Landscape and Garden Design
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Landscape and Garden Design
Horticultural Expert and Irrigation
In the two or three years since a major renovation of our
Berkeley garden, a few large old plants have died and some
of the newer planting hasn't worked out. We're looking for
someone who knows plants well and works in varied styles to
help us choose some new trees and other plants and integrate
them into our garden. It would be a bonus if this person can
help with installation. We are not looking to change the
hardscape. Also, we are unhappy with the new irrigation
system. Some plants get too little water while others (and
the hardscape) get too much. We've made some adjustments,
but it's still not good enough. So we're seeking
recommendations for a plant-savvy, water-wise irrigation
specialist. Thanks! cassis
I highly recommend Martina Ladova of Bohemian Roots
Design/Build firstname.lastname@example.org(510) 717-2236. She
completely redesigned my back garden and installed an arbor,
irrigation, lots and lots of plants and built planters as
well. I get so many compliments now from everyone who comes
over. She really has an amazing eye for design. She has a
wealth of information on which plants work well locally, and
she likes to pick out unusual varieties to make the garden
more interesting. She's got several decades of experience in
the local area. She also continues to maintain the garden
after installation was complete, and is reasonably priced.
We had our backyard redone this spring from fence to
flagstones and everything in between. I highly recoomend the
people we worked with and their subcontractors: McCaffrey
Brothers Construction, Darren and Kevin -
website:www.mccaffreybrothers.com Darren #(510) 455-0724
Also, their planting and irrigation guys were Indra
Designs-Tony Poeck - www.indradesignsinc.com. We now have a
smart system that monitors weather as well as ground
moisture. After fine tuning our choices over a few weeks,
all the major work was done in 10 days and we are thrilled.
For our redwood fencing we got JB Fence Co. to do the job
(this was done last fall) and that is all they do -
http://www.jbfence.com (510) 339-6371 Sales: Matt Julian .
Very good crew. Good luck, happy in my garden oasis. judy
Front lawn needs help!
12 years ago we put sod/grass with a sprinkler system in our
small front lawn, and it is now dying. We need
recommendations for someone who can tell us what our options
are for either fixing it, replacing it, or coming up with an
option other than grass. We do not use this area; it exists
purely for curb appeal, so we're open to a world of
LOW-COST, low-maintenance options, but need professional
There have been so many people looking for landscapers
recently... look no farther than Urban Botanics. Check them
out on Yelp, Facebook, or their website (just google them)
for pictures. You will be amazed! They are professional,
reliable, efficient, and on the cheaper end. I used them to
completely re-do my backyard and it came out beautifully.
This was my first big project as a homeowner, so I was
pretty anxious about it and pretty clueless, too, but they
handled everything from soup to nuts and stayed within my
budget. It was completely hassle-free for me and I am
thrilled with the result. They work all over the Bay Area
and they are just terrific at what they do. Definitely give
them a call (415-734-1030)or shoot them an email. backyard
Landscape contractor for permeable pavers
I'm replacing the old concrete in my driveway with permeable
concrete pavers. I'm pretty confident in the installation
details but I'd like an installer familiar with this type of
system. It seems like most companies that specialize in
pavers are used to much larger jobs--this is a tiny area the
size of one car, but I could include rebuilding the low
concrete planter walls on either side too. Recommendations
appreciated, especially if you've had experience yourself
with this material. toshi
I highly, highly recommend Jose Zamora of Zamora Landscape.
I have worked with him on three projects and my landscape
design colleagues use him as their contractor of choice for
He is working on my house at the moment, and it looks
amazing. Among many other things, we are putting in pavers
in the driveway. He has installed the same pavers but they
are permeable on another job- they just have a gap in
between for drainage and a permeable base. Both
installations are beautiful.
Jose is not only a small licensed business owner, but also a
Cal grad- so he knows design, he knows plants, and he knows
Zamora Landscape Design
PO Box 2756
San Rafael CA 94912
I think Matt Hornby would be perfect for the job you are
doing. He is a garden designer (actually landscape
architect)whose specialty is stonework. He has done some
great work on my garden - design, pavers, carpentry - and is
very reasonable. http://www.matthornbygardendesign.com Rain
Landscaping/Constructing A Backyard
My husband and I are looking for someone who can help us
visualize and build a backyard on a sloping- downward hill
filled with ivy. We are looking for a reasonably
priced/skilled landscaper and/or contractor that could help
us look at our options and perhaps implement one of them
this spring. Can anyone in the BPN community recommend
someone? Thank you so much! Judy
I'd like to recommend Alejandro from AOG Landscaping in
Berkeley- I've been really happy with his work, reasonably
priced and full of good ideas- also, willing to work with my
particular requests, even when I change my mind!
Alejandro 510 517 0329
Call Brother Perry! He has been terrific in dramatically
revamping our overgrown and irregularly shaped/sloped
backyard- doing dramatic clean-up, helping us to create a
beautiful space that we can feel proud of and that requires
little ongoing maintenance. We have recommended him to
friends and he has done an absolutely terrific job.
He comes out to do an assessment, will talk with you about
options and work with you around what could be done. He
responds quickly via email/text and has a website:
Landscaper for Drought Tolerant Design
I live in North Berkeley and am looking for a
landscaper/hardscaper to do a total redesign of my small
L-shaped backyard. With the drought, I would really prefer
not to have to water at all or to water very little.
(Cactus Jungle in Berkeley has things I like.) I would like
to make use of decomposed granite and concrete pavers and
would like to go for a modern look with clean lines with
some curved concrete seating structures and some low
walls/borders to offset the angular look of the yard. And
a place to have a table for dining. I want someone who has
a modern flair who could help me execute this. Thank you!
It is SO dry and windy, I know why you're thinking about
this! I would see if you can get Wabi.Co Urban Gardens. This
fellow seems particularly 'on' the water thing. He has
installed surface drip for our gardens and we run it
sparingly. Managing the controllers is a thing he is good
about training the owner too. Kathy
I can highly recommend Yard Art, a 2-woman crew of
designer/landscaper who have been in the Bay Area for many
years and have an impressive set of gardens, both big and
small, to their name. They do a lot of low water, native
native plant design that looks great. Not to mention they
are just the kindest, most generous people you could
Carol and DJ (mom and daughter!) proposed a total re-do of
our once unsightly back yard - a large flat space that was
too much for us to consider tearing apart ourselves. They
convinced us of removing most of the lawn (which I was happy
to abide) and replacing it with smaller, more manageable
plantings within a user-friendly design. The outcome was
really wonderful. We now have what feels like a comfortable
extension to our home that includes thriving, colorful
gardens, lower water bills, and a place for us to retreat to
when the weather is cooperative.
They also come by once a quarter to do very reasonable
maintenance and I look forward to seeing them. They are a
joy to work with. Couldn't recommend them more highly.
water-friendly yard owner
I have worked with Sue Oda, Landscape Architect, and found
her to be very easy to work with and very knowledgeable in
native and drought-tolerant plants. A recent project I have
worked with her on is the 'Sacred Hoop Garden' at Northbrae
Community Church in North Berkeley. It is all native
plants, and has many of the elements you have in your
program (decomposed granite pathway, low retaining walls,
curved stone seating.) Howard
Check out www.bay area stone gardens.com. Bill is very well
versed in creating a welcoming outdoor hardscape space that
reduces water usage. Stacy
I recommend Claudio Rohrsetzer.
He is an expert in California Natives and drought tolerant
plants an also knows a lot about drip irrigation. If you
want more information about his work and background, check
his website: http://www.myurbangardener.com Freitas
I highly recommend Carlo Pessano for garden design,
especially because you mention contemporary look, decomposed
granite, and drought tolerant. He is an artist in the
garden. I have used him for years for my own garden and for
houses that I am preparing for market. He can be reached
I had a border of some sort of bushes that would die one
after another due to my lack of regular watering. Then Sue
Oda came over and basically saved the day. Not only did the
replacement plants solve the drought tolerant problem but
the new plants create a much better division between our
property and that of the neighbor. I recommended her to some
people up the street who wanted a major project done and
they were thrilled with her design. Sue is a landscape
architect based in the El Cerrito area. She has a website
which is www.SueOda.com and her phone number is 684 8789.
I need the creative input from our community. My family has
a modest sized backyard that has a few smallish but nice
trees but is mostly a dirt patch. The space is primarily
shaded and refuses to grow grass. I want to make it into
something my family will use, as our home is on the smaller
side, and this area could provide us another space to enjoy.
There is a minor slope to the area and if we level it out,
our fence will look funky. Ideas? Recommendations of an
inexpensive landscape designer? Grateful neighbor
I have a recommendation for you. I have worked with Heidi
Tarver (Berkeley Garden Coach) and I think she would be
perfect for the kind of landscaping challenge you describe.
My garden is also smallish and somewhat shady. Heidi helped
me remove a tired lawn and convert the landscaping to
plantings that were site appropriate as well as beautiful
and functional. We have been really happy with the results.
You can review her services and pricing on her website:
berkeleygardencoach.com. She is very affordable, and great
to work with. M.B.
Peter Gradjansky will help you work within your budget.
He's a great designer and can do the whole job or help you
piece it out to do it yourself. His work speaks for his
skill and integrety. 524-6919. Good luck. June
If anyone can convince you that your tiny backyard has much
more potential than you see in it, its Brother Perry. We
have worked with him to completely overhaul our tiny
backyard in a way that requires little maintenance and still
looks amazing. We were so impressed with his work that we
have recommended him to at least 5 friends where he's done
similar overhauls of their yards. Can lay flagstone patios,
create decking spaces, put down new sod, landscape, etc. He
also does a lot of other home maintenance and repair.
He has a website: www.brotherperry.com and his email address
is brotherperryhome @ gmail.com. yard happy
We contacted UC Berkeley's landscape architecture program,
since students are always looking for experience. A first
year student designed our front and back yards/gardens
(planting plans) earlier this year for $300. Now it's just
up to us to make it happen!
