in the Landscape Industry

Joelle entered the landscape industry in 1979, and worked for and was self-employed as an interior/exterior landscape and floral designer until 2010. In 1983, she simultaneously founded several other highly diversified businesses for the landscape industry, including Plantscaper's Referral Service (1983-1984) and Independent QC Services (1983-1984), both of which serviced eight counties in California and were sold within two years. She also consulted to interior and exterior landscape companies (1983-1997) and photographed portfolios for landscapers (1985-1997). She spoke and lectured extensively at conferences and in private venues on horticultural topics as well as the business aspects of the trade (1984-1994); spoke at Career Days at UCLA (1981-1984); was an instructor and coordinator of the Interior Landscape extension program at UC Riverside (1985-1988); guest-lectured at horticulture classes and taught landscape design through adult education programs at several community colleges and universities in southern California (1983-1997); substitute-taught the interior landscape and floral design course (2008) at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington; and taught landscape design and gardening classes (2006-2016) through extended education programs at several local colleges in three counties in Washington state.

Photo of Joelle Steele speaking  in Mountain View, California

Joelle Steele presenting a workshop hosted by Planter Technology (now Tournesol Siteworks) at their former location in Mountain View, CA.

Joelle founded Hortica Publications (1983-2014), Manzanita Books (1983-2009), New Leaf Press IPG (1983-1994), and Many Hats Publications (1983-2016) and began writing, editing, and publishing books (1985-pres.) and audiocassette tapes (1985-1991), as well as two internationally-circulated monthly periodicals: The New Leaf Press for interiorscapers (1984-1994) and Landscape Pro for landscape contractors (1983-1994). She was one of the first in the industry to publish the findings of Bill Wolverton's plants for clean air studies (1984), and she also interviewed and wrote stories about Wolverton and many of the early and renowned pioneers in the horticultural industry — including Alfred Byrd Graf, Julius Roehrs, and Robert Herrick Carter — which she published in The New Leaf Press. In 1983, she wrote 34 different contracts for the green industry and sold them as 3-part NCR forms, first through ads in her periodicals (1983-1994), then through her website (1992-2002), and finally as customizable Word docs via her website (2002-pres.). She edited and SEO'd web content and created website startup templates for interior/exterior landscapers (1997-2009), and she wrote books for the industry, several of which are regularly updated in print and ebook formats, including the customizable Human Resources Manual (1987-pres.), Get the Job and Make A Profit (1985-pres.), How to Start Your Own Interior Landscape Business (1986-pres.), Interior Landscape Dictionary (1992-pres., English and Spanish Editions), and the best-selling Plantscapers Guide (2005-pres., English and Spanish editions).

Early cover of Newsletter for InteriorscapersLater cover of New Leaf Press magazine for interiorscapers

In addition to her own publishing ventures, Joelle wrote advice columns and feature articles (1983-1997) for horticulture and gardening magazines such as Interior Landscape Magazine, Pro Magazine, Interiorscape Newsletter, California Landscape, GrowerTalks, GrowingEDGE, HousePlant Magazine, Landscape Ontario, Herb Quarterly, Landscape Contractor Review, Horticulture Review, and Canadian Gardening. She also had articles published on landscape- and contracting-related topics in such publications as Shopping Center World, The Docket, Michigan Lawyer's Weekly, Service Business, Property Management, Small Business News, and Cleaning Business. In addition, she authored a chapter in A New Look At Houseplants (1993) and wrote articles and did illustrations for the Interior Plantscaper newsletter (1988-1995). She republished many of her older articles and her Q&A advice columns on her website (1992-pres.). She also created and sells her botanical clip art collection (1992-pres.).

Photo of Joelle Steele speaking at the University of California, Riverside, California

Joelle Steele speaking about the business of interior landscaping at the University of California, Riverside, CA.

Joelle has a Bachelor's Degree in Language Arts (a double major in English and Linguistics), and Vocational Certificates in Ornamental Horticulture and Interior Design (with emphases in /Space Planning and Color.