South Bay Woman Magazine featuring Inspirational Person Mike Garcia

Meet Mike Garcia

“Inspirational Person of the Month January / February 2010”

 

WE WERE GREEN BEFORE IT WAS COOL

 

South bay based Enviroscape is a landscape contracting firm founded over 30 years ago by Mike Garcia. Mike grew up in Redondo Beach. After graduating from Mira Costa High School, Mike went on to college, where he earned his degree in ornamental horticulture. Mike remembers, “My father died when I was only two years old and my mother never remarried, so, my sister and I were raised by a very strong woman who worked hard and taught us that success does not go to those with “luck”, rather, success is 99.9% hard work and perhaps, 0.9% luck. My mother taught us strong family values and hard work ethics. She worked at a horticultural establishment in Torrance and I remember working there as a kid in the 1960’s, planting and fertilizing plants and as I got older, driving tractors in the 1970’s (before I had a drivers license). I had the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, mowing neighbor’s lawns at 14 years old. I seemed to have a natural knack for the outdoors and pursued horticulture in college.” He went on to earn his landscape, as well as his tree service contractor’s license. His expertise at building waterfalls has led to his becoming one of only 8 internationally certified pond builders in the world. Under his leadership, Enviroscape has won numerous awards at the local, state, national and international levels. His work has been features in numerous magazines and on television.Aside from work, Mike serves in a volunteer capacity on several boards of Directorships. These include serving as a past president and current PR Chair for the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA), Growing Great, Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden, International Professional Pond Contractor Association and South Bay Family Heath Care. Mike is also the founder of the South Bay Water Wise Garden Tour. He’s a member of the local environmental group V.O.I.C.E and advises the beach cities on adopting water saving technologies in the landscape.

How does one person sustain his energy to keep up with the demands of running a business and serve others in such a capacity? Mike starts his day at 4:00 a.m. every day. He works out, get focused for the day. He drinks 3 liters of “Green” drink to energize his body. He’s also a vegan and is a veteran runner who has completed over 50 full marathons. Mike believes it’s important to stay fit and more importantly, to stay healthy. Diet is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. More importantly, Mike feeds his mind on the pure, positive and the powerful. He listens to motivational CD’s and has a spiritual side as well. Mike’s has given much thought to the purpose of life and feels that his purpose in life is to serve God and every person he has the privilege to touch each day by being a loving, fun, outrageous, passionate, generous, loving, strong, courageous, powerful example of the possibilities God gives when you commit your life to serve and focus on contribution. For Mike, making a positive difference in the lives of others is what life is all about. Mike’s belief is that all humans have 6 basic needs, the need for Certainty, Uncertainty (or variety), Significance, Love, Growth and Contribution. All human motivation is based on what a person perceives as their highest need, and act accordingly. If your highest need is certainty, you will take the necessary steps to manifest this into your life, such as securing the highest paid job possible to accommodate the certainty (security) need. The most fulfilling emotions in life come from a life of service and contribution. You can reprogram your brain to accommodate growth, contribution and love in your life, as these are the highest of aspirations which bring the greatest of human fulfillment. Success without fulfillment is failure.
The secret to happiness is love!

Each day is a gift and should not be measured by how many breathes you take, but rather, by how many moments take your breath away! Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. Playing small does not serve the world. Nothing is gained by shrinking, so that others feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. Our degree of happiness is in direct proportion to how much of our light we allow to shine. By doing so, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

“making a positive difference in the lives of others is what life is all about.”

Working from behind the scenes is Mike’s wife Patti Ann. Mike and Patti Ann have been married for over 13 years. Patti Ann helps Mike with managing the office and is a full time minister with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Patti Ann is very involved with animal rescue and networks with other animal lovers to spay stray cats and dogs. They love to travel.

