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Green thumbs getting greener all the time



A local landscaping company takes its connection to nature seriously

TMD Landscapes likes to think of itself as a full service landscaping company, designing, building and maintaining properties all over Whistler – just don’t ask them to cut down any trees.

They don’t do trees.

They also won’t touch chemical herbicides or pesticides. They don’t use leaf blowers either, and are replacing mowers and trimmers with two-stroke engines with four-stroke alternatives that are quieter and produce fewer greenhouse gases. They are even looking into bringing back push mowers for certain jobs.

For the husband and wife team of Tyler Mosher and Tonya Raworth, the owners of TMD Landscapes, the environment is not some intangible concept; they have their fingers in it every day. Sustainability is not all that intangible either.

"It’s easy to think sustainably in this business, because you’re in the dirt all the time," says Mosher. "You’re part of a natural space from the beginning, putting in the soil and the trees and the plants. You’re part of the process, and you become attached to it."

Mosher has a five-year degree in environmental planning from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and is a member of the Planning Institute of B.C. Raworth, who grew up in Whistler, has a diploma in landscape horticulture. Together they have a good understanding of ecology, hydrology, soil chemistry and plant biology. Whenever they don’t know something, they consult the experts – the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s Parks Operation department and municipal horticulture supervisor Paul Beswetherick.

"As far as we’re concerned, they are the top sustainable landscapers in town right now. They are making huge headway in terms of maintenance," Mosher says of the municipality.

"We can call them up and ask them what’s working and what isn’t, and apply that to our clients. They also put together a list of landscape standards last year, and we follow those to the letter."

Most of TMD’s clients have no idea that TMD offers this kind of approach to landscape design and maintenance unless they ask, and Mosher says it will be a while before they can make the claim to be a sustainable company. More people are asking, however, as local architects are embracing green building techniques – landscape design is a large part of the equation.

Socially and economically, Mosher believes the nature of the company is at its roots sustainable – you design and build a landscape area, and then you maintain that space forever. The company employs up to 15 people during the high season, and is active for more than seven months of the year.