Dean's Office, College of Environmental Design
University of California, Berkeley
230 Wurster Hall #1820
Berkeley, CA 94720-1820
(510) 642-0831 Phone
You mentioned that your backyard is too shady to grow a lawn
and I thought of our experience with eco-lawn. We found
that the shadiest side of the lawn area grew in the lushest
and best, much to our surprise. If you are interested in
having part of your backyard to be lawn, I'd recommend
eco-lawn http://www.eco-lawn.com/ and we got the seed
locally in Richmond at Annie's Annuals and Perrenials (we
got just one bag and have used only a small amount). It
takes much less water than a typical lawn, you don't have to
mow it because it is slow growing and you might like the
long length of the lawn look (we do). We found that it did
take a few seedings to really get a lush lawn, it seemed to
be really helpful to get special soil for seeding grass (we
got that at OSH), and when you plant the seeds you do have
to water it frequently until it starts growing. We really
missed having a part of our yard where we could just plop a
blanket down on a lawn and read a book and are happy with
our new eco-lawn. K
I highly recommend Matt Hornby Garden Design in Berkeley.
www.matthornbygardendesign.com He helped turn my small
backyard into a little sanctuary and his prices are very
reasonable! good luck!
Landscape Designer needed
I'm looking for recommendations for a landscape designer and
or a landscaper who can create a design. Thank you! Amy
I'd like to recommend Cecelia Littlepage for your project.
She's a design-build garden designer and contractor with a
great eye and the ability to put your ideas into a coherent
plan. She also has 30 years of experience so knows what
she's doing. She helped me figure out how to make a garden
out of a big mess of a yard and we love it.
I recently re-designed my front garden, and I can
enthusiastically recommend Heidi Tarver (aka Berkeley Garden
Coach) as a terrific designer to work with. She was
thoughtful, paid attention to what was important to me, and
came up with great solutions for a couple of troubling
challenges. She is very reasonably priced as well, which was
important to us because we didn't have a huge budget. She
doesn't do installation herself, but works with a great team
that does - also reasonably priced. We were completely happy
with her work, and have recommended her to some of our
friends. Her website is www.berkeleygardencoach.com, and all
the contact information is there. Good luck with your
I highly recommend Manual Garcia for landscape design and
gardening. He is very fast but shows careful attention to
detail. He is easy to work with and has over 20 years
experience in the field. I have also had several home
repair jobs done by him and was very pleased with with his
level of expertise and knowledge in this area as well. He
mounted track lighting in my apartment in addition to a
large curtain divider. His number is 510 652 5612.
I suggest you contact Heidi Tarver at
www.berkeleygardencoach.com. She did a wonderful job
creating a design for our North Berkeley garden. We are
extremely happy with her work, and the project came in under
budget. Dr. D
Backyard Landscape ideas - student or beginner landscaper?
my backyard needs a facelift! It's an open palate. Does
anyone know of a school or beginning landscaper etc who
might want to use my backyard as a template or
learning/experimental space? Or to give me ideas? It's flat,
roughly 30' x 100'
They now have an online job board where you can post what
your needs are. You might want to specify that you want
someone who is a couple of years along in the program, then
you will get someone who is just starting out and has both
inspiration and a bit of practical knowledge. New
landscapers build up a business client by client, so they
should be quite happy to fix up your yard. I was in the
program myself 25 years ago and now know someone currently
in the program. They've come a long way in understanding
the principals of sustainability and I think you will get a
lot of great ideas from them. Liz
When I was looking for a student landscape designer, I
posted a message on the bulletin board at Merritt Community
College Landscape Horticulture School. I think I sent the
post by fax or email and they printed it out and put it on
the board. Joanie
If you decide to consult a professional we can recommend
Geogia Madden: www.fmlanddesign.com / 510-450-0803
Mid-century modern landscaping
We just moved into our midcentury ranch and the yard is a
mess of 'deferred maintenance.' We need a short-term and a
long-term landscaping plan from a professional with a modern
aesthetic. I love an English garden, I just don't want one,
and it won't fit with the house. The plan would include a
patio, fence, garden, as well as a long term plan for an
outdoor kitchen. mid-century yard
I highly recommend Matt Hornby
http://www.matthornbygardendesign.com/Home.html He has
excellent design sense and is especially skilled at
stonework. R S
Garden designer w/ style similar to Lurie Garden
On a recent trip to Chicago, I fell in love with the Lurie
Garden in Millennium Park. The garden was designed by Piet
Oudolf et al. using midwest perennials and lots of grasses
for a modern, bold effect. I would like to do something
similar in my front yard, but with California plants. Is
there a landscape garden designer in the area who could do
something for me in that style?
I highly recommend Suzanne Arca of Suzanne Arca Designs. She
understands native plants and grasses and how to integrate
them into your existing garden and she is skilled in drought
resistant plants as well. She does beautiful designs as
well as implementation but you can choose your preference.
Her website is suzannearcadesign.com and her phone number is
I cannot say enough good things about our gardeners, Bill
Lloyd and Dina Blackwell (http://blackwelloyd.com/). They
have an extraordinary array of skills, to which they
continue to add. We have three locations where they work
for us, two of which have benefited from installations as
well as on-going maintenance. They are efficient,
thoughtful, thorough, and creative. We actually learned of
them because of the work they did next door. Now, several
neighbors have hired them to do their gardening.
Specific to your needs, they are quite partial to using
natives and minimizing water usage. One installation was
chosen for the 2014 garden tour, a testimony to excellence
in this profession. Nori
Looking for a landscape designer/contractor
We're looking for a landscape designer/contractor to help us
with a side yard project at our south Berkeley home this
summer. Job will include some basic visioning and planning,
removal of a fairly large tree (and stump), fence
design/construction, construction of a garbage/recycling
enclosure, landscaping and irrigation. We'd prefer to hire
one company that can do it all rather than separately hire a
designer and labor. We're looking for a good value but
mostly we'd like to find someone reliable who will return
calls! Thanks in advance. - Ashleigh
I love working with Kellie Owen - she's certified, from
Petaluma, but works down here some days. She's done
everything in my Emeryville garden from advising to clean up
to installing irrigation.
Kellie: 415 509 1431.
Josh Thayer at Native Sun Gardens is a plant genius! He can
help you plan to get the most out of your yard spaces. He
helped transform my steep, empty, arid yard in Montclair
into an edible orchard, working with me and my wife to pick
fruit trees and vines, berry bushes, and native plants that
would work in pretty challenging terrain. He now comes by
several times a year to check on plants and advise on care,
which I try to do. He has a crew of workers that can come
in and do the work for you, or he can just do the design
work and advising piece.
We did not use him as a 'one stop shop,' but he is
well-connected to the landscape contractor community and
could probably coordinate most of the work you want if you
let him know that's what you're looking for. But even if he
can't, I would highly recommend bringing him into your
project so you are happy with your landscape down the road.
I saw your post in an earlier newsletter but didn't have
time to respond then. Please call landscape contractor Cece
Littlepage about your project. She's a very talented
designer, extremely knowledgeable about plants, as well as
very professional and reliable. Cece has helped me with a
number of projects in my garden and her advice is always
spot on. I feel like she really listens to what I'm wanting
to accomplish and has the experience and expertise to put it
all together into a plan that works. I also appreciate that
she works to keep costs within my budget without ever
sacrificing quality. And- she's a pleasure to work with!
Call Cecelia Littlepage 510-848-4178 or email her at
Need a landscaper for my front garden in El Cerrito
I have had a lot of trouble finding landscapers who are
either reliable or available to help me plant a new garden
in the front of my house.
Looking for a designer to help me pick out plants that will
thrive without a lot of watering or fussing. A Mediterranean
garden ideally with a lot of succulents and native plants.
Also someone who knows how to transform our sprinklers in
the front to an irrigation drip system.
Please only recommend people who are known to you. Would
also hire someone who is not a professional but knows how to
do all of this.
Call Michael McFadden at Planted Earth,
http://plantedearthdesign.com/ He lives in El Cerrito and
has for several years, so the Planted Earth team has done
lots of local work, both big and small projects. I have seen
some of his low-maintenence designs and the are beautiful
and practical, as well as kid-friendly. Welcome to El
Cerrito! Long-time El Cerrito gardener
Landscape services needed in Lamorinda
We need a landscape designer to help us add to the
landscaping we have in our front and back yards. We also
need this person to help us add an irrigation system. There
are many recommendations on the BPN website, but I need
someone who would be willing to work in the Lamorinda area.
I would prefer someone who could help us design and plant a
low-maintenance, drought resistant, dear resistant garden.
Please send recommendations. Thank you! Seeking landscaper
We live in Lafayette and have worked with a wonderul
landscaper named Chris for several years. When we first
hired him, he helped us design our sprinkler system and our
yard. He's done our weekly maintenance since. Contact Chris
(925) 788-3065 Happy Customer
Sue and Matt Royter of Lantech Design helped us put in
exactly the type of yard you are describing, as well as an
irrigation system, in our house in Lafayette. We also have
them come quarterly or semi annually to do major seasonal
cleanup...other than that and mowing our (now) very small
patch of lawn, our yard needs almost no work. I have rarely
seen people work as hard as Sue and Matt, and all the people
who work for them are long time employees.
Looking for Landscape Designer
We would like to have help in transforming our disaster of a
backyard into a beautiful outdoor space that we can enjoy.
We have many challenges: There are safety concerns as we
don't have anything blocking the backyard from the top of
the garage; we have an old fireplace that we believe was
part of an existing back house back in the day; there is an
ugly, ugly fountain that we would like removed or hidden;
there is a huge pergola structure that we would like
removed; there is an ugly cement bunker looking space
directly outside our backdoor that has steps leading up to
the backyard that we would like transformed somehow,etc.
You get the picture it is a mess. We also need advice on
types of plants and spatial organization. We live in
Oakland. We probably don't have the money to do everything
at once but we need someone who has a vision and can provide
plans in stages so that we can divide the project and take
one thing at a time but have an overall picture of what the
end product will look like. Any recommendations out there
would be greatly appreciated. JC
Hello - last year I worked with Sue Oda (http://sueoda.com/)
to redesign my backyard. She spent a lot of time with me
over a few visits to really get a feel for what I needed and
would be able to maintain. She also brought her trusted
contractors over to give me quotes on work that needed to be
done. She gave me the whole blueprint for the re-do and a
lovely binder with the plants and description and care so
that when I am ready to install the design I have it and can
use whoever I chose or do it myself. I know you can have a
full service level from her and she will get the whole
project done, but like you we have to do it in phases for
budget so I have been very happy using her suggested
contractors and doing piece by piece. I also like how
mindful she was of my small children and making the space
with them in mind.
new yard mama
We used Lou Dixon with Bio Friendly Gardens and have been
really pleased with the results. He is reasonably priced
and does good work.
http://biofriendlygardens.com/index.html Dawn H
I can heartily recommend Heidi TarvÃ«r. She's an artist and
sculptor as well as landscape designer, and she only does
the design work, so no conflict of interest. Wonderful,
beautiful ideas, but she works with you to get what you
want. http://berkeleygardencoach.com/ Landscape lover
Heidi Tarver (www.berkeleygardencoach.com) Check out her
website. Heidi is a good designer and affordable. I have a
challenging backyard and a while back, I worked with her on
a garden project that has made my garden a wonderful place
to be! She is easy to work with, has great ideas, and she
has a number of different design packages so you can find
one to fit your budget. I have recommended her to several
friends, and they have all been really happy with the
results. Good luck! Elsa
The Berkeley Garden Coach is your answer! Heidi is sooo
good: great eye, great contacts for contractors, just great
to work with. We're in the middle of a big project
transforming our barren hill and chicken yard into something
really pretty and useful. She's really worth it.
