Improve your yard and your life.

DEAR AVANT GARDENER is a free weekly newsletter about how to transform your yard into a sustainable haven. In each weekly column, Avant Gardener Heather Evans draws from the latest research to answer reader questions about how to design, create and manage an ecological garden to nourish birds, butterflies and the soul.

By subscribing, you’ll learn quick, simple ways to make an outdoor space where you and your family will want to spend more time. You’ll get easy-to-apply ideas to attract and sustain birds and butterflies, literally bringing your yard alive. You’ll receive weekly tips to transform a traditional yard into the sort of beautiful, naturalistic landscape that attracts millions to New York City’s Highline.

Smile more, work less.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, DEAR AVANT GARDENER will give you fresh ideas to make awesome outdoor spaces with less labor. Traditional horticulture — even organic gardening — is often not only labor-intensive, but counter-productive. And much gardening advice still promotes these out-of-date practices. DEAR AVANT GARDENER subscribers receive actionable tips distilled from the latest research in entomology, plant community ecology, environmental design, and more.

Save the planet, one plant at a time.

Thinking about replacing some or all of your lawn? Besides being easier, ecological gardening saves water and sequesters more carbon than traditional horticulture — even organic horticulture. Even more importantly, restoring habitat in our yards may be the most effective thing we can do to stop the loss of species from our ecosystem. Subscribe today and start saving the planet (while having more fun than you ever imagined).

About Heather, the Avant Gardener

I was born and raised in New York City, where I raised my four daughters and spent decades creating marketing campaigns and crafting business strategies. I now spend my time visiting gardens, reading about plants, watching webinars by soil scientists — and digging in the dirt in my own gardens in Florida and Rhode Island. I’ve become a Master Gardener and applied my background in analytics and design management to in-depth research into ecological garden design.

I’ve made gardening missteps. Some mistakes, like neglecting to water recent plantings, epitomize "rookie error." Others stem from the preponderance of outdated information from nurseries, garden writers, and landscape professionals. I’ve also been confused by conflicting advice from those experimenting with garden ecology — it’s an evolving practice, after all.

That’s why I started this column: To provide a single source for up-to-date answers on creating awesome, ecologically rich outdoor spaces. While I’ll share my own experience, I’ll also go to the source — to the scientists and ecological gardeners who are breaking ground to create beautiful, life-sustaining environments. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

P.S. If you’re curious about my academic, editorial and business experience, check out my LinkedIn profile.

To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.

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Learn to make your yard more eco, joyful, and easy-care: The art and science of ecological landscaping.


Heather Evans is a master gardener and former marketing executive who's passionate about design and the environment.
Degree in Wildlife Ecology, multiple careers in environmental resources and information technology.
Zoe Evans is CEO of Dear Avant Gardener. Her degrees in neuroscience and translational medicine, plus study of art and somatic trauma treatment, prepared her well for her current career in science-based, ecological landscaping.