What started with a $15 pair of hand clippers has turned into a full-service landscape design and build business for an area woman.

Ariana Carlson owns Yachats Yardscapes, which offers landscape design and build services along the Central Oregon Coastline. Carlson has 14 years’ experience in landscaping and related fields and is one of the only female licensed landscape contractors in Lincoln County.

Carlson usually designs Zen-inspired landscapes, with much of the rock sourced locally. Because the rock is local, it fits in nicely with the landscape.

“I really like working with rock and I love the Japanese Zen garden style,” Carlson said. “It promotes tranquility and it’s easy to maintain. It’s a sweet spot for us.”

Imperfection is a Zen garden concept, and it’s a reminder that nothing on this earth is ever going to be perfect.

“The Zen garden aesthetic is so applicable right now to where we are in society and where we are in the world,” explained Carlson. “This style of garden is a mindfulness exercise in taking care of what we have.”

Zen-inspired landscapes are not only peaceful, but they are also low maintenance. With her vast experience working in the landscaping industry, Carlson learned many things about coastal zones, which are prone to landslides and runoff. She also served on the Yachats Planning Commission which gave her insight into variances, lot lines, and other knowledge that relates directly to her career.

“When we go to a job site, I will never tell a client we can do something that I don’t think is going to last and look good,” Carlson said. “That is one of the reasons why we use a lot of rock. It can help stabilize a hillside, help with erosion, and lasts a long time.”

Carlson said when she meets with a client, she can envision exactly how the final design can look.

“For whatever reason, I seem to have a really good sense of spatial awareness. It comes naturally for me, she said.”

In addition to landscape design and build services, Carlson offers consulting to property owners through her other business, Stone & Fern Northwest. If someone wants information about things like drainage, design, and appropriate plantings, the consultations Carlson offers in-person and via Zoom will give them everything they need to make appropriate decisions for their unique property. If Yachats Yardscapes isn’t available to install the project for the client, Carlson will make recommendations for another licensed contractor.

Yachats Yardscapes currently employs five people, all of whom are supporting their families through those jobs.

“I’ve employed five single mothers over the course of my business, myself included,” Carlson said. “I’ve employed people of color, recovering drug addicts and people who were previously incarcerated.”

Carlson is pleased about the fact that her business employs people who want to do better for themselves and their families.

“I’m proud of the conversations we have about standards, best practices and even topics like justice and healthy communication, she said.” “I believe with all my heart that empowering landscape contractors and laborers who have been marginalized in some way is one way to help change the world for the better.”

It took her a while to find good people but as her business has grown, Carlson has been able to attract qualified, expert-level employees. The trick, she said, is finding people who are a good fit for the team.

“I’ve gotten really lucky, but it was trial and error,” she said. “We look to hire people who are kind-hearted, respectful, have good ethics and who want to be part of a team. We don’t tolerate rudeness, jack-assery and some of the other B.S. you sometimes see in the landscaping industry. We all take such pride in our work.”

Being a woman business owner in a male-dominated industry has been difficult at times but Carlson has also experienced broad support from clients and vendors alike. She started Yachats Yardscapes at the behest of several local women who valued her passion and knowledge in landscaping. Carlson continues to support other women in landscaping, especially those who are new to the field.

Yachats Yardscapes serves the Central Oregon Coast and other areas in Oregon by request, depending on project scope. Yachats Yardscapes can be contacted at www.yachatsyardscapes.com. Stone & Fern Northwest can be contacted at www.stoneandfernnw.com or 503-852-5307.

“Being a landscape contractor is not easy, and it’s not for the faint of heart,” Carlson said. “It’s a grind, and a lot can go wrong, much of which there is no way to control, such as the weather. But a lot can go right. A lot of the work we do is beautiful, meaningful, and rewarding.”

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