510-928-5591 Not a green thumb
I can definitely recommend Tomi Kobara. We worked with her
very recently on our back yard and she is happy to work in
phases as you save up for different elements. What was
previously a sea of lava rock is now a gorgeous multi-level
deck, with small lawn, plantings, veggie box and more. Just
what we wanted. Tomi works directly with a great, reliable
contractor for demo/construction/installation and it was so
nice having one point of contact for this whole project.
Happy to answer more questions if you have them.
Landscape Contractor Referrals
We are looking to renovate our backyard this spring and are
searching for a quality/affordable landscape contractor. We
are in the Redwood Heights neighborhood of Oakland. We will
be tearing out the old pavement, repaving a new area, adding
a tiny area of grass and hooking this up to the sprinkler
system. Forewarning, we have a huge Redwood Tree in this
very small backyard and we have no idea what issues this
will pose. If you have someone to recommend, please send
them my way! Thanks! Alexandria
As the husband of a landscape architect, I would say that
'the huge Redwood Tree in your very small backyard' means
that 'quality' will trump 'affordable' when searching for
your landscape contractor. The plant pallet compatible with
redwood trees is quite limited, so someone could design and
install a very nice backyard for you that would slowly (or
maybe rapidly) die out.
Though it doesn't seem you are looking for one who works
with native plants, I recommend Michael Thilgen (4
Dimensions, 510-893-1999) for his knowledge of plant
compatibility. . Andus B
I would like to recommend landscaper Chris Freeman. He is
new to the Bay Area and has a company called Deep Roots
Urban Gardens.He did some excellent work for us recently.
His website is www.deeprootsurbangardens.com
He can be reached at 516-849-7970
Saw the responses to your post and have to chime in with
another 'yes' for Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions
Landscape. We have two very large redwoods (and a massive
cedar) and Four Dimensions created a beautiful new native
landscape for our yard. They are extremely knowledgable and
excellent listeners. Redwood garden too
Reasonably priced landscape design?
I am looking for someone who can help me redesign my garden,
but I'm on a tight budget, and the bids I've gotten from
landscape architects are WAY over what I have to spend. Has
anyone found a garden designer who charges reasonable rates?
My garden space is small, but I think it could be really
nice if I could get some help with design. Any suggestions
are welcomed. Thank you so much. Belinda A.
I hired Lara of Bountiful Botanicals
(http://bountifulbotanicals.com/) and liked what she did
with my small front yard. I don't recall the price exactly,
but I think she was reasonable. anon
Garry Bernhardt might be a good fit for your garden and
budget. He is both a gardner and landscape designer, very
creative and reasonably priced. Phone 847-5070. w
Check out Kroeger Gardens. Link below:
Anne is very talented and it shows in her work. Her first
consultation is free as stated on her website. In addition,
you will find alot of free advice and information on the
site, which in my opinion simply translates into an
individual that is extremely passionate about what they do.
Good luck with your project.
Consider calling Teri Hayes at 510-697-2503. She is not a
landscape architect so her prices are as lot more
reasonable. She is a gardener who has a flair for design and
can work with an owner to plan a garden suited to his/her
wants and desires. Her abilities also allow her to be able
to create attractive areas as well as design drought
tolerant gardens which save money on water and monthly
Take a look at this website: www.berkeleygardencoach.com. I
worked with Heidi on a garden project last fall and found
her help invaluable. My garden is also small, but she came
up with a way of utilizing space that makes it feel much
larger. I now have tiny 'rooms', different areas for
sitting, veggies, flowers, etc. I love my new garden, it
didn't cost an arm and a leg, and Heidi is also coaching me
on how to take care of the plants and keep the garden
healthy and beautiful. I really recommend her as an great
alternative to expensive landscape architects. Her phone
number is 510-928-5591. A.R.
We have been extremely pleased with the services provided by
Heidi/Berkeley Garden Coach. I believe Heidi saved us
thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars on our garden
project. She worked with us to come up with a hardscape
plan, identify appropriate professionals, select plants that
would thrive in our location, etc. We did a lot of the
labor ourselves, and with her guidance it was fun and we
learned a lot. Heidi was respectful of our likes and
dislikes, she listened carefully and made suggestions that
were in keeping with our goals and vision for the garden.
She never tried to push her own agenda, which we really
appreciated. In the course of a year we were able to
redesign our whole yard and get most of the ideas
implemented. With her help we were able to avoid making the
kinds of errors that could have cost us a lot of money and
also a lot of headaches and frustration. We could not be
more happy as we see our garden (and ourselves, the
gardeners!) evolving. Check out the Berkeley Garden Coach
website at www.berkeleygardencoach.com. Amy
Landscape Architect for 'Master Plan'
Hi, We just moved into our new home. We are in the Oakland
Hills and we have a challenging yard. It is terraced and
there are some drainage issues. The previous owner had done
some landscaping many years ago and kept it up until they
sold it to us in this summer. However, it is definitely
showing its age and contains some plants that need frequent
maintenance. There is also a very decayed and overgrown
badminton court with what I like to call a 'bog' (standing
water that appears to be coming from an underground spring).
Needless to say, we are quite overwhelmed with the space but
believe it has amazing potential. We don't want to spend
much money right now but we do need to do some initial work
and figure out ongoing maintenance. However, we hate to go
forth with this without knowing what our long term goals are
as we realize we could head in the wrong direction. Does
anyone know a landscape architect/designer/professional who
could give us a 'master plan' now, help us figure out the
drainage and irrigation, and implement our plan over time?
Part of the long-term vision includes a spot for herbs,
veggies, a water feature, outdoor seating/entertaining, a
children's play area, installation of a drip/irrigation
system - but where does it all go and how does it get
implemented over time? We'd love any recommendations.
I think you should give Peter Gradjansky a call 415-699-5441
/ email@example.com, this is. exactly what he does. He
is very talented and he creates beautiful gardens. Jean
Hi there - I have been working with Sue Oda
(http://sueoda.com/) for my landscape overhaul and she is so
nice to work with. While I don't have my final yard
installed yet, I can tell you she is very good with the
designs and great to work with. I have done just what you
are asking, I hired Sue to design and draw up all the plans
and we will be executing ourselves as budget allows. She
has also given me names of some great resources that I plan
to use along the way (like her arborist).
I enthusiastically recommend Matt Hornby for landscaping,
particularly developing a plan for an underutilized yard.
Last year, I interviewed several firms to relandscape our
back yard and initially didn't hire Matt because he felt
that he could not accomplish all that we hoped for within
our budget. We went with someone else, who then came back
with a bid that did not meet our goals AND was twice what we
could pay. So I went back to Matt, impressed by his honesty.
Together, we came up with a plan that did fit within our
budget and met all of our goals. He went way above the call
of duty--finding us a micro-sized play structure that we
could squeeze into our tiny lawn, wading through mud and
rain to get the contours of the yard just right, and
carefully preserving a large arbor that was original to the
house. In the end he installed hardscaping, put in
irrigation, plus worked with a plant specialist to pick out
flowers that have proved hardy and low maintenance. Our yard
is now a magical place, which gets comments from everyone
who visits our home. We spend so much more time outside that
it feels like we've put an addition on the house. We
recommended Matt to some friends who had a similarly
outstanding experience. You can reach Matt at:
http://matthornbygardendesign.com/Home.html Kathy in North
Your project sounds a lot like something we started a year
ago and are still in the process of finishing up. We also
bought a house in a very hilly part of Oakland and inherited
a large backyard with a slope, drainage issues, plants we
hated, and bad infrastructure. Our landscape contractor was
Matt Hornby, whom I highly recommend. It was our second time
working with Matt: he had transformed the tiny backyard of
our previous home in N. Oakland into a beautifully
landscaped garden. We brought Matt back to work on our new
property and asked him to help us develop it in phases, so
we could make the process more affordable. Matt and his team
are very creative, resourceful and solutions-oriented -- he
also cares a lot about quality and how his work stands the
test of time. He recently came back and replaced some plants
because they were faring poorly under the irrigation system
he set up, and took on the majority of the cost himself. We
are still not done but plan to have Matt finish up the
project. You can reach Matt Hornby at (510) 717-1342 or
If you're looking for a master plan for your garden, I would
highly recommend Vanessa Kuemmerle, owner of Vee
Horticulture. She recently helped my husband and I with a
design which we are going to implement - probably with help
from her team at some point. She was simply amazing. Vanessa
has that magical combination of technical knowledge plus a
true artistâ€™s design sensibility. She is a great listener
and very intuitive. Our garden up to this point has been a
hodgepodge of design. We've tried to work on it at various
times but it wasn't really coming together in a way we were
both happy with. And we're also challenged with having four
dogs, a three-year old, not a ton of space, money or time
for upkeep. Vanessa worked with us to put together a
fantastic plan that takes into account our requirements,
differences and limitations. She really took time to
understand our joint aesthetic and what we wanted our garden
to feel like at the end of the day. I was impressed that she
and her assistant spent a full day at our house taking
measurements, seeing how the sun traveled across the yard,
talking with me and my husband about different design ideas
- all to help inspire them and more accurately plan the
perfect garden for us. She then reviewed the plan carefully
with us and broke it down into stages, indicating what we
could easily do alone and which parts might be trickier and
require outside help. Vanessa's a true artist, a great
listener, creative, incredibly knowlegable and really
respected and worked with all of our various needs. Her
website is: http://www.veehorticulture.com/
Need a landscape architect
Hi, we are remodeling our yard, and need a landscape
architect to help us with the hardscape and landscape design
for our home in kensington. Any recommendations are greatly
Contact Lesley Golden. She did my parent's garden and it
turned out beautifully. firstname.lastname@example.org Kelly O
Gardening/Landscaping advice for new house
Hi all. My wife and I recently bought a house that has a
huge back and side yard. It's been relatively maintained,
but not much love or creativity has gone into it. We see
amazing potential in it, but are frankly overwhelmed with
the possibilities and work involved. Ideally we'd like to do
the work ourselves, but we have a 6-month old and I'm having
a hard time finding the time to do even basic maintenance.
