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How Jenn Nawada Became a Landscape Designer

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada explains how she found her trade and how she ended up on the team at Ask This Old House.

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada tells us how she got started in her trade. Knowing that she wanted to make the natural world her office, she went back to school and achieved a master’s degree in landscape design. After getting her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, she began teaching outdoor education at a farm in Vermont.

Landscape design wasn’t always Jenn Nawada’s plan. After getting her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, she began teaching outdoor education at a farm in Vermont. She enjoyed teaching children skills like how to milk cows or what mountain run-off was, and she knew she wanted the natural world to be her office. However, she did feel like she needed more.

To help find that missing piece, Jenn went back to college and received her master’s degree. But, she found it hard to land a design job without experience, so she worked her way up from the bottom at a nursery. After learning the plants and their bloom cycles and retrieving them from the fields, she worked her way onto the design team and began designing construction sites. After learning as much as possible from the folks around her, Jenn moved to a larger design firm and started taking on bigger projects.

Years later, Jenn had a family and boss on the verge of retirement. Realizing she had the skills and designs to make it independently, she started her own landscape design business. Through this company, she first appeared on a few episodes of This Old House in 2011, and the reason she joined the Ask This Old House team in 2015.

Jenn has passions other than landscape design as well. She enjoys traveling and pottery, though she admits she hasn’t had much time for it recently. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and Bernese Mountain Dog (he even accompanies her on most of her workdays).