Landscape Design

Natural ● Sustainable ● Low-Maintenance ● Beautiful

Thank you for your interest in my landscape design services!

My design process is not just about the plants. It is an interactive and educational experience intended to mentor you through the creation of the landscape of your dreams.

Design is just one element in creating a low maintenance, healthy and beautiful landscape.

THE ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL LANDSCAPE:

  1. Thoughtful Design
  2. Healthy Soil
  3. Appropriate Plants
  4. Mulch!
  5. Proper Irrigation
  6. A Weed-Free Start

Of course, this is not everything that needs to be taken into consideration when you put in a landscape. However, without these basic elements, you are setting yourself up for extra maintenance (or even failure) right from the start. Other, important and more-specific elements will surely be considered, depending on your space (for example: erosion control, pest/disease prevention, etc.).

Using science-backed information and personal experience, I can coach you through these elements to help you achieve the landscape of your dreams.

Things I Do

I design flexibly. I can work in any style, and any space! Designs can be as simple & general, or as complex & detailed as you please. Just let me know how I can best be of service. Design maps can be a quick pencil sketch, a beautiful black and white printed plan, a full color map, or a 3-Dimensional interactive landscape.

I can coach you through the elements of a successful landscape. Whether you are installing a landscape yourself, or hiring someone else to prepare and plant it, you will need to understand what is important to create the healthy, low-maintenance, and beautiful landscape of your dreams.

-I can teach you hands-on gardening skills. Need help with pruning? Garden care? Dahlia dividing? Seed starting? Apple tree grafting? Have me out for what is essentially your very own one-on-one gardening workshop. Some have me out for multiple sessions at different times of the year to teach proper garden maintenance. Let me know what you are looking for!

I include you in the process! Some design projects I can take home and complete based on the needs and wants you have expressed to me. Alternatively, designs be completed collaboratively. Depending on how hands-on you want to be, sometimes having your insight and approval combined with my plant and design knowledge in collaboration is more efficient than when I work behind the scenes. This is up to you! To do this, all I need is a table, your time and enthusiasm, and an internet connection. Some of my largest and most complex designs have been created in collaboration with my clients over multiple sessions.

Things I Don’t Do

I don’t make specific irrigation recommendations. You will need a certified irrigation specialist for that.

I don’t install the landscape. You can hire an installation company or do-it-yourself. I can, however, coach you through the best way to do-it-yourself! I can even come out and provide one-on-one and hands-on tutoring as you install the landscape.

I don’t have outside companies that I recommend for services, as I do not like to endorse others’ work besides my own. I do recommend having multiple companies out and comparing bids.
Here is a list of landscaping companies in the industry who have gone out of their way to be members of the Washington State Landscaping Association (select Clark County on the map to see a specific list).
Here is another link to landscapers of Clark County, WA.
You can check out this list as a starting point for irrigation specialists as it provides contact information on those that are properly certified.
The City of Vancouver provides many resources regarding hiring professional tree care providers and arborists. Check out the multiple lists of certified professionals on this webpage.

My recommendations are not meant to replace recommendations, assistance, or consultation from certified third party (engineer, architect, mason, irrigation specialist, hardscaper, contractor, arborist, soil scientist, utility inspector, etc.). A design by me will provide aesthetic suggestions for the installation of plants and particular amenities, but does not seek to replace the certified approval of such professionals.

The Typical Design Process

The typical design process includes an initial consultation. We walk around and talk about your dreams and goals for certain parts of your yard, answer any questions you may have, and determine which of my design offerings and resources are best for you. I provide an estimate of the cost to create the type of design you desire. Often, on this same day of our initial meeting, I take the needed measurements and get started on your design right away.

Please note that I bill by the hour, starting with this initial consultation (one hour minimum). I do not offer free consultations. You can learn about my background here, and my services on this page. If you have additional questions, please contact me before having me out. Contact me for rough pricing estimates and rates prior to having me out. Please have a list of questions prepared for our initial consultations, and you will not be disappointed by the amount of information you will glean!

After the initial consultation, there are two ways the design process can proceed.

One option is for me to go home and complete the agreed upon design work behind the scenes, then follow up with a meeting where we review the design. Some design clients like to go over things, love the design, and feel ready to go at this point. Others like to make slight alterations and customizations, and meet up many times to consider multiple creative possibilities until the design is finalized to their liking.

(Please note that whenever I do work behind the scenes, I will have you sign a short “design agreement.” On this agreement, I state what work I will do, and what I will charge for it. You sign and agree to pay me for the completed work.)

The second option is for us to design together. Depending on how hands-on you want to be, oftentime, having your insight and approval with my plant and design knowledge, in collaboration, is more efficient than when I work behind the scenes. For example, I might know of three plants that would be great in a spot in your yard. Only you can tell me which of the three is your personal favorite! For this reason, collaboration makes for efficiency.
To do this, all I need is a table, your time and enthusiasm, and an internet connection. Some of my largest and most complex designs have been created in collaboration with my clients over multiple sessions.

During a final meeting, the completed design materials are presented along with any additional needed information or resources.

This is how things typically work, but it is a very flexible process. I bill by the hour so I can offer such flexible services to meet your needs.

