Zachary Berger Associates, Ltd. is an ecological land use planning and design firm, founded in 1997 and serving all of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Our niche practice seamlessly integrates sustainable land use planning, ecologicial landscape design, conservation + restoration with the people that use these landscapes. Undoubtably, most people have often heard the terms “ecological” and “sustainable” as they have been woven into our collective consciousness in recent years. Although these terms and related design programs are often inadequately defined and implemented, we view ecological awareness as the first step in understanding progressive and beneficial land use. We forged our own sustainable design path from the beginning – long before it became trendy – and we remain optimistic that ecologically-conscious land use design and stewardship becomes a positive trend for the long term.

Our work endeavors to integrate and partner with northeastern ecoregions, which include the Northeastern Highlands, Northeastern Coastal Zone, Acadian Plains and Hills, and Eastern Great Lakes Lowlands. We provide design, consulting and administration for land use, conservation and restoration throughout northern New England. We are experienced in working with challenging environments- mountainside, lakeside and oceanside. Our services include sustainable ecological design for conservation properties and associations; large-scale residential landscape + permaculture master plans; preservation plans for historic natural landscapes; and landscape renovation plans for both urban sites and rural properties

Services: Conservation and habitat restoration plans  ·  ecological land use planning  ·  landscape master plans  ·  permaculture plans  ·  landscape installation management  ·  shoreland permit-related services  ·  land use consulting  ·  and land stewardship programs

Zachary Berger, principal  PDC, AOLCP

Zachary at Starr Lake in the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Zachary’s passion for ecology and natural landscapes began during his formative years rambling around the oak and hickory uplands of the southern Connecticut River Valley.  In his teens, his family moved to the western Maine foothills and lakes region wherein he began his design career, drawing out raised beds with food crop companion plantings on graph paper for the family’s large organic garden and small orchard. After a few years of studying and practicing biological agriculture on small, sustainable farms in Maine and Virginia, Zachary decided to pursue his keen interests in plant science, land planning and garden design. Thus came four years of formal education in horticulture and design at Andrews University and Southern Maine Technical College. He founded the firm after several years of native wetland plant production, ornamental nursery production + sales, volunteer trail conservation stewardship and landscape design-build experience throughout New England. Zachary’s passion for the natural world continues to inform and guide his restorative design approach. 

  • LakeSmart and DEP Certified in Erosion Control Practices
  • Volunteer Trail Adopter for the Appalachian Mountain Club since 2007
  • Hiked nearly 100 of the highest mountains in New England and New York
  • Certified in Permaculture Design from University of New Hampshire (PDC)
  • Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner (AOLCP)
  • New England Nursery Association Young Nursery Professional of the Year
  • Master Gardener since 1993

Some of the non-profit organizations we align with and support

our design + stewardship partners

Ronny Stelly, Sylvatica Design

Ronny on Mt Mansfield, highest point in Vermont

Ronny pursued a degree in the landscape design profession after three years of hobby farming in South Royalton, Vermont. When Hurricane Irene washed his hard work and effort down the White River in year two, Ronny became determined to better understand the intricacies of our built world. After receiving an Associate of Science degree in Landscape and Environmental Design from NHTI in Concord, New Hampshire, Ronny joined Zachary Berger Associates, Ltd. as an associate designer. He has worked with Zachary on dozens of design projects throughout northern New England for almost ten years. Ronny is now a design collaborator and partner on select projects in northern Vermont. He views the landscape design profession as a unique opportunity to alter industry norms while conveying to clients the importance of place.

  • Certified in Permaculture Design from University of New Hampshire
  • A.S. Landscape and Environmental Design
  • Natural Shoreland Erosion Control Certification (NSECC) 
  • Volunteer Steward for Stowe Land Trust

Distinctive Gardening, Inc.

Tagging a recent conservation planting for identification and monitoring

The all-women team working harmoniously as Distinctive Gardening offer a diverse mix of environmental and horticulture educational backgrounds ranging from Environmental Science and Conservation to Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. Holding landscape and environmental degrees and certifications, they hone and employ their organic gardening and land care skills throughout Maine and New Hampshire coastal communties, as well as the New Hampshire Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley. They have installed many of our designs and are conscientious stewards of a wide variety of ornamental, edible and conserved landscapes + gardens.

  • NOFA-Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioners (AOLCP)
  • Landscape, Permaculture + garden designers
  • Installations of conservation/habitat, ornamental and edible gardens
  • Complete organic edible gardens designed, built and maintained
  • Gardens for pollinators, wildlife, domestic animals and their people
Map of New England Ecoregions
Ecoregions of New England

As ecological designers, we are in fact, communicators. We listen and respond to the needs of both the land and our clients as we seek the spirit of each site. We tune in to what exists there – past, present and future.  Where there is beauty, we enhance it. Where there is discord, we create harmony. Our quest for enhancement and harmony starts with learning the unique qualities of each site and continues with the creative convergence of plant guilds, natural forms and people. It culminates with stronger and more resilient relationships to local ecosystems, whether on a small or grand scale.