We'd love to have a deck or patio type space where we can
eat and BBQ. We also want to grow our own food, probably in
garden beds. I think the lawns need to be replanted and
there are a bunch of bushes that we want to remove, but what
we do with the space is the big question. I look at a lot of
yards when I'm walking my dog around the neighborhood, but
then get overwhelmed with the possibilities.
Where can I get ideas advice on this type of thing. Is it
crazy to think that I can do this all myself? Are there
landscapers/gardeners that can help with the work and/or
give ideas? How much does it cost to get a landscaper to
completely redo the yard for you? I have no clue when it
comes to these kinds of things. Overwhelmed gardener
You should call Heidi Tarver, the 'Berkeley Garden Coach'!
We had a similar problem, and she worked with us to develop
a vision for our garden, then put us in touch with
professionals who could help us turn our garden plan into a
beautiful livable outdoor space. Heidi has both the creative
vision (she uios quite the artists) and the organizational
skills to help you move forward on your project, and the
cost is way less than hiring a landscape architect to
install a garden for you. Also, she can coach you on how to
care for your garden so it will stay beautiful all year and
for years to come. She is a pleasure to work with. Her
website is www.berkeleygardencoach.com. Liz J
You should definetly check out WWW.bayareastonegardens.com.
Bill Armijo is very good and can help you with what you want
as well as suggest ideas. He's very easy to work with and
there are a number of BPN readers who have used him. He
makes the process simple. Happy Customer
I can't say enough good things about Arthur Brito of
Arboralis, but fortunately I don't need to because you can
see his designs on his website. We used him for a small
project, but he works well with projects of any size. He's
easy to talk to, and he'll work within your budget. For a
small investment in design at the start, you'll end up with
a landscape you're really happy with - at least that's my
experience. You can reach Arthur at www.Arborealis.com or
510.522.2708. Good luck!
You certainly could do it yourself, but it sounds pretty
overwhelming to me.
I recommend you give Joshua Thayer of Native Sun Gardens a
call. (510 332-2809 www.nativesungardens.com). Josh is a
wonderful designer who likes working edibles as well as
decorative plants. He's also super flexible about how he
works with you, he'll provide everything from a quick sketch
to a full blown plan, to an installed garden and coach you
on how to plant or maintain it. He can also plan in phases
if you know what you want but can't afford to do it all at
He did a great job taking into account the different tastes
of my partner and I (I love cottage, he loves Asian, and did
such a great job with our front that we hired him to do some
things in our backyard. Kirsten
I would like to recommend a unique and amazing designer and
gardener, Michelle Bayba. I have never had a gardener like
her. She is knowledgeable about all aspects of gardening,
and she designs gardens as if they were her own. She's
full of energy and natural creativity. She is personable
and fun to work with, willing to roll up sleeves with me or
leave me homework, she does amazing work, and has very
reasonable rates given her skill level. She's now worked
with four families in our neighborhood, and I attest to the
fact that one of her many strengths is helping people to
formulate a realistic plan based on their budget, interests,
and the limitations of their location.
A Berkeley native, Michelle knows the local plants and takes
into account the practicality of a garden and how you use
it. She knows how to design a garden from scratch, or as in
my case, take a straggly garden and properly prune it, fill
it in with new plants, nourish them organically, and upgrade
the irrigation system.
As I said, since I hired Michelle, she now has four clients
just on my neighborhood block. She has individualized to
each of our needs-- and we are all thrilled. She can be
reached at 510-385-6535. anon
Garden design that can be implemented over time
We would like to redesign our backyard; a design employed a
dozen years ago did not end up being very workable, and our
sprinkler system is pretty much gone, so we need a new one.
Our goal is to have an area for seating with room for a
table, chairs and so on so we can eat outside now and then
as well as entertain. We would like to form a division from
the front and back part of the yard so we can have raised
beds for veggies.
We would like to have mostly native/drought resistant
plants. We have a small side yard that we would want to
retain for flowers--the only area I would want to give a
little more water to, as it is small. I do love roses. We
need to put in some trees for screening and privacy, as
well. We also have the unfortunate presence of a neighbor's
redwood tree, which scatters debris into our yard. We need
someone who can work with these issues and restraints. So
we are talking landscaping/hardscaping (we want the seating
area to be one that does not require any weeding--weeds
poking through pavers is not in the picture for me--done
Here is the biggest issue: we need a plan that can be
carried out over time, as it is not affordable for us all at
once (self-employed spouse). Does anyone have experience
with any landscape designers who will do this? Thank you!
I saw your post and have to send you a recommendation. Last
year we hired Sarah Ray who had worked with a very good
friend of mine. We also had a difficult time finding anyone
who would work with us in stages. Sarah respected our
budget and was able to design a master landscape plan that
we could implement over time. Having a plan in place before
we began the actual work, allowed us to budget for each
phase. She was amazing and insightful and was able to
actually hear my ideas, even if they weren't exactly what
she would have done. So far we have done our front yard and
back patio with a trellis. We are so happy with our garden
and having someone so knowledgable and approachable made the
whole process enjoyable. We would hire her again in a
second! Her phone number is 510-812-7498.
Good luck to you,
Paul Burns has done a lot of multiuse spaces like the one
you describe, and would likely be open to working in stages.
He's honest, reliable and pleasure to work with. (510)
Landscape designer to include children's play
We have a large backyard and would like a
designer/landscaper help plan for optimal use for child play
-- jungle gym, bikes, grassy area, etc. Do you have any
There is a garden designer/coach in Berkeley who I think is
really exceptional. Her name is Heidi Tarver, and her
website address is www.berkeleygardencoach.com. My neighbor
worked with her last year on a back yard design that
included a lot of play space for their 3 young children, and
while I don't have children myself, I was extremely
impressed with the result in terms of how she integrated the
play spaces into the overall landscape design. After seeing
my neighbor's yard come together, I hired her to work with
me on my garden, and I love her designs, which I am in the
process of implementing. I would definitely recommend you
check her out. A.J.
We have used Tomi Kobara, wwww.tomi-kobara.com, Landscape
Architect, for our backyard, frontyard, and deck remodel.
She is wonderful at bringing our ideas to life, and our
backyard and front are both beautiful and functional (garden
space, pingpong table, planting area).
She also was great with working with existing materials and
incorporating new ideas. I highly recommend her. She can be
reached at email@example.com Chan
Diane designed a functional (for our 2 kids) and beautiful
(for the parents) space for us in the front of the house.
We love her work! Your backyard sounds bigger and I'm sure
she can come up with some great ideas for you! She
incoporated most of her design and love the yard. Her
contact info follows. Feel free to email me for more
Landscape Design & Aesthetic Pruning
Bids for Landscape Architect Sketches/Ideas
We are looking for some recommendations for landscape
architects who will do up some sketches for our yard. We
already have a pretty good idea of what we want the yard to
look like, but we need a professional to let us know how and
if our vision would work, and how much. We'd like to get
multiple bids, and it would be great to have someone who
would do multiple sketches for us - to give us options. We
live in South Berkeley and have a large yard. Part of the
job includes a large play structure, raised beds, and a
deck. Thanks for any leads! Heather
I've worked with and highly recommend Arthur Brito of
Arborealis (510.522.2708) and Robert Cruikshank ((510)
Arthur is a landscape designer, is very low key, willing
work with any budget or job size, and is very willing to
give you several design options so you can choose. His
designs are creative and beautiful, and he's good at
designing spaces that are both affordable and comfortable to
live in. http://arborealis.com/
Robert is a landscape contractor, who is also willing to
work with you and very competent. He specializes in wood
and fine masonry construction.
Arthur made several sketches for us, and Robert did some
wood and flagstone work to enclose a tricky porch area.
Good luck with your project,
Looking for good landscape designer in East Bay
We're looking for a good, affordable landscape designer to
help with a front yard.
After many years of unsuccessful starts on our backyard, we
broke down and finally hired a professional to do our
backyard. We hired Fiddlehead Gardens in Berkeley and we are
so happy about our decision. The back yard is finally a
place where we can relax and entertain.
We have a small back yard in Berkeley (1000 square feet) and
Mya (the Fiddlehead owner) helped us transform it into an
outdoor living space. It looks gorgeous and fits all of our
needs. Mya was really great about working with our vision
for the backyard at a reasonable cost. We have yet to
start working on our front yard (we need to save up a little
more before we do so) but when we do, we will definitely
hire her again.
I highly recommend that you contact this company. You will
be so happy that you did. hilge34
We hired Sandra Nevala-Lee to help us w/ shady & windy spots
in our yard. She introduced native plants that do well in
windy West Berkeley. And it's been amazing! Things are
growing, blooming, etc. Sandra is also a lot of fun to work
with - and very informative. You can contact her:
510-502-0992 firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box 2128 Castro
Valley, CA 94546
Her website: https://sites.google.com/site/cagardensbyanativecalifornian/
a flower lover w/o a green thumb
I highly recommend Tamar Carson Landscaping
(email@example.com). Tamar and her husband/partner
Rogelio were brilliant last summer in design vision and
execution of the project of my back yard cement driveway
which was transformed by unbelievable stonescape and equally
impressive ground preparation and selection of plants. They
are extremely knowledgeable and creative in their solutions.