With the recent drought which is affecting much of the United States and especially California (this is California’s worst drought ever), Mike is using his expertise to promote the use of drought tolerant plants and drip irrigation. The water district has given out all the low flow shower heads and toilets that they can. The only thing left and the biggest water wasting offender is the improperly irrigated landscape which, on average, uses up to 70% of a household’s consumption of water. Using drought tolerant plants and drip irrigation can result in a water savings of over 60 percent of landscape water usage. Mike has been promoting drought tolerant plants and water efficient irrigation before the drought. The Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden(MBBG) might be taken for granted by some, but not Mike. He has been on board with the Garden from day one. He remembers when the Garden was just a piece of paper, more than 15 years ago. Through his, and the perseverance of his fellow board members, the Garden became a reality over 10 years ago. Unlike other botanical gardens, what make the MBBG unique is it’s usage of native / drought tolerant plants. Homeowners can visit the garden and take photos to see how these would look in their yard. It’s amazing how much interest the public has shown the garden in recent months, this due to the drought crisis. His biggest concern right now is seeing that the public become more informed about drip irrigation to lawns. This methodology of watering the lawn saves a homeowner about 70% of their water bill for a lawn. This translates to a savings of thousands of gallons A MONTH. This is a huge savings and will make a huge difference to our environment if we all pitch in and do our part!

Another organization near Mike’s heart is Growing Great. This is an organization which brings organic, water saving gardens to elementary schools. Once a crop is harvested, the harvest is sold at the farmers market, where monies obtained are returned to the program, making it a sustainable program. Growing Great was recently interviewed on CNN, showing the difference a garden can make to elementary aged children. The reason Growing Great is so closely aligned with Mike’s mission statement is that the Growing Great curriculum also teaches kids about nutrition and eating healthy, which makes for a healthy body, which is a core belief of Mike. Mike is married to Patti Ann and has no children, so he has “adopted” all the kids of the South Bay. He spends much time with elementary schools, teaching kids about waterwise plants and how to love our environment. At his Redondo Beach home, he has 8 chickens, 3 rabbits, about 80 Koi fish, 3 cats, a tortoise named “Winky” and a Pekinese dog named “Kiwee”.


Mike’s work on behalf of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) has resulted in huge water savings. Mike has helped partner the CLCA and local water districts to create a synergy where more people are made aware of the impending drought crisis.Sustainability is a word which is becoming more and more heard throughout the news and in books and magazines. What is Sustainability? Back in 1987, a United Nations commission defined sustainability as that which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In a nutshell, this means living today without borrowing from tomorrow. Rather than viewing his company as a landscape company, Mike likes to think he is in the business of building paradise, one yard at a time. In his unique role as a paradise builder, he is in a position to steer homeowners and municipalities toward creating environments where human activity meets the natural world. His aim is to dazzle the senses and soothe the soul, while at the same time minimizing the carbon footprint. Some examples of his unique way of landscaping include:

• Energy efficient pumps for water features.
• Organic based fertilizers.
• Native / drought tolerant plants.
• Drip irrigation, which eliminates water runoff and
reduces water usage by over 60%.
• Newspapers used under bark mulch, reducing
weed problems.
• Fertigation (automatic fertilizer injection systems)

A new product to the west coast is Flexi-Pave, a porous pavement which is made of recycled used tires. Mike flew out to Florida to become the west coast’s only installer of this totally sustainable product, which keeps used tires out of landfills and reuses them for walking and driving surfaces.

Some of his more high profile jobs include the waterfall exhibit at the California Science Museum in downtown Los Angeles and his recent installation of a fifty foot waterfall and streambed at the landmark Greystone mansion which is owned by the City of Beverly Hills. Enviroscape is no stranger to Hollywood, as there have been appearances on HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge” and “Extreme Home Makeover” A & E is filming Enviroscape this month for a series on landscaping and Enviroscape will be featured on their “Sustainability” segment, where they will demonstrate how the sustainable garden is built, featuring native/drought tolerant plants, drip irrigation, rain water harvesting, LED lights, newspaper mulch and a FlexiPave driveway.


In his leisure time, Mike loves to write. He’s written numerous articles about the landscape and water features. He has been invited to lead many trade conferences and events, teaching newer contractors how to succeed in their trade and in the business world. He loves to travel and take photos of different parts of the world. Mike intends to continue his drive for sustainability in the South Bay and make a difference in the quality of life for all.