I began life on my grandfather's nursery in Everett, Illinois-now Lake Forest. While living at home, I worked in the landscape contracting and nursery trade for my grandfather and for my father in the landscape maintenance service business, where I earned valuable horticultural field experience-and a love of nature. I later brought my design and marketing skills garnered at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Illinois to the table: instituting the professional image, policy and procedures that launched my father's tiny lawn mowing service-Mariani Landscape-to the top 100 powerhouse landscape company it is today.
In 2016 I left our family business after 35 years of service to answer what I consider to be a higher calling. My personal concern over the serious trend toward habitat loss and wildlife extinction helped me realize that the landscape industry was actually responsible for a lot of the environmental problems effecting wildlife and the environment; I.E. use/misuse of pesticides, fertilizers, water and other resources, carbon emissions from power equipment, introduction of non-native invasive plant species, etc.
Armed with enough knowledge about native plants and wildlife, I felt I had a great opportunity to reverse this trend simply by utilizing locally native plants in my landscapes...if designed and managed in a more "context-appropriate", culturally-acceptable manner.