landscape Association where we have awesome speakers teach us each courses every year, and I took the class to become a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper through a WaterSense labeled program. So, when it came to school, my husband asked me if I needed another degree to do what I do. Nope! I can do a great job, and when I don’t know something, I know who to ask or where to look. In this industry, you never stop learning and I love learning new things.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Not many other small business landscape designers do 3D landscapes. This is where my design background really comes into use. Along with learning computer-aided design in college, I also took surveying classes. Very, very few yards are flat, so I use my 3D and CAD skills to reconstruct their landscape topography on my computer. I also have to build their house in my design program. Being able to read a set of plans and make a 3D model of it is key for my designs. Most new construction clients can give me a copy of their plans which saves me a lot of time. But if I don’t have plans, I know how homes are built, so I know how to reconstruct them. 3D design helps clients that struggle with plan view to actually walk through their design and see the end results with the trees and shrubs at full size. And it’s just fun to see it in 3D! It also gives a much better estimate of hardscape materials needed to build the landscape as far as retaining wall heights, number of stairs, etc. And landscape installers love it because I give them the square footage of the surface materials, so they don’t have to calculate it! My full 3D Design clients also get a YouTube video walkthrough of their 3D landscape with their final plans. Then they can view it as much as they want!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Just that I love the landscape industry. I don’t feel like it is a competition but more of collaboration because there is so much work out there for everyone right now. Everyone is so willing to help out. I have mentors in horticulture, design, my computer program, business management, and everything! There are just awesome industry specialists that know what it’s like to just start out, and they want to share what they know. Plant people really are the best people.
- $225/hour for consultations
- Prices are according to the design size (usually the lot size).
- Website: https://www.ournestingspace.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ournestingspace/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ournestingspace
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCapeYgVh5FF77hcT9Vt2c6Q