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From the Ground Up

With an international education in sustainability, a passion for healthy soil, and deep awareness of the island’s fragile environment, a young designer helps nourish Martha’s Vineyard’s future.

Photo by Christine Sargologos

Tara Gayle may live and work on an island that is just 20 miles long, but this Martha’s Vineyard landscape designer’s vision has been shaped by knowledge and training gained in countries oceans away. 

Gayle, the owner of Gayle Gardens Landscape Design, has worked and studied in Italy and Holland with some of the best-known experts on permaculture, defined as the practice of installing agricultural ecosystems created in a self-sufficient and sustainable way, with synergetic concepts based on plant diversity, resilience, natural productivity, and sustainability. 

Gayle is also a designer for the United Designers organization, an intercontinental team of professionals who are regenerating large ecosystems in such places as Egypt, Hawaii, Portugal, and the Sinai. On the Vineyard, she is one of the youngest members on the board of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, a respected local land trust. 

Yet, this Vineyarder, who frequently thinks in terms of worldwide ecosystems, is a studious, down to earth designer who pays attention to the smallest detail of every project she takes on—right down to protecting the very worms in the soil that she is trying so hard to beautify and sustain. 

From her first Vineyard job working for a West Tisbury gardening company, Gayle knew she had found her calling. “I knew from the very start that I loved working outdoors creating beautiful spaces for people,” says Gayle. “Once I started my own company in 2014, I loved combining the beauty of landscaping with my belief in the importance of honoring the Vineyard’s fragile ecosystem. From the start, I put my heart into every project.” 

There is an earnest, academic, almost scientific bent to Gayle… 

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