9 months later, my garden simply gets better and better. It
was such a pleasure to work with them and their staff. I
enjoyed the process and the result. Excellent follow
through, attention to every detail and a wonderful
collaboration. Tamar gave me about 20 addresses in Bekeley
to show their work and seeing what they have done locally
is what convinced me. kstreets
Heidi Tarver (www.berkeleygardencoach.com) might be just the
designer for you. Check out her website and I think you will
see what I mean. She is very affordable for one thing. And
she is a fabulous designer of gardens, as well as furniture,
jewelry and probably other things. I worked with her on a
garden project a few years ago, and I was delighted with
what she came up with for my complicated, challenging back
yard. She is really easy to work with, full of great ideas,
and she has a number of different design packages so you can
find one to fit your budget. I have recommended her to
several friends, and they have all been really happy with
the results. Good luck! Angie
Check out the website for Berkeley Garden Coach Heidi Tarver
(www.berkeleygardencoach.com). I am currently working with
Heidi on re-landscaping our back garden, and I am delighted
with her work. She has great design sense and creative
ideas, but also really listens to what I want and works with
me to bring my vision into being. Her pricing structure is
extremely reasonable, and she is very flexible and
accommodating. Really a great person to work with - I
couldn't recommend her more. My project isn't finished yet,
but I have seen some of her finished work and it is
absolutely lovely. Her phone number is 510-928-5591. Good
luck with your project! kb
Review of Tamar Carson - Landscape Architect
I'm thinking of using Tamar Carson for a much-needed
landscape design for the front of our house...We've heard
good things but most of the reviews are old. Does anyone
have recent experience with her? We've done a lot of work on
our home including re-shingling and now want a landscape
project with a lot of visual impact, something that will
highlight the house and give us strong curb appeal.
Hi, I wanted to respond to the question about Tamar Carson landscaping.
Tamar redid my yard last year, and the garden she created is a source of
ongoing pleasure, pride and joy for us. She basically took the most hideous
patch of weeds and concrete and turned into a glorious, lovely garden -- for
sure the nicest on our block . Please email if you want to come take a look!!!
What I love about Tamar is how personal her artistry is. She really listened to my
preferences about plants and colors, studied our house (paint colors,
architectural style) and designed something that feels both very personal and
beautiful and harmonizes with and enhances our home. She's an artist and a
great listener and brings, with her wonderful husband and business partner
Rogelio a lot of integrity to her designs - it's not cookie cutter but totally
personalized. I really, really love my garden and of all the work we've done on
our house, this is the project that gives me the most ongoing pleasure. Email
me if you would like to see it - now that it is early spring plants are flowering
and looking better than ever. Tamar's email is firstname.lastname@example.org, 654-
I'm glad you asked about Tamar--you never know what to think
when the reviews are old! I'm happy to say that she did a
fabulous job for us--our front and back yards were both
total disasters, and she transformed them. In the back, she
needed to take out a jungle of plants, plus some broken-down
structures, and she replaced them with a yard that everyone
comments on--a combo of paving and wonderful plantings. In
the front yard, she removed our decaying benches and plants,
and created a lovely, unified garden (and low wall) that
passersby always stop and admire.
She's also GREAT to work with--truly good listener, totally
approachable, smart, creative, knowledgeable, etc. And her
crew is her husband (a great person himself!) plus longtime
workers who are incredibly considerate. Really, we can't
recommend her highly enough!
--LOVING our landscape in Albany
Artful Landscaper with a Berkeley feel
We've decided that first impressions really matter.. so we
want to improve the landscaping in the front of our house.
We'd like to work with someone artful, but who listens, and
does not promote their design. I really don't want to be
pushed toward drought-resistance or irrigation project. I
want to be guided by plants, a sense of place, and a
Berkeley feel. We want that feeling to surround our house.
Anyone have recommendations for people, companies, or
interview questions for landscape architects. -chris
I would like to recommend Heather Clauss at Aspect Design
Landscape (http://www.aspectland.com/). Heather really
listens to her clients and comes up with designs based on
their desires and the needs of the site. She has a lot of
experience with local residential gardens, she is reasonably
priced, and she has a fabulous design aesthetic. She also
has great taste when selecting plants. Leslie
I know exactly what you mean about wanting a garden resource
who really listens carefully for what you're after and then
looks for ways to work with the energy in the existing
plants and landscape. Heidi Tarver ((510-928-5591;
http://berkeleygardencoach.com/) is an affordable Berkeley
garden expert who does exactly that. What I loved about
working with her was how much she taught me about doing as
much as I could for myself. But she also put me in touch
with good helpers when I needed more muscle. She's great.
--Happy Berkeley Gardener
I highly recommend www.berkeleygardencoach.com
Heidi is wonderful to work with, really listens to what you
want, and is an incredible artist, with plants and
otherwise. Really great at helping you explore
possibilities, giving you options and ideas and helping you
find your own dream garden. No cookie cutter here. (and her
own garden is to die for!)
you can reach her at 510-928-5591
love the garden
Heidi Tarver (510) 928-5591 (www.berkeleygardencoach.com) is
wonderful - she's an artist and also a garden expert, and
works with you to design the garden you want.
I would recommend Julie Hicks of Hahn and Hicks Landscaping.
Very open to design, not pushy and likes to work with people
to get the design they like. Her work is beautiful! Here
is her email address. email@example.com
Hi there - I have to recommend a FABULOUS and inexpensive
landscaping team - Pat Hannon of Your Green Spaces
(http://www.yourgreenspaces.com/) and cell 925-435-2801. He
has been doing various improvements for me since last year,
and I have recommended him to several people - all are
delighted. He can do everything from hardscapes to fences
(just finished a huge one for a friend of mine), lawns and
irrigation, and very knowledgeable about plants and
landscaping. He also does yard maintenance and clean up.
Moreover, a super nice guy, responsive and responsible,
honest, and very reasonably priced. Give him a call. Sarah
I highly recommend Tracey Goldberg of GoldDirt Design to
find the right solution for your front garden. She's easy
to work with, listened to our needs, likes and dislikes,
incorporating all that into a design that works beautifully
with the architecture and aesthetic of our house. It's
easy to maintain, relaxing to live in day after day, lovely
without looking too fussy or designed. She has a strong
knowledge of plant materials and hardscape and has no agenda
or axe to grind. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need backyard advisor
I am a new homeowner in Albany and need someone to give me
some info about my new backyard. I basically want someone
to walk around with me and tell me what type of trees and
plants we have, how to care for them, etc. Our backyard is
tiny and I am not asking for landscaping advice. Just a
green thumb to help me out. Also, we are going to put in a
tiny patch of lawn (I want my kids to have some grass to
play on) so I'd prefer not to have someone who will give me
a really hard time about putting in grass. Thanks! New
I recommend Berkeley Garden Coach Heidi Tarver. She does
landscape design, and also the kind of coaching/advising you
are seeking. I worked with her on several projects and found
her to be extremely knowledgeable, creative and fun to work
with. You can check out her rates and also her blog at
www.berkeleygardencoach.com. Couldn't recommend her more
I think our gardener, Sai Duhamel would be a great fit for
you. He's a 'plant nerd' who used to work at the Botanical
Garden and a great guy to work with. He's been a great help
for us in planning our edible backyard and maintaining the
decorative landscape up front. I think he has small children
at home too so probably could help you make child friendly
decisions. His cell number is 310- 428-8092 and home
Landscape designer needed - modern Mediterranean
I'm looking for someone experienced in landscape design who
can help redo the plantings in our relatively small (approx
25'x15') flat front yard. The hardscape (garden wall, path)
as well as irrigation system was installed two years ago and
in good condition, we simply need assistance with choosing
plants and designing a garden layout.
Our garden is currently a hodge-podge of plants, some old,
some new. It definitely lacks cohesion and that 'wow'
factor. We know what we like (modern aesthetic,
Mediterranean plantings) but really need help with choosing
plants and designing the overall look.
Thanks for any suggestions!
brown thumb in Alameda
I know a GREAT landscape designer. He has wonderful ideas
about how to create 'just enough garden' for his clients.
If you want 'more' he will also pay close attention to his
clients desires. Peter has many beautiful pictures to show
you the work he has done in the past. Aside from that, he's
just a really nice guy to work with. He worked for me quite
recently and it was a very harmonious experience! You can
reach Peter at: 699-5441 or email@example.com.
Best of Luck and have fun!
I highly recommend Michelle Bayba (385-6535). She completely
designed/ landscaped my front and backyards (she also did
the irrigation and continues to do maintenance/pruning) It
is a joy to work with Michelle and my backyard is a
beautiful retreat which has now become the favorite 'room'
in my house. Michelle is an excellent listener, creative
and dependable. I went through a number of gardeners over
the decades and when I wanted someone new I interviewed
about a dozen people from BPN and looked at their gardens.
Michelle won hands down. 524 4867
Definitely recommend Heidi Tarver. She's a wonderful
sculptor and painter who is also a landscape designer, and
she works closely with you to shape something that reflects
your aesthetic. She's lovely to work with, as well.
I recommend you contact Heidi Tarver. She redesigned my
neighbor's garden, and it went from juniper and weeds to a
lovely mediterranean hillside full of colorful and
interesting plantings. The redesign happened in the spring,
and the garden looked great throughout the season. Even now
the colors and textures are gorgeous. I am planning to make
some changes to my own garden in a few months, and I will
definitely be working with Heidi. You can look at her
website: http://berkeleygardencoach.com/ for lots more
information on her services. Incidentally, the website
itself is a good source of garden information, including a
great blog about Bay Area Gardening. Good luck with your
Designer for small garden who will work with me
I have a small, very sunny garden that is, quite frankly, a
mess. I would like to redo it completely, but maybe keep a
few of the plantings that I like. The hardscape is mostly
ok, but I want to add a stone path and maybe a little
terracing. I want to be involved in recreating the garden,
so I'm looking for a garden expert to work WITH me on
remaking this space into something lovely. I don't want
someone to do it for me - in fact I plan to do most of the
labor myself, with hopefully a little help on the heavy
lifting. Mostly what I need is someone with vision, who can
see the potential in my space and help me redesign it, for a
reasonable price. Any recommendations would be much
Leigh Gronet can help you create a wonderful garden design.
Here is the link to her website: http://www.leighdesigns.biz
She did a plan on paper for our small Berkeley yard which we
then had some help with planting and installing. She can
also do a digital garden design that allows you to see what
it will look like before it's finished. Our yard has become
a little paradise for the local birds, including some
nesting hummingbirds. A small fountain that she suggested
has become a favorite drinking and bathing spot for our
feathered friends as well. Melanie H
Heidi Tarver, www.berkeleygardencoach.com, 510-928-5591.
She's a wonderful artist/designer/coach who works closely
with you to design your garden in a way that speaks to your
personal taste. It really turns your garden into something
sculptural and beautiful that fits you very specifically.
