University of Idaho Extension

Sharon Buckle, Twin Falls

Becoming a Sustainable Landscape Pro:

When former computer consultant Sharon Buckle’s job was outsourced, it was time to seize the day—and her dream of starting her own landscape-design business in the Twin Falls area. “Once I decided that I could do it, the next step was to go back and get all of the education that was offered in my area.”

Among the classes that she took, Buckle calls the Master Gardener program “the single most beneficial one. It covered every aspect of gardening and it was a very good use of my time: every class was well presented, well organized, and helpful.”

Indeed, her Master Gardener education was so comprehensive that Buckle now uses her Master Gardener handbook and handouts when advising the clients of Sunrise Landscape Design. She describes her business as “broad-based”—everything from new construction to renovations to simply selecting replacement trees—which ensures that Buckle is forever learning.

“Because each project is really different, I find myself doing a lot of research, so it’s helpful to have the University of Idaho’s information as reference and as kind of my backup experts,” she says. “The hierarchy of diagnostic tools you get is extremely useful: you learn a comprehensive way of looking at a problem and finding a probable cause.”

Buckle also uses her Master Gardener training to advise and encourage clients who express interest in more sustainable approaches to landscaping. “Talking with them about their options is part of the education I provide,” she says. “They don’t really realize what an extensive list of drought-tolerant plants you can show them and how making small changes in their gardening practices can help them reduce pesticide use.”