The Placemakers Academy


Our mission is to guide you on the journey to creating the garden of your dreams.

This course is your road map, we are your guides, the Placemakers Academy students are your fellow travelers, and nature is your co-pilot. Together, we are ready to launch you on your journey to creating the garden of your dreams!


The foundation of a beautiful garden is observation. By observing and interacting with the land, we get to know each other.

By working in relationship with the land, we can make garden designs that flourish, that have harmony and flow, ease of maintenance, and resilience. We begin by asking,

“What will nature allow us to do here, what will nature help us do?” – Wendell Berry


Before we embark for utopia, we need to become familiar with reality! You are going to get a bird’s eye view of your property, so you know exactly what you’re working with.

We know mapping can seem intimidating, but if you can draw a stick figure and use a ruler, you can map!


Now that you have a bird’s eye view of your property, we’re getting elemental.

What are the elements that shape your land, that make it unique?  How will they interact with your design?

We’ll show you how to work with these elements in- Sun, Wind, Slopes, & Soil.



Now that you have observed, analyzed, mapped, and learned all about the elements- you can write your garden wish list.

This is where you get to truly envision your dream garden.

There are no wrong answers here, so let your imagination run wild ad hav some fun!


Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Those amazing allies we gardeners are so in love with- Plants.

We’ll show you how the pros think about plants– how they simplify and organize the plants they want to use in a design and how to make them flourish!


Welcome to the heart of this course, and Mary Palmer Dargan’s specialty- Design. In this module, you will learn how to design like the pros. Mary Palmer will share with you the secrets of the trade, so you can make your garden a work of art.

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” – Claude Monet


Now that you are fully equipped with everything you need to know to create an incredible design, we are going to dive into specific elements you might want to include in your final ‘Master Plan’.

It’s time to find that wish list…



It’s time to create the garden of your dreams! So take all that you’ve learned in stride, and set your inner child free- it’s time to have some fun. 

You’ll learn tricks for the garden designer’s creative process to get you in the flow!

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau


All that you’ve learned, and all that you’ve created is coming together to make your ‘Master Plan’. Cue the evil laugh!

So let’s get that master plan onto paper so you can share it with your talent.

Whether your talent is a team of contractors or just you and your hubby, we’ve got you covered.


You’ve made it to the finish line, it’s time to bring your garden design to life.

We’ll talk getting it done the right way- preparing your site, finding plants, talent, and the like.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”  – Voltaire

There are places where the wild meets the observer, where the lines between human and nature fade… there live the Placemakers.

Placemakers are those with the vision and gumption to create spaces that leave an indelible impression on us- places that nourish, cultivate community, and inspire. Places for us to gather, to celebrate, to heal, and to dream. So are you ready for the challenge?

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