Featured Professionals

Stephanie Sanford
Belknap Landscape Co., Inc.
Gilford, NH

Stephanie is the Landscape Designer at Belknap Landscape Co., Inc. out of Gilford, N.H. and also does waterfront permitting. BLC is a full service, year-round company of land care professionals specializing in residential waterfront properties in the Lakes Region.

Stephanie has a BBA in finance and after many years in the field, decided she did not want to be in an office for the rest of her life and wanted to find out how serious her passion for gardening and landscaping really was. So she quit her job and dropped out of the MBA program she was in and started working as an assistant to two designers at a firm in Memphis, TN. She fell in love with everything about the landscaping industry and knew that she had made a good decision, even though it wasn't quite paying the bills at first. A few years later she realized that she really had to progress her education to the next level if she wanted to truly commit professionally to the landscaping field.

So she started looking all around the country for programs to find the best fit. She found it in Western Massachusetts at a very small school called the Conway School of Landscape Design where she received her M.A. After school she decided to stay in the Northeast and accepted a job with BLC.

Stephanie realized it was crucial to really increase her plant palette. One day the NHLA  Newsletter was circulating the office and she noticed that NHLA was offering a plant identification class for the summer at The Thompson School at UNH. She couldn't sign up fast enough.

Realizing that half of the NHCLP exam was passing the plant ID exam, she knew that she wanted to follow through to receive my NHCLP. In addition, not being from New Hampshire, she felt a strong responsibility to became aware of the best management practices of the New Hampshire landscape industry, and NHLA was the means to accomplish that. Stephanie says, "I honestly think that if you are going to work in this industry, it is imperative to be a member of NHLA and an honor to be a NHCLP."

She continues, "It was a little overwhelming the first day of class for the plant identification course, thinking I had to learn over 300 plants in 13 weeks. Dana Sansom, who has put this course together and teaches it wonderfully, is so incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about all the plant material, that you can't help but find it easy and fun to learn from her. The best way I found to study and learn was to take a digital camera and snap two pictures, one of the plant itself showing form and a second showing the leaf. And of course listening to Dana. I found that I retained more information by not trying to write everything down that she was saying, but rather listening to her and looking at the plant itself."