Milwaukee Edition

Landscaping Company Rooted in Sustainable Practices

David Fischer and Mike Herrenbruck, co-owners of Eco Harmony Landscape & Design, LLC, met while enrolled in the horticultural program at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). During childhood, they each had an appreciation of the outdoors. While growing up in Wauwatosa, Fischer spent time camping and hiking. Herrenbruck, who was raised in Port Washington when the area was still mostly rural, frequently played outdoors.

While the two took divergent paths to get there, they ended up sharing many classes at MATC and became good friends. In 2008, both achieved their Associate of Applied Science degrees in horticulture. After graduation, Fischer moved to Hawaii for six months, where he worked and lived on a permaculture farm. Herrenbruck worked for a landscaping company, and when he heard that Fischer was return ing to Milwaukee, he invited his friend to work with him. The men began exchanging ideas about starting their own business, and in late 2010, struck out on their own to form Eco Harmony.

Beginning with one pickup truck and a wheelbarrow, Eco Harmony has grown into a full service landscape company with seven employees. Environmentally sustainable landscaping is a large component of the business, and Herrenbruck says they’re one of the few specializing in environmentally conscious services. They offer design-and-build consultations where they choose native plants, natural stone and water management options such as natural-looking rain gardens and placement of rain barrels.

“With any project we do, we try to incorporate dealing with water on-site,” Fischer explains. “One of the major contributors of water pollution is storm water runoff, which goes into the rivers and eventually, into Lake Michigan. Effectively dealing with water on each individual property helps the greater good in reducing the water runoff.”

Both Fischer and Herrenbruck in corporate education into their approach to landscaping. While a sprawling green lawn may look luxurious, it requires much mowing and fertilizing, which in creases pollution. But native plants such as purple cone flower, columbine, blue flag iris, black-eyed Susan and milkweed attract butterflies and birds.

Herrenbruck cites as an example a yard where they planted a combination of 75 percent native plants to 25 percent non-native. “That season, the amount of butterflies in her yard was unbelievable,” he recalls. “It’s rewarding to pay attention to wildlife engaging with plants and see how the plants have something to give back.”

Eco Harmony sources the majority of its plants and materials from local nurseries, greenhouses and quarries. They also offer permeable pavers that allow water to seep through and be diverted to desired areas.

Eco Harmony belongs to several landscaping organizations and shares communal office space with Hoppe Tree Service and its offshoot business, Urban Wood Lab, which mills fallen trees for buildings and tables instead of chipping or chopping them for fire wood. Fischer and Herrenbruck enjoy belonging to a group of businesses that are like-minded in their goal of sustainability.

Fischer feels rewarded by trans forming backyards and outdoor spaces into living environments. He also feels good about providing jobs for people and keeping dollars in the Wisconsin economy by working with local suppliers. “I like being a positive business and generating work for people,” he says. “Hopefully, by doing all of these things, we can make a difference.”

Herrenbruck stays inspired by nature. “I’m a huge advocate for design. You don’t build a house without a plan. Look at nature; there’s rhyme and reason for everything that happens, and I’m charged by the intricacy of how it all works. You can’t really replicate it, but you can add to it and engage in your environment.”

Eco Harmony Landscape & Design, LLC, is located at 6117 W. Bluemound Rd., in Milwaukee. For more information, call 414-627-5858 or 414-810-5858 or visit EcoHarmonyLandscaping.com.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings of Milwaukee. Connect at SJulson@wi.rr.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

New Musical Yoga Studio Opening in Shorewood

Sacred Sound Yoga, a unique musical studio opening in October, will hold yoga classes that include sacred sound healing and beautiful original music played by owner Rosie Rain and her friends.

Santosha Yoga & Ayurveda Welcomes Swami Yatidharmananda

In September, Swami Yatidharmananda will travel from India to appear at Santosha Yoga & Ayurveda, in Delafield, to teach his unique practices of mindfulness, meditation and living a spiritual life of devotion.

Enjoy Free Yoga at Rise Yoga Studio’s Open House

Rise Yoga Studio is celebrating one year in Mequon with an open house from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., September 15.

Experience the Plant-Based Lifestyle at Vegan Sol Food & Drink Expo

The Vegan Sol Food & Drink Expo, an event celebrating all aspects of vegan lifestyles, takes place 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 22 at Nicolet High School, in Glendale.

School of Sound and Healing Fall Certification Program

Angel Light Center for the Healing Arts, a resource for health, healing and spiritual development, begins its School of Sound and Healing fall certification program November 2 through 4, in Elm Grove.

Heal the Past and Enjoy Present Happiness Through Mindfulness Workshop

On Wednesdays from October 17 through December 12, psychologist Susan Trafton will lead an eight-week class—Engage the Body, Open the Heart, Heal the Mind—at GreenSquare Integrative Health Care Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Natural Health Services Welcomes New Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Mary Simon, a naturopathic doctor, is now accepting patients at Natural Health Services, located on Milwaukee’s East Side.

Open the Heart at 
Midwest Yoga and Kirtan Fest

Kirtan—call-and-response chants set to music—began in India centuries ago as a spiritual practice and a layman’s way to connect with the divine.

Letter from Publisher

Natural Awakenings is just one of many publications delivering cutting-edge information about natural, noninvasive, non-pharmaceutical health remedies presented by health and wellness advocates, scientists and researchers.

Dirt Houses Cancer-Protective Microbe

Soil contains bacteria that kills melanoma cancer cells, say Oregon State University researchers.

Doctors Underestimate Opioid Prescriptions

A survey of 109 emergency room doctors found they frequently underestimated how often they prescribed opioids and that they prescribed fewer when alerted to the situation.

Asthma Less Likely to Afflict Breastfed Kids

Dutch children that had been breastfed had a 45 percent lower incidence of asthma later in childhood.