Nathalia is one of Each Green Corner’s landscape designers. She has worked extensively on project site designs and plans for our Living Campus program to meet the educational goals of our program site partners and incorporate EGC’s mission into every site. Her designs include everything from outdoor classrooms to playground gardens. As you can see in the following pictures, when comparing the current site pictures with the proposed site plans, the designed transformation of spaces by Nathalia are extraordinary and ensure that the users will be fully immersed in a garden-centered landscape. 

Nathalia’s Background

Nathalia is a rising junior at the University of California, Davis majoring in Landscape Architecture. 

Within landscape architecture, Nathalia is interested in designing sustainable spaces that are beneficial for the local community and the environment. According to Nathalia, the most rewarding part of designing sustainable spaces comes from incorporating edible landscaping and native plants. Her motivation to include edible landscaping into her designs stems from her passion for nutrition and healthy eating habits which come from her mother who is a nutrition professor. 

At Each Green Corner, Nathalia has enjoyed the opportunity to apply her knowledge to projects in the community. Through EGC she’s been able to expand her knowledge of edible landscaping and learn more about how her landscape designs can directly address food security. She remarks that it’s been “inspiring to see the positive impact EGC’s gardens have on the community.” Because of her background in edible landscaping and sustainable design, she’s been able to apply her knowledge to real-world sites and create wonderful gardens overflowing with edible landscaping for program site users to enjoy. 

Central Middle School

Each Green Corner’s Living Campus program partners with schools and seeks to design garden-centered outdoor educational settings that fit within each school’s educational goals. EGC then assists with the installation, maintenance, and harvesting of produce grown within the gardens for donation to EGC’s food distribution partners. The outdoor classroom area at the Central Middle School Living Campus site designed by Nathalia is a perfect example of EGC’s program at work. It was created to transform a space that is currently unused into an outdoor classroom and fruit garden for intentional and productive outdoor learning. The site administrator provided a wishlist of elements to add to the site such as outdoor classroom furniture and garden beds with fruit-bearing plants based on the learning needs of the site. The final concept plan includes elements like rain barrels to capture rainwater underneath the roof edge for reuse, an outdoor classroom with 6 work tables, a whiteboard, a teacher’s table, a wide variety of fruit plants (citrus dwarf trees, berries, kiwi, and grapes), a honeysuckle trellis archway, and an overarching pergola with kiwi vines to provide shade. 

The particular plant selection for this site was based on two main factors: the site’s pre-existing elements, mainly the chain-link fence, and the theme of the outdoor classroom site which is edible plants. Nathalia wanted to take advantage of the site’s features, so blackberries and grape plants were chosen as they could use the chain-link fence as support for their growth. A similar reason was used when picking the kiwi vines as these grow well on the pergola and the honeysuckle for the trellis. The mandarin and pomegranate dwarf trees were chosen because they grow well in the proposed garden beds and their fruit can be picked and eaten straight off of the vine. 

All of these elements come together to form this functional learning area where kids can learn in a comfortable outdoor environment surrounded by greenery. 

Central Middle School Site currently
Aerial Central Middle School Outdoor Classroom Design Plan

Mariposa Upper Elementary School Lunch Area

At the Mariposa Upper Elementary School Living Campus site, the project’s focus was on elevating the existing lunch area into a multi-purpose space where children could experience hands-on learning through garden involvement. This project site offered a unique design challenge because of the fruit trees on-site that were forgotten about until the site visit. Nathalia took these pre-existing fruit trees into consideration when designing the space. 

The resulting design includes a lunch area with picnic tables and tree benches; an outdoor classroom complete with work benches tables, a whiteboard, and a custom-made work sink; composting and recycling bins; apple, avocado, and clementine fruit trees; and garden beds for the kids to plant vegetables and herbs. These particular trees were chosen to complement the existing apple and persimmon trees on the site as well as the overall theme of edible plants. A nearby oak tree lends shade to the site which naturally creates a more comfortable environment for kids to enjoy while learning outdoors and tending to the garden beds. 

Mariposa Lunch Area currently
Aerial Mariposa Lunch Area Design

Comparing the current project site pictures to their aerial site plan counterparts, it’s clear to see the impact that these spaces will have on the students using them. Through these immersive spaces that Nathalia has designed, kids will be able to fully experience the joys of outdoor learning and hands-on gardening. The thought and intention behind each element of Nathalia’s designs is reflective of EGC’s goal of ensuring that our sites are educational and beautiful resources for the community. 

Written by Nicole Shimizu, Communications and Outreach Coordinator in collaboration with Nathalia Frenhani Burini


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