About – Giving Wings to The Yard Fairy

Diane Downey - The Yard Fairy

Hi! My name is Diane Downey and I’m so glad you stopped by my website. I was a licensed landscape contractor operating in the San Diego area of California up until 2012, when we adopted two children via an international kinship adoption. You can read more about this over at my other website, Nature, Nurture and Notions.

I own The Yard Fairy, and have been providing award winning landscape design, installation and maintenance advice and specializing in renovating residential landscapes in North San Diego County since 2003.

A little background about me: I’ve been gardening since I was small. My grandmother taught me how to plant, as well as how to build a compost heap, and improve soil, when I was about 7. Everywhere I’ve lived, even in college dorms, I’ve managed to find a way to grow things. We had a greenhouse at our former home in England, and I would work out there even in the winter time, sprouting seeds and coaxing plants through the cold. Our front porch offered the perfect refuge for cold sensitive plants.

Once upon a time, my life and work looked very different than what you see today. I was juggling a full plate, balancing life as a mom of two young boys with a thriving career at a large pharmaceutical company. I loved my job, where I worked in information technology, helping people accomplish more using computers. But I also made it a priority to be actively involved in my children’s lives as well. Gardening was not as high of a priority as I would have liked it to be, but I made time for work in the backyard on weekends. So as you can imagine, I was one busy lady!

After a while, I began feeling that a change was in order. I decided that working for a large company was not for me anymore, so I took some time off. I organized and ran two events in my local community for women entrepreneurs — the Rancho Carrillo Women’s Expo. It was great to be able to meet with all these wonderful women who live just next door to you or I, and who do all these amazing things to help them find balance in their personal and professional lives. Working with them really reminded me how exciting and challenging it is to be an entrepreneur. I began to ponder what I could do as a business.

That summer, we decided to re-landscape our front yard. We wanted to give it an original flair, and we had some specific problems that we had to address. I created a landscape design; worked out how to achieve the look I wanted, and installed it.

The result is an area of great peace and beauty. At the time, our children were still little and they would play in and around our stream. We love to sit beside it listening to the calming and cooling sounds of water, while at the same time being able to say hello to our neighbors. I found such great pleasure in doing this work that I knew this was my new career!

I returned to school to study horticulture at Mira Costa College, focusing on plant identification, soil science, irrigation, landscape design, landscape management, plant science, pest control and landscape construction.

From 2003 until early 2012 I was able to share my love of gardening and plants with our many wonderful landscape design, installation and maintenance clients in the San Diego area.

I was able to built a team of women who shared the same passion and who, like me, were graduates of the horticulture program of Mira Costa College. We designed and installed patios, walls, lighting, walkways, fences, trellises, water features, irrigation/drainage systems and many, many beautiful plants.

When we started out on our journey to adopt our niece and nephew from the UK, I saw that I could continue to share my passion for landscaping with others via consultations, garden coaching and the community based site that The Yard Fairy had become.  I am ready to share my love of landscaping with you and your yard.

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