I can personally recommend Claudia Vieira. She helped me
re-make my yards of water-devouring lawn to islands of
beautiful, native and drought-resistant plants. She worked
with me as a garden coach - offering instruction and
inspiration. I did most of the hands-on work, but she was
there to literally 'dig in' when I needed it. And I learned
a lot from her expertise. Call her: 510.653-6535. Pat
Heidi Tarver is wonderful to work with on small gardens. I
hired her to work with us on an overhaul of our garden,
which had been neglected for years. She had wonderful ideas
for reconfiguring the planting spaces, and for an extremely
reasonable price developed a whole step-by-step plan that we
were able to implement with ease. Heidi has great vision and
a deep knowledge of Bay Area gardening. I really enjoyed
working with her, and I love my new garden! Her web address
is www.berkeleygardencoach.com, and her phone number is
510-928- 5591. Amy
Landscape designer for Oakland front garden
I'm looking for a landscape designer to help me develop a
plan for both hardscape and plantings for a medium to small
front yard in Oakland. I would be willing to hire a student
or someone just starting out -- I'm on a tight budget. I
want to do as much of the actual work as I can myself, but
cannot do the plan myself. It's hard times out there for
these folks, so I wonder if anyone knows of someone who
might want a smallish project. Thanks for any ideas.
Signed, my neighbors will thank you
Sounds like the Berkeley Garden Coach would be perfect for
your needs. I have been working with her on a similar
redesign and it's been a great experience. She helped me
figure out what to do with my overgrown and not very
interesting back garden, then put me in touch with some
really wonderful people who helped install irrigation, clear
some of the old ugly shrubs and prep the soil for planting.
I am doing quite a lot of the work myself, but needed some
assistance in specific areas, especially design. Her pricing
is extremely reasonable, and you can tailor it to your
specific needs. Really great, and she is super easy to work
with. Her website is www.berkeleygardencoach.com. Good luck
with your project.
I've used Arthur Brito of Arborealis. He does only design
work, not the actual planting or construction, if any is
needed or desired. I like his designs a lot - you can see
his style at www.arborealis.com. He works in different
ways. We just needed ideas and a rough sketch, and he
charged us a very reasonable hourly rate. He also does
complete construction drawings and will arrange for
subcontractors for bigger projects, but sounds like your
needs are closer to ours. His number is 510.522.2708. Good
Heidi Tarver is an accomplished painter and sculptor who is
a wonderful landscape design coach. She works differently
from most, she collaborates with you, works with you to come
up with the design you most want and coaches you through
that process. It's a more personal way of getting the
garden you want. Much less expensive than a landscape
Landscape Designer for small backyard
My family lives in Berkeley and we have a small back yard
that we would like to landscape. We do like to go to
nurseries, look at plants and garden ourselves but what we
don't do is agreeing on an overall landscape design.
We have two kids and a dog and ground cover needs to be
picked carefully (grass, stone, gravel, sand?). Also, where
does the grill go, what type of flowers/plants grow in the
semi-shade and are we able to accommodate a vegetable
We are looking for a landscape designer who is willing to
meet us in our garden, spend two hours with us and come up
with a 'vision'. I will be happy to execute the project once
we know how to arrange things but we need some basic ideas
first. Can somebody recommend a landscaper who is not after
'the big job' but would be willing to brainstorm some ideas
for/with us? Wanna-be-landcape-designer
A great company is TrainaThought Landscape Designs. They are
out of Southern California, but are often in the bay area. I
heard about him through a friend and was able to find a time
that worked for us both to meet. He does amazing work and
isn't too expensive! Minor changes have made our outdoor
space more enjoyable and even added value to our home. The
onwers name is Jason Traina, 805-801-6439. Joedy M
Josh Deutsch is a gardener and landscaper with a bent
towards sustainability--using yards for growing food,
reusing materials that would otherwise become landfill, etc.
I knew him when he was tutoring my son, and just getting his
landscape business--his true love--off the ground. I think
he might be very flexible in suggesting yard alternatives
and encouraging the homeowners to take care of the yard. His
contact information is at
Jeannie Fitch is very good at looking at your property and
coming up with a variety of very creative ideas that will
all work with your particular yard. She is very
knowledgeable with landscaping and in many different kinds
of gardens. She will come to your home and give you her
suggestions and a price of how much it will cost at no
charge. She has worked wonders at my preschools where there
are children playing. My yard is beautiful! I would gladly
recommend her.Her tel # is 925-922-0322 a fan
Hi there. I would highly recommend you call Kathleen
Carson-Asher of LANDesign. She used to work for a big-name
high-end landscape design firm but now has her own small but
powerful team. She literally loves plants (and understands
them and what they need) and loves to educate her clients
about them. She does hourly consulting as well as on-going
'garden coaching' for people who want to steer their gardens
themselves.We have her come once per quarter and do a major
clean-up, and she always takes time to replant, make
recommendations, and cut back very carefully and skillfully.
We love her -- and so does our garden! Call her at
510/531-4905. Good luck! Lauran
We hired Lara Wilson from Bountiful Botanicals for our
landscaping. We have an unusual yard space with some sloping
and it was difficult to envision a plan for our yard. She
worked with us to come up with a plan that met all of our
needs (we have young kids and one of our priorities was a
very safe, kid-friendly yard). She is very reasonably
priced with no cost surprises, meticulous, and creative, and
the end result looks terrific! She knows her plants, what
grows best in shade vs. sun, colors that look good together,
etc. She also is very good with choosing between flagstone,
mulch, grass and granite. I would highly recommend her!
I do have a recommendation and that is to Michael Monahan.
He is a 25 year Certified Arborist, Green Certified
Horticulturist and a CAL Poly grad in Horticultural Science.
But more importantly he is a great person with great prices.
I have used him for various projects over the years and have
been extremely satisfied with his work. He also is avialable
for consultations. So give him a call at 510.501.6791 or
email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Carol
I have just the person for you!! Her name is Jamie
Rutherford, and she has 10 years of landscaping/gardening
experience in the bay area.
She specializes in mixing ornamental and edible landscapes
and focus on keeping the garden organic and inviting to
nature; birds, bees and butterflies. She has been working
for Sacred Space Gardens for the last 6 years as the head
gardener and is currently working on going into business for
I emailed her to ask if your type of project was interesting
to her, and she replied, 'I would love to consult and help
design her space with an active family in mind while
respecting budgetary constraints.' Kim
Anthony Fontaine is incredible. He can walk into any size
garden in any shape and have a vision that is classy, clean
and in line with the structures around it. He's also
incredibly affordable. He's a one man whirlwind -
jackhammered out about 40 square fee of our driveway and
then went on to replant a 4'x4' sage, dig up a weeping
cherry and amend the soil in about a 1/3 of our garden all
in about an hour and a half. He'll work with you and your
ideas or he'll give you his and then you can work together
to plan. Ask him for his photo albums of previous jobs -
amazing. Fontaine Design 510-320-0184 or email@example.com
happy garden owner
You should check out Brian Whyte of Brian Whyte Designs.
Super nice guy who knows his stuff. He is based out of North
Berkeley but works all over the Bay Area. I've found him
equally willing and able to do small and big jobs - from
irrigation to full design. 510-388-4006. Heather
I recommend you contact Heidi Tarver, Berkeley Garden Coach.
We hired her for a small garden redesign similar to yours,
and she was terrific. Heidi consults with clients on an
hourly basis, and also has several cool packages that
include an initial consult and then a written plan and, if
you want, ongoing coaching. She also does full installation
for clients that need it. Take a look at her website and see
what you think: www.berkeleygardencoach.com. Angie
Landscape architect for child-friendly backyard
We are looking for a landscape architect that can help us
design a backyard that will be toddler-friendly and grow
with us as our family grows. We have a steep upslope in our
backyard with some terracing, but it is a 'death trap' for
our toddler. Our hope is to put in a play area for our
child, a dining area, maybe a firepit, and a space for a
garden. We are really interested in using edible plants in
the landscaping. We are looking for someone who has great
ideas on making this a usable space for our family, listens
and responds to our ideas, can make drawings for the
backyard, help us phase the overall plan, and is responsive.
Needing an outdoor space
I highly recommend Arthur Brito at Arborealis. We've worked
with several landscape professonals over the years (we have
kids and a steep slope too), and Arthur is a great listener,
thoughtful, willing to work with our ideas and budget, and
great at proposing a design that works in stages (do some
now, some in a few years). His number is : 522-2708 Pat
I recommend Larman-Garro landscape architecture
(larmangarro.com). They designed our entire yard including
retaining walls, paths, patio, fences, irrigation,and
planting. They even designed our deck for us (though we used
our building contractor to install it). They are a
design-build firm, so they do the design work and have their
own crew do the work; so it coordinates nicely. We were
happy both with the quality of the design work and the
Looking for a great gardener/landscape architect
My wife and I live in a Spanish style home in Rockridge. We
are in need of a competent, reasonably priced landscape
architect to help us with our patio garden and an upper lawn
areas. We need someone who can a) help with space planning,
b) make sound planting and landscaping recommendations, c)
source materials and d) handle the actual work itself.
Lastly, we hope to find someone who is pleasant and
reasonably priced. Many thanks and always! Fred
We love Sarah Herman. Knowledgeable, practical and lovely
to work with. http://www.sarahscapedesign.com/ Mardawn
I highly recommend Claudia Vieira landscape design. She
lives in Oakland, very knowledgeable about plants, esp
drought tolerant natives, great resources for contractors,
artistic, low key and easy to talk to.
It sounds like a fun project! I'd like to recommend Jeni
Webber. She is marvelous. She re-did my backyard a few years
ago and I've been extremely pleased with the results. We did
a total re-design with space planning, planting drought
tolerant plants, building a beautiful stone patio,
installing a small pond, and setting up an efficient
irrigation system. She did a lot of the actual installation
herself with several very competent helpers. You can see
samples of her work on her website at www.jeniwebber.com.
You'll love it. Rosie
I would like to recommend our beyond fabulous landscape
designer to you. His name is Andy Lenz of Sempervivum, Tel.
