In the beloved book, The Secret Garden, we find the following line: “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden”. This same perspective is also useful when transforming one’s yard into a custom-made oasis. There are many green-thumbs with strong opinions along the shoreline. At M&M Garden Designs of Killingworth, Connecticut, owners Sandi and Eric Manna approach each project in a bespoke and personalized way, helping people create gardens that leap out of their imagination and into the real world.
“We have a garden for everybody. We’re very a la carte,” says Sandi Manna of the dynamic business she started with Eric 11 years ago. Their devotion to personalization is clear from recent projects, which included designing an outdoor space for birds for one customer; a garden for cut flowers for another (for fresh floral arrangements); and a fragrant garden for a third client, full of delicious scents that will take her away when wandering through her haven.
M&M is known for transforming dull yards into extraordinary spaces that capture a client’s personal aesthetic. For such a purposeful local business, Sandi says it all started quite accidentally. Back in 2006, she took a part-time job to supplement her income as a graphic designer. It was with a landscaping and gardening company. “I had an epiphany,” she says: “This is what I should have gone to school for. I haven’t looked back.” She began working with Eric after he left his position at another landscaping job. The duo knew they had to start their own company and realize their shared vision. “If you can find a career that is one hundred percent your calling, then you have got it made. And this is it for me,” she says.
The landscaping and gardening world has seasonal trends (obviously), and Sandi says the two topics trending this year are drought-resistant gardens and “winter interest.”
Drought-resistant gardens are popular because more and more homeowners want out of high-maintenance lawns, with their caustic fertilization and watering. People are also taking more notice of “winter interest”—designing gardens to bloom all year long. That’s consistent with Sandi’s own philosophy of keeping one’s life in bloom, even in the autumn and winter. Experimenting with foliage colors and bark textures, M&M Garden Designs keeps yards radiant even in the dark and dreary winter.