But their home, which sits on 4 acres on the
The fire had come breathtakingly close however, ripping through their property and destroying the landscape. It also took much of their fence, damaged their water tanks and irrigation system and killed mature bay and pine trees. Fire basically burned the entire perimeter of the house and ravaged 3 of their 4 acres.
The couple felt extremely grateful their home was spared when so many neighbors were not so fortunate. They surmise it might have helped that they have a creek on one side, were careful about mowing and had created "a defensible space" around their home.
Still, their landscape had to be completely redone.
"We filed an insurance claim and collected some money to rebuild the yard. We called a handful of landscape designers thinking we should do it the right way. But everybody was either too busy or exorbitantly expensive,"
She said she was getting estimates of
It was then that the two technology entrepreneurs hit upon a possible solution that in the past eight months has grown into a promising enterprise giving homeowners a lower-cost option for landscape design.
The couple created a web-based design service called Yardzen. Through the new site, people can retain a landscape designer or architect. Using technology and a good database of plants and other information, a designer can create a plan essentially for anyone, anywhere, that is suited specifically to the needs of an individual property owner, whether they live in
"We're both entrepreneurs and we just try to envision solutions to challenges," said Allison, who was part of the founding team of an Internet security company. Husband Adam started LiveWire Electrical Supply.
"Around January we were starting to do our own landscaping and thinking there has got to be an easier and more cost-efficient way to do design. By March we were committed to doing this," Messner said.
They officially launched in late July. Write-ups in
"We've completed more than 150 designs for people all over the world," Messner said.
The couple believe the service could be an option for many people, like them, who lost their landscapes in the fires but have somewhat limited budgets. The cost for a full yard design -- front- and backyards -- is
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