Home Depot IT build marks Master Gardener’s 300th home

Master Gardeners, a team of landscape professionals who have been creating curb appeal landscaping for new Atlanta Habitat homeowners for nearly a decade, celebrated their 300th yard, August 12, 2017 at the southwest Atlanta home of Melise Pitts.

Master Gardeners partner with Atlanta Habitat to lead volunteers in creating beautiful landscapes to compliment every newly constructed Atlanta Habitat home.  An important principle for Master Gardeners is the “right plant, right place;” therefore, before the gardening starts, Master Gardeners make certain that the shrubs, grass and trees that are planted can thrive. Atlanta Habitat homeowners can choose the color of plants in their landscape; however, the greenery depends on the climate and soil. So far, Master Gardeners have installed about six acres of sod in 300 Atlanta Habitat yards, equal to about 300,000 square feet. That’s a whole lot of landscaping and it requires teamwork and sweat.

As for sweat, that’s where Melise and the Home Depot IT volunteers step in to help. Atlanta Habitat’s new homeowners are required to put in 250 sweat-equity hours as part of their homeownership commitment. Melise helped to landscape her home and learned about the plants that work best for her new yard. Master Gardeners work closely with the Atlanta Habitat homeowner. Alan Olszewski, president of Master Gardeners says, “We provide awareness and encourage people to be more curious about what’s growing around them and to be good stewards of the environment.”

This awareness not only impacts the homeowners, but the volunteers as well.  For eight Saturdays, Home Depot IT volunteers worked alongside Melise— from wall framing to putting the finishing touches on her new yard. She expressed her gratitude to her house sponsor, the Home Depot IT Department, the Master Gardeners, and other volunteers by singing a verse from the hymn, “Thank you Lord.” Melise says she is grateful for her journey to becoming a new Atlanta Habitat homeowner and learning how to care for her very own lawn that defines her home: “I now have a respectable, decent and beautiful place for my children to live.”