I design in subjects including but definitely not limited to:

  • Ornamental Gardens
  • Wildlife and Pollinator Gardens
  • Vegetable Gardens
  • Edible Perennial Landscapes
  • Small Farms
  • Permaculture* & Sustainable Landscapes
  • Native Gardens
  • Backyard Restoration Projects
  • Youth Gardens
  • School, Church and Community Gardens*
  • Demonstration Gardens

*Learn more about my background here, which includes an OSU Certification for Permaculture Design, a Certification to Create and Administrate School Gardens through Growing Gardens (organization in Portland, OR) and a Certification through WSU Extension to Create and Mentor in Community Gardens.

There many variations of design amenities that I offer. Desired amenities are often determined at an initial consultation, based on the scale of the landscape and your needs.

Garden-Scale Design Maps

Garden-Scale Landscape Design
Based on a desired theme, style, or aesthetic, a garden-scale landscape design is plant-focused and lays out the plans for a future garden. Mature plant size, bloom and foliage color, winter interest, irrigation, use, style and similar considerations are taken in the design process. Most designs are printed on a sheet of paper that is somewhere between 18×18 inches to 36×36 inches, depending on the size and scale of the design area and detail of the landscape. Small designs are sometimes printed on letter-sized (8.5×11 inch) paper.

There are three options for this map. The most popular option is one I call “Adjustable.” The base map and to-scale grid is created graphically and printed in black and white, and the plant recommendations are added to this map in pencil. The primary benefit of the pencil design is that it is adaptable. If one is installing the design and a quick plant substitution needs to be made, the map can be easily updated and thus remain an accurate representation of the landscape.
A “Black and White” map costs slightly more than the “Adjustable” one. A “Black and White” map is created entirely graphically, and printed in ink. A “Full Color” map is also available at a slightly higher cost.

Here are some examples of pencil plant placement maps. Note that pre-existing structures and plants, main walkways, and a grid overlay are graphically created as a map foundation. Plants are then added in pencil.

Not-To-Scale Landscape Design Sketch

Do you already have some gardening experience, but just want to know what to plant, where? A “not-to-scale sketch” is a great way to receive a quick design recommendation for a small area. Just like a to-scale design, it is based on a desired theme, style, or aesthetic. It is plant-focused and lays out the plans for a future garden. Mature plant size, bloom and foliage color, winter interest, irrigation, use, style and similar considerations are taken in the design process.

These are typically done on letter-sized (8.5×11 inch) paper, and entirely in pencil or a mixture of pencil and pen.

Imaging Services

3-D Interactive Imaging

Imagine being guided through a tacky 3-D computer generated representation of your finished design! Birds chirping, sun shining, water features bubbling, and more. I can create a part, or all, of your landscaping project in a 3-D design program. Through this program we can navigate your landscape, from small gardens, to entire yards.
The purpose is to help us visualize the finished project once the plants are at maturity and everything is in place. This can be incredibly helpful! After all, you want the best possible understanding of the finished product before investing in your new landscape. Three dimensional designs can also be quickly edited and adjusted on the spot, so modifications can be made as we are together during a consultation.

2-D Interactive Imaging

This computer program starts with an uploaded photograph of your current landscape. From there, plants, garden art, rocks, ponds and more can be dragged and dropped onto the picture. This is a quick and effective way of providing a graphic visualization of a design. This can be incredibly helpful! After all, you want the best possible understanding of the finished product before investing in your new landscape. Two dimensional designs can also be quickly edited and adjusted on the spot, so modifications can be made as we are together during a consultation.

Additional Offerings

Plant List (Inspirational)

This list is a tool to provide suggestions for plants that can be used in a specified location. The location is typically small and specific, with a consistent environment. Lists typically contain 5-10 plant options (or another agreed upon number). These plant lists often have agreed upon themes (evergreen, berry-producing, shade-tolerant, etc.). The list includes names of plants that meet the needs of the space.

A plant list is does not make a completed design. It is most helpful for someone who already has gardening experience, as additional details may need to be considered regarding plant placement.

Plant List (Quantitative to Supplement Landscape Design)

As indicated in the name, this is a quantitative list of the plants contained in a finished Landscape Design. This may serve as a shopping list for acquiring the plants needed to complete the landscape design. All landscape design maps come with one.

Project Progression Suggestion List

When a landscaping project seems overwhelming, this project progression suggestion list provides some guidance. The goal of this list is to break down the project into bite-sized steps, with recommendations. A list such as this can make planning easier and lessen intimidation of a landscaping project.

Additional Resources

Book lists- Recommended reading based on a theme.

Plant Identification- Discover the name of that mystery plant in your yard!*

Disease Diagnosis- Often based on resources provided by WSU Extension (or, if unavailable, another credible source). Determine the pest, disease or other affliction that may be causing your plant harm and determine the most appropriate strategy for moving forward (focus is on organic solutions).*

Other- Let me know what additional resource may assist you in your landscape ventures.

(*Note that neither a disease diagnosis nor a plant identification can be 100% guaranteed. While it is a rare case that a plant cannot be identified, or that a plant affliction cannot be determined, nature is indeed capable of brewing up a wonderful foray of exceptions and vague/undeterminable case scenarios).