510-812-8954. He can help you with everything on your wish
list. He just turned the weed-and-concrete landscape of our
recently purchased fixer into a jewel of a front and back
yard that is beautiful, useful to the kids as well as us,
and was very reasonably priced. We needed to address major
drainage and irrigation problems, and Andy came up with
functional as well as creative solutions, e.g. diverting
rainwater into a large, stone filled pit in the corner of
the backyard that soaks up the water and slowly dispenses it
into three neighboring gardens. Andy seems to know every
plant under the sun and is able to make great
recommendations towards more traditional or more native
plants, whatever is needed. He is a very gifted designer and
I was able to just let him know how I wanted to use the
space and design solutions would just come to him. He is
very conscientious of the environment, which I was very
pleased with -- in our case we were able to use the larger
concrete pieces and old bricks salvaged from the yard and
put them back together as a retainer wall and walkway which
looks amazing -- we get so many compliments and inquiries as
to who did the work. And he and his crew are really nice and
very easy to work with too! We are really happy we found
him. Happy As Can Be
I highly recommed Sarah Ray Landscapes to anyone looking for
an amazing landscape designer and contractor. After
interviewing several landscape companies last year when my
wife and I needed to revamp our steep North Berkeley
backyard, we ultimately chose Sarah Ray Landscapes. Sarah
was recommended by a business associate who worked wonders
on his backyard in Orinda.Being a landscape company that
does both design and construction (Sarah is a UCB trained
landscape architect and licensed landscape contractor) was a
selling point for us. Sarah and her workers turned our weed
infested hillside into a totally usable, beautiful space
with a outdoor dining patio, trellises, vegetable garden and
lawn where my son and I practice soccer. We are always in
the backyard and it feels like we doubled the square footage
of our home. Sarah Ray Landscapes isn't the cheapest
company, (nor the most expensive), but it was the best
investment my wife and I have made for our home.
Sarah Ray Landscapes
I would highly recommend Francisco Mayo (510 207-4974 ,
We have a big garden in North Berkeley and Francisco has
been continuously working for us since 2001 and we couldnC",b"t
be more pleased with him and his crew. They do the regular
maintenance and through the years they have done a variety
of jobs, all to the highest standards. Francisco also helps
with gardening/landscape decisions.
We have always been impressed by his tremendous talent as a
gardener and landscaper and also by his organizational and
managerial skills. He has been totally reliable and
available and is a very nice person. Barbara
While my husband was in Mexico our water main broke.
Thinking it was an irrigation sprinkler problem in our
garden, I called Bruce Sutorius for help. I can't say enough
good things about Bruce. I found him extremely
knowledgeable, professional, reliable and trustworthy. He
quickly assessed that it was the water main instead of the
sprinkler system. Not being able to turn off the 60-year
old main water valve and not wanting to risk breaking it,
Bruce called EBMUD and requested that they come out and turn
it off. Bruce then referred me to a reputable plumbing
After taking his wife and sick newborn to the hospital,
Bruce returned the same day and thoroughly checked the water
and irrigation pipes/systems to give me added pertinent
technical information to the problem. Per my request, he
then gave me a recommended design and estimate for having
the galvanized water pipe replaced with copper piping.
Bruce also recommended questions and things to consider when
getting estimates from other contractors. His fee for his
time and work was extremely reasonable.
More importantly, Bruce was able to explain the problem to
me so that I was able to understand the technicalities.
Bruce answered all my questions and was able to 'think
out-of-the-box.' Talking with and listening to Bruce
enabled me to calm myself and feel like I could handle the
situation to the surprise of my husband who was getting
ready to fly back from Mexico. My husband and I would not
hesitate to hire Bruce for any irrigation-type work. He has
good, working technical expertise in his field, high work
ethics, and exceeded my expectations of customer service.
He is local -- lives in Richmond. Best to call him on his
cell 510 332 0076. toconniem
Landscape Architect for Hilly Backyard
Hi - we need a landscape architect that is familiar with
the landscaping that helps with erosion but also looks
beautiful. Our property is on a hill and the backgard
desperately needs landscaping but also has natural erosion
every year and its fairly significant. We are in
Kensington and would love a recommendation on a landscape
arhitect that can help us with a design that curbs but
also will yield to some natural erosion but also provides
a place for our little son to start enjoying the
I just posted this in response to a different inquiry, but
I think it applies just as well to your question:
Its been a few weeks, but if you have not found anyone yet
I'd like to recommend Scott Parker. He has done a lot of
really great landscaping work on our property -- both huge
projects and small ones. Though Scott is a hands-on
landscaper, his design sense is impeccable (for our
largest project, we hired a landscape architect, and had
Scott do the installation but in the end it felt more like
Scott's design). He is also a pleasure to deal with.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
I can definitely recommend Bill Armijo of Bay Area Stone
Gardens. He and his colleagues transformed our forbidding
slope of a backyard into a functional terraced living space
and made it safe for our small children. He showed care and
attention to detail, and was very responsive to our
requests. We appreciated his integrity and responsiveness.
I'm glad to send pix and answer questions.
We have recently completed landscaping the backyard of our
hillside property. Tomi Kobara is a local landscape
architect that we had the pleasure of working with. She
designed beautiful sitting, pathway & play spaces along
with native, drought tolerant trees, bushes and grasses.
Tomi understood from the beginning our vision for the
hill, devised the planting scheme and the automated drip
irrigation system and worked with the topography of the
site to provide a beautiful, serene space for us to
enjoy. She purchased all the plants at wholesale prices,
teamed up with a terrific contractor, delivered the
project within our budget and without delays. I am
certain that she will do as well or better with your
Tomi's number is 420-1197 and her website is
Recommendation for Landscaper that does small yards
We've attempted to contact many of the landscaper listings
on the website and we've only had one actual reply (they
said no). Everyone else did not reply at all.
Sooo... We need a landscaper / landscape designer for a
small front yard. Is there someone you know is willing to
take on smaller jobs?
We were very happy with our landscape architect Matt Hornby
(not to be confused with matt horn - who may also be very
good). Matt designed the outdoor space for our small
Berkeley yard. We had him draw the plans with the intention
of phasing the installation. Matt then installed the first
phase of the design and he did a great job. He is a well
trained landscape architect with tons of hands on expertise
in masonry, fence and gate building. We are constantly
receiving compliments on our front gate and fence from
people passing by. He also strives to re-use materials and
uses good environmental practices. His contact info is:
I recommend Heidi Tarver (Berkeley Garden Coach) for your job. She is actually a
garden coach rather than a landscape designer, which means that in addition to
redesigning your yard she will also help you learn how to maintain your
plantings and continue to nurture a healthy, happy garden. She can teach you
how to perform the work yourself, or hook you into her extensive network of
garden professionals who can do the job for you. Heidi is great at
understanding your needs and turning your vision into a magical garden space.
Her rates are really reasonable too. Take a look at her website:
berkeleygardencoach.com or give her a call at 510-928-5591. Best of luck with
Landscape architects -- Four Dimensions?
Has anyone worked with or knows of the work of Four Dimensions Landscape
Co. in Berkeley? The pictures on their website look gorgeous, but I'd love to
more about the process of design and build oversight with them. We are looking
for someone with landscape architecture experience to advise on regrading and
hardscaping our yard.
You may also want to look at www.bayareastonegardens.com
We just finished a major grading and hardscaping project at
our house. While I know you've asked specifically about
Four Dimensions, I wanted to respond to your question. We
met with 3 people (from landscape architects to landscape
contractors) and went with Matt Horn
http://matthornlandscaping.com/. We are thrilled with the
outcome. He completely transformed our space. He was able
to get our vision (veggies, play space, eating space) and
make use of all aspects and challenges of our yard without
charging a lot for plans. Our lot is sloped and he problem
solved the issues with us. He met with us often and was
mindful of our budget constraints. His crew is kind and
efficient as well. We highly recommend him and truly
appreciate the space he has created.
Hi, I'm not familiar with Four Dimensions, but I do know a
great landscaper: Pablo Cepero, of California
Landscape Service. He does beautiful work and is super
reliable and well priced. His number is 510.635.7017.
I have known and worked with Michael Thilgen of Four
Dimensions for many years and I highly recommend them!
Michael is a great listener, extremely creative, budget
conscious, and a local expert on Bay Area plants and
ecology. I am sure you will be very happy with his work!
Kathy Rogers, Architect
I first heard of Michael Thilgen because of his work on
Sausal Creek near our house. It turned out he was known for
his work with native species, propagating many small plants
wherever he could.
Later, while working on a Kitchen Remodel in Rockridge, I
had the opportunity to work with him. The project included
a deck and a postage-stamp back yard. He was very
responsive, and the project turned out really nice.
Andus H Brandt, Architect
Need landscaper for smaller job
We're looking for a great, reliable landscaper to help up
with our small hillside front yard. We'll need irrigation,
plant recommendations, and room for edibles too.
I've been upfront with our budget, $3500 max, but very few
have replied to my emails and calls. Is this just too small
potatoes? I'm hesitant to go at it without some professional
help...any leads you can provide would be great!
Graen Thumb help!
I highly recommend Jorge Zavala as a landscaper/gardner.
He transformed our back yard into a beautiful space
(mediterranean, drought resistant bloomers with gravel and
a fountain)He heavy rototilled, removed tons of dead
grass/trees/ivy, constructed a small retaining wall from
moss rock, put down flagstone paths, got me a deal on 50
xylosma for a living fence, put an irrigation system,
etc.) Our yard is large (one landscaper saw three separate
sections of $30,000 to do each one! Not happening over
here let me tell you!)Not only are his rates very
reasonable,but he is reliable,courteous,happy to discuss
your vision(I had idea pictures) and procure both heavy
materials and plants.We continue to have him back for
projects. He sticks to budget,shows receipts,and does
great work all around Oakland,Piedmont,and Berkeley. I
almost never ever recommend tradespeople, but Jorge Zavala
is a genuine find.Tel: (510)459-6359 or Zavala360@yahoo.com
Last spring we hired a small landscaping business in Berkeley (yard art) and
would like to recommend them for your project. $3500 is a reasonable
budget for a small front yard venture (ie: not ''too small potatoes''), but i'm
wondering if you need an entire irrigation system installed or do you have
one in place that simply needs to be re-worked and/or adjusted? They
recommended an irrigation specialist to us who then gave us a clear idea of
initial cost since we needed electrical installed. They then proceeded to work
with us after the system was put in to meet our budget as well as our dream
of having a front yard ''re-do''. Our end-budget fluctuated only slightly (up
about $500) and the final result far exceeded our original ideas. It was a
great collaborative project that neither my wife nor I have any regrets about
and in fact, have both realized a newfound love of gardening! I would suggest
getting their expertise, their associates information (we had irrigation and
lighting) and then whatever is left is where you can begin your budget for
designing and installing a plant scape and adjusting irrigation lines
accordingly. They emphasized natives and drought-tolerant gardens so their
ideas were right in line with ours.
