By inviting nature into our own backyards and learning skills that help us slow down and connect, we can become happier and healthier people.

I’m Melissa Keyser, one-woman show behind Sweet Bee Garden. When I grew up, I wanted to be a mermaid. Obviously, that didn’t pan out. Instead, I’m a naturalist turned landscape designer, urban homesteader, and writer.

I design home landscapes that nurture both the environment and its urban residents and I teach skills that encourage simple, sustainable living. 



John Muir once wrote:

WHEN California was wild, it was one sweet bee-garden throughout its entire length, north and south, and all the way across from the snowy Sierra to the ocean.

Obviously, a lot of things have changed since then. It’s not possible for us to return to the land John Muir once knew. Our climate is changing. Every day, acre after acre of wilderness disappears. Our gardens are void of life and require inputs of petroleum and water to look good. Adults and children alike are losing their connection with our natural world and suffer nature deficit disorder. Most of us have lost the knowledge of how to tend the soil, how to grow our own food, and how to work with our hands.

Wild spaces may be shrinking and we no longer engage in land-based work, but nature still exists.

The time has come for us to live by a new set of rules, to help us bring us back into balance and reconnect us with the earth. To live life on purpose, with a purpose. Sometimes, “going back can be the quickest way forwards.” (-C.S. Lewis)

More and more of us are starting to feel the call for simple living, understand the importance of reducing our environmental impact and want to increase self-sufficiency and create resilient communities. We hunger for authentic connections with the land, with nature, and for meaningful experiences.

If you’re one of these people, you’re in the right place!

It’s not necessary for us to move to the middle of nowhere, to only seek nature on far away mountain trips, or to revert back to a little-house-on-the-prairie lifestyle (although I won’t lie, I see the appeal!). 

Imagine having a backyard garden that sings with the sound of with bees and birds. Cooking up freshly picked home-grown veggies for a meal shared with friends. The joy of opening a jar of summer during cold winter days in the form of a home-preserved jar of jam. Sharing the simple pleasures with your children of collecting warm eggs from backyard hens. Experiencing the pride that your garden is resilient to drought from your collected rainwater. 

I can help you achieve this!

Click on one of the links below to learn more about how I can help you!

Landscape Design

Garden Consultations

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More About Me

I grew up on the central coast of California, in the mountains of Santa Cruz. I created a love for the natural world at an early age. My family lived without electricity, and I surrounded by redwoods and only minutes from the beach. My mom is an avid horticulturist, my dad an arborist. Despite my upbringing, it wasn’t until after college and having my own home did I discover my passion for gardening and self-sufficiency.

Growing my own food, cooking from scratch, and undertaking projects myself gave me confidence and I felt like I was actively in charge of my own life. As I became more in tune with the seasons, I strived to also be a good steward of the land- growing organically and gardening not just for me but also for birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife. This lead me to study landscape design and becoming an ecological garden designer.

I share my home with my husband, Matt and our three rescued animals: mutt Stella, tri-pawed cat Gaia, and perpetually annoying black cat Bacon. After a decade of living in Sonoma County, we recently relocated to Sacramento. I am in the process of designing my own urban farm and wildlife garden and turning my 1900 Victorian house into a home. If I’m not working in my own space or helping a client, you’ll find me hiking, reading or cuddling on the couch with one of the cats (but not at the same time, they hate each other). I love cocktails with clear liquor, cheese, and the color purple.

I hold a degree in Environmental Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz and studied horticulture and landscape design at Santa Rosa Junior College.