Women in landscape: Jessi Burg Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, January 10, 2022 01:00 AM

Colorado Green NowAfter college, when Jessi Burg (president, Outgrow Your Garage Inc. and former CEO, Pears to Perennials) moved to Colorado, she worked in urban farming and was developing pollinator habitats. In 2017, when she started her own urban gardening company, it quickly segued into a sustainable landscaping company doing full-yard maintenance. Pears to Perennials was doing design, install, maintenance and irrigation work. Burg wanted to own a company in the seasonal green industry so she could largely set her own hours, have a few months every year where she can work remotely or not at all, and do nearly all of her work outside. With her own business she says, “I get paid to do things I love and I’m building a savings account.”

Burg sold Pears to Perennials and started Outgrow Your Garage in mid-2021. Her new venture will support business development for new trade and services companies by using short, bite-size learning segments (5-20 minutes) and other resources that can be accessed anywhere from a phone or computer. 

Her thoughts on her career experience:

Gender disparity

In the transition from urban farming—where I was used to seeing women in supervisory roles—to the more traditional landscape industry, I saw a huge “gender swap” and it was an eye-opener. I’ve had clients flat out tell me that if I had more men on my staff, my estimate wouldn’t be so high. And at a trade show, one vendor in particular has ignored me unless I had a male staff with me, so I don’t buy their products. Aside from these few incidents of sexism, I’m getting used to being the only women in the room at times. Our company has around 50% female staff. ALCC has been a resource for allowing my voice to be heard in the industry, and I’ve been able to build connections with our nurseries and other landscape business owners. More often than not, my interactions with others—as a woman in the green industry—have been positive.


During my years in urban farming and landscaping, most mentors have been men. Over the last few years, I’ve been seeking out women-only groups as a counterpoint to my industry networking, and I’ve picked up some great tips and tricks that way.


Have tough skin. There will be people who think you can’t do it or your methods are wrong. So do your own thing. But have excellent client communication, because that’ll get you more business than anything else, and most people won’t pay attention to your gender.

Benefits of women in industry

If hiring is limited by gender or by industry, you miss out. My current operations manager is a woman, and she’s the most organized person in my entire organization. I hired her out of the restaurant industry at the beginning of COVID. Being a restaurant manager gave her the skills to manage a zillion juggling pieces, and she has a degree in botany. I wouldn’t have found her if I hadn’t been willing to hire outside the industry. Having women in landscaping matters because it leads the way to creating a better work-life balance in the industry as a whole. If one person needs to go home to their kids, it’s likely someone else does too. Organizations that haven’t thought about that before are more likely to do so when they have multiple staff members asking for it. Women-owned businesses sometimes build that in as a matter of course, so it bleeds into the overall culture. Our emphasis on a work-life balance and self-care has contributed to extremely low staff turnover.

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