Lena Huang found her calling early on. “I’ve been doing this kind of work since I was a little girl. I built my first pond when I was 12, together with my dad,” she said. Growing up in Germany, she felt connected to the outdoors. “I’ve always had a passion for outdoors and plants and for creating things. I built little rock gardens out in the yard, trying to beautify things. I always had a love for plants flowers.”
And always, it would seem, a head for business. “I remember I would go into meadow, pick wildflowers and go out and try to sell them to the neighbors,” she said with a laugh.
Siara Designs “Happy and Healthy with Nature”
Huang moved to the United States at 25 and turned her passion into a career. She eventually founded Siara Designs, a landscape design firm specializing, health-promoting landscaping. Siara Designs’ tagline, “Happy and Healthy with Nature,” says it all. She designs eco-friendly, low-maintenance landscapes that conserve water and energy.
Her work focuses on using environmentally friendly materials and native plants that promote sustainability. “Here in Texas, I learned about plants. What grows, what doesn’t. If you do this kind of work, over time you learn by doing. You figure out different ways of transforming landscape and that’s what drives me,” Huang said.
“Everybody Needs to Contribute”
Huang is also driven to reduce reliance on pesticides, something she sees as having an especially problematic impact on the environment.
“My mission is creating beautiful, purposeful outdoor spaces,” she said. “Something that supports people, wildlife, and the environment.” The use of pesticides goes against that mission. “If you put that out into this world, you’re not thinking long term,” she said. “You’re not thinking about your kids and their kids. I think everybody needs to contribute something, and that’s one way to give to the next generation.”
The Dallas Home and Garden Show
Next weekend, you will find Huang at the Dallas Home Garden Show where she’s slated to lead two sessions per day. One, a how-to on shade gardens.
“A lot of people in this area have beautiful big oak trees. They’re amazing! They add value and shade. But they also kill grass and leave bare areas. The ground starts to erode. That’s a big problem. So we will talk about how to create beautiful space to address shade areas.”
Carry it Forward
Huang will also be teaching a session called, Gardening with Kids, a topic which seems even nearer and dearer to her. The class focuses getting children in touch with nature and with the outdoors. “It’s important to connect kids with nature,” she said. “So we give people ideas what you can do with kids outdoors,” said Huang.
More importantly, she aims to educate kids on eco-stewardship. “We need to teach them about world, about sustainability, and taking responsibility,” she said. “If we instill in children really early on so they understand that, they internalize it. Then they can carry this thing forward and do something good for the environment, for themselves for next generations.
For kids, she says, learning about the environment isn’t a chore. It’s fun, and it’s an enjoyment she shares from her own childhood. “I think what’s really exciting, what I try to pass on, is a passion, a love, and a joy for the outdoors. That’s something that I love about this job,” she said. “Connecting with clients, transforming spaces, and making things beautiful. Making people happy is what’s really amazing about this work. The design allows us to do that.”