About Resilience Design
Resilience Design is a sustainable landscape design and consulting company based in Portland, Oregon, the traditional lands of Chinookan people.
Founded in 2011, its focus is creating ‘homesteads and habitats’ – multifunctional spaces that serve the needs of people while contributing to the workings of the ecosystems we reside within.
Mulysa Melco is a landscape designer and artist. She has a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a Master of Agriculture in Horticulture degree (focusing on landscape design and garden history) from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She studied at the Istituto d’Arte in Florence, Italy and interned at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in England.
In 2000 I started my own landscape design/build and maintenance company in the Twin Cities called Asylum Design. The name refers to the creation of sanctuary for people and wildlife in an over-built cityscape. We work on over 30 projects that translated spirit of the prairie/savannah ecosystem into multi-functional urban spaces. We also grew native plants and organic veggie starts for our projects, our annual plant sale extravaganza, and our farmer’s market stand at Midtown Public Market.
After moving to Portland, OR, in 2005 I spent five years as coordinator of the Planscaper design program at Dennis’ Seven Dees, a 60-year old family-owned company. My design work there included over 500 projects that addressed a very wide range of landscape themes such as Pacific Northwest native, medicinal, Asian inspired, xeriscape (water-saving), wildlife habitat, tropical, formal European and contemporary.
In 2010 I completed a Permaculture Design Certification course. It changed the way I thought about sustainability and offered many wholistic approaches and decision making tools to help clients move towards ecological (and fun!) solutions to managing their property. Even better, I met so many resourceful and energetic people that are doing inspiring work. I incorporate permaculture principles and conduct ongoing research in my own garden. In fall of 2014 I earned an advanced permaculture certificate in optical surveying at the Siskiyou Permaculture Institute and have continued to deepen my exploration with courses in Advanced Mapping, Optical Surveying and Social Forestry and Permaculture Teacher Training.
The desire to design for the needs of all beings makes the creation of habitat a central component of my work. I am in good company on the landscaper directory of the Backyard Habitat Certification program through the Portland Audubon Society and Columbia Land Trust and on the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Directory. Native plants are multifunctional and critically important to creating high quality habitat so I emphasis their use in my projects while also helping clients make an organic management plan to mitigate invasive weeds on their property.
Wholistic design also requires an awareness of time on a longer scale than what is typically considered in the landscaping industry. Questions such as ‘Who/what was here before your yard was here?’ and ‘What is the capacity of this land?’, ‘What effect will climate change have on this site?’ are central to my work. I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I believe we need to keep asking them. When we approach the land with patience and humility, as kin, our efforts have a better chance of leading to good stewardship.
An understanding of living and working on stolen, sacred land has become central to my practice. As I learn more about the relationship that First peoples have had with this bioregion for time immemorial, I walk more lightly, listen more and ask more questions. It is clear to me that this landscape, its more-than-human people and its human people have been in reciprocal relationship and can be, and that the extent to which settler-colonialism has impacted the community is grievous. It is also clear to me that we all come from ‘people of place’, living in belonging in an ecosystem, however long ago and that belonging and balance is a birthright. How we tend to the land in our stewardship in part determines what happens next.
All of my work is designed to be installed and managed without the use of chemicals. As a member of Sustainable Overlook, a neighborhood sustainability team, I have launched a project to create a neighborhood-wide pesticide free zone to protect our health, water, pollinators and wildlife. Partnering with Metro, we ask neighbors to use safe natural gardening techniques.
View my landscape work, garden projects and botanical adventures on Instagram @resiliencedesign.
Read my top 3 Landscape Design tips.
A portion of sales goes to the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA). Find out about their work and support cultural programming and services for Portland’s diverse Native population at nayapdx.org.
Rewild Portland – Board Member 2019
Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides – Business League Member
Backyard Habitat Certification Program – Landscaper Directory
Sustainable Overlook (Overlook Neighborhood Association) – Steering Committee
Cascade Forest Conservancy
All content Copyright Mulysa Melco 2020