Hope this helps. Feel free to email me if you want more information. We may
be having more work done this year before we put our house on the market
and plan on having yard art back again. Their contact info is DJ Whelan: 510-
292-1512 - firstname.lastname@example.org
You may want to give Bay Area Stone Gardens a call (based in
Oakland) 415.412.6824. Check out www.bayareastonegardens.com
Landscape architect to transform lawn into garden
My North Berkeley house is set back from the street with a
garden in front; much of which is a water-guzzling lawn. I
am looking for a landscape architect who could transform my
lawn area into a Japanese garden, possibly with a small
meditation area. Any new design would need to integrate with
my existing fruit trees and flower beds.
Richard Larson in Piedmont is an outstanding Landscape architect! He's
been in the business for more than 20 years & has done work on
residential projects as well as large scale corporate projects. He's a great
resource that I would highly recommend. His phone number is
I have just had my backyard landscaped by Leigh Gronet,
owner of Leigh Designs. Call (510) 559-6969 or visit
leighdesigns.biz. I love her design-it is everything I
asked for, and of course more as I have no creative talent
at all. She has a wonderful computer program she made that
will show you exactly how your landscaping will look with
the finished design.
A fantastic lanscaper is Brad Goya - SF Greenspaces, 415-
He does small yards, big yards, builds decks, fences,
irrigations systems, lighting, stone and concrete work...
Great designs with drought tolerant, native plants.
He's fairly priced, honest, and easy to work with.
I highly recommend Sue Oda Landscape Architect
she is highly experience and her portfolio is wonderful
you will be really impress once you see it
her number is (510) 684-8789
give her a call you will be glad you did.
I highly recommend Sue Oda, Landscape Architect. She's very
experienced in native and low maintainance garden design, as
well as Japanese gardens. I'm sure she'll do a great job in
creating a design that integrates with your existing plants
and architecture, gives expression to your aesthetic vision,
and enhances the curb appeal. As an architect, I've
recommended her often. She's very attentive to the needs and
wishes of the client, loves her work, and is a pleasure to
Her website is http://sueoda.com/, and phone is 510-684-8789.
You can also call at 510-234-4088
Pamela Gleason www.pamelagleasondesign.com does beautiful
garden designs. She's very knowledgeable about all aspects
of landscaping and plants. She does whatever you want - in
the way of just a discussion to throw up ideas, a plan, or
following through a whole project, plus organizing
Stephan Landau of Landau Landscapes (316-6691) is a great
designer, should you decide you don't need the expense of an
architect. He's got decades of experience and also installs
hardscapes in stone and wood, water features, and ecological
irrigation and water cachement systems. Stephan's done many
Japanese-inspired, zen-like gardens, including a recent koi
pond and waterfall, and has great taste.
He knows how to integrate design with existing plantings and
trees (like at my place and my hillside neighbor's). He
truly blends form & function, aesthetics & ecology,
listening & creating - all within a budget. Stephan's a real
pleasure to work with and might be the right match for your
project. Good luck.
Landscape designer needed
Hello. We are in need of a competent, dependable and
reasonably priced service to help up landscape/maintain our
garden and assist with the repair of (or perhaps installation
of a new) an irrigation system. We're in the upper Rockridge
area. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Many
We recently had our backyard landscaped by McCaffery Brothers
and had a very positive experience. Darren spent great time and
effort writing up a detailed menu bid based on our needs. We live
in the Berkeley Hills and had special problems with our shady,
sloping back yard. Darren was able to come up with cost effective
suggestions, always detailing exactly what his crew would do and
what materials they would use. His bid was not the lowest one we
received, but it was the most precise.
When Darren and his crew did the work, the only surprises were
good ones. The work they did was excellent and cost exactly what
he promised it would. I heartily recommend them for any
In addition to being honest, skilled, knowlegable, and
professional, Darren and his workers (some family and some
long-time employees) were great to have around. They were very
kind to my 2-year-old son, who became quite attached to them. My
son started calling our yard ''Darren's back yard''. They were
also considerate about noise during his nap times.
I wish that everyone we had hired to work on our house had done
as good a job as McCaffery Brothers. I encourage you to talk with
them about your project.
phone # 510-455-0724
Want to dress up my deck and patio
I have a deck and patio that are a blank canvas and I'd like help
putting in place a nice ''look'' plants in pots, etc. I think it's
less than a landscape designer, but someone who understands plants and
placement and watering needs. And although I have a very modest budget
I'd love to achieve a sunset / smith&hawken look ....any suggestions
on with whom to work?
Thanks for your recommendations!
Francisco Mayo (510-527-1355 or cell 510-207-4974) is a landscape
designer with a wonderful aesthetic eye. He will understand your small
space and will know what plants will work, what irrigation to use, etc.
He is genuine and easy to work with. We have used him for several
projects (big and small) and have always been pleased with the result.
James Bronson is a landscape designer who worked for me. He's very
reasonably priced and does a very nice job. He's also very pleasant to
work with. You can call James at 544-9729.
Landscape designer who listens!
Can anyone recommend a good landscaper with vision at an
affordable price. we want to re-do the area in the front of
our house. Right now its full of weeds but I was thinking with
the water conservation everywhere, that a nice rock design
might look nice. Maybe a few drought resistant shrubs in the
middle surround by black rock/bark/mulch. Nothing too
complicated I've had bad experience with landscapers not doing
completely what you asked for so I am looking forward to
referrals from happy customers. Please advise if you have
someone in mind. Hopefully i can take a look at their previous
We had a terrific experience with Lara at Bountiful Botanicals
(415-290-6609) when we re-did our front yard earlier this year. She listened to what
we wanted, incorporated all of our requests,
and made terrific suggestions for things we would never have
thought of. She and her crew have a great eye for aesthetics-
what they designed and installed ended up even nicer than I could
have imagined. They took care to preserve existing structures
(walkways, brick) that we didn't want to have to re-do, which was
a challenge since we were also installing irrigation and
lighting. Lara was mindful of costs, and the project ended up
coming in slightly under estimate. The final result was
gorgeous- I truly enjoy coming home to my house every day. The
crew was professional, and it was a pleasure working with them. I couldn't be happier
with how it all turned out. Lauren
I would highly recommend Jose Curiel and his crew for landscape projects. They did
numerous jobs for us (and our neighbors) this spring.
Jose did everything he told us he would do and then some. Everyone was reliable,
friendly, flexible, competitively priced and everyone worked hard every single day.
They never showed up late, and in fact, they were always early. I give Jose and his
crew the highest possible recommendation. Jose can be reached at 510.821.4270.
Landscape Architect to design our front stairs and
We're looking for a Landscape Architect to design our front stairs and
yard. We would
like a recommendation from a happy customer.
Michael McFadden at Planted Earth Design does a beautiful job. He's very easy to
with and ''gets it.'' I think he's even won an award for his work. You can check
at www.plantedearth.org or call him at (510) 868-2733
I highly recommend Feyerabend & Madden Landscape Design (510) 450-0803.
They create high quality beautiful gardens - stone, brick, decks, arbors, stairs,
retaining walls - all outdoor structure. They have an amazing plant knowledge and
palette. They are sensitive to the client's needs, desires and budget. They work
with highly skilled contractors and are dedicated to making sure the project comes
out exactly right.
I have been associated with Bobbi Feyerabend and Georgia Madden both personally
and professionally for 10 years.
Check out their simple website www.fmlanddesign.com
Tomi Kobara as a landscape architect in Oakland that has a lot
of experience designing and planning gardens in the East Bay.
You can check out her website at: www.tomi-kobara.com. She has
done wonders with steps/walls, hardscape, deck and planting
design. She designs artful spaces that function nicely with
the house and site. She is also very professional and
reliable. I have really enjoyed working with her and we love
our garden. You can contact her at (510)420-1197
Architect to design deck and patio area
I need a reliable and visionary landscape architect to design
and build a new deck and patio area in my backyard. Does
anyone have any recent deck and landscape architect
InsideOut Design did an amazing job on our back yard. Gorgeous,
unusual design for deck (curved, no less!) and hardscaping
(decomposed granite with slate for paths; stone benches).
Creative plant and tree selections. Penn Phillips, who heads up
the landscape end of the design firm is easy to work with and
very hands-on and accessible when the project is being completed.
He remains a good resource to consult as our yard evolves. I
highly recommend their firm for landscaping and architectural
projects alike. Contact Penn Phillips of InsideOut Design at
You should contact Erin Conner ? she and her partner Anne started
their own architecture and design firm several years ago after
both working for well-known design firms in San Francisco. This
project sounds like it is the exact kind of work they do;
focusing on the connection between indoors and outdoors with an
emphasis on maximizing living space in creative and cost
effective ways. Both of them have extensive backgrounds in
residential architecture and landscape architecture /
horticulture so they are really good with projects that integrate
both. They have designed some of the most creative decks and
back yards that I have seen. We hired them to do some schematic
design on a house remodel and they were wonderful to work with
and affordable compared to others we interviewed. They do have a
website ? www.tierneyconner.com - but you should call or email
them to see more in-depth photos & projects ? their phone is
510-531-0540 or email email@example.com. Best of luck with
I would recommend Tomi Kobara as a landscape architect who
designs beautiful, unique and functional gardens. She has lots
of experience with deck/patio and planting design. She is very
professional, reliable and enjoyable to work with. I have been
very satsfied with her work and the resulting garden spaces are
quite lovely. Her number is: (510)420-1197.
Redo Yard - make it usable for 7yo son
I'd like to find someone who, at a low cost, can come and design a user friendly
backyard for our 7 yo son. He's into basketball, skateboarding and baseball. We
have a pretty small space...however, if properly utilized, could be much more
conducive to what he wants to do.
Currently, we have to go to the park for every activity. It'd be nice to have a space
where he could go out right here at home.
Mom of Active Boy
Jose @ Maravilla Landscaping 510-381-0399,has been my go to guy
for quite some time now. He is amazing. He's very reasonable
and does exceptional work for the price. Just last year he
installed an all new irrigation system, built a pergola and
layed some stone in my backyard. He's always been a pleasure to
work with and really has good ideas.
Best of luck.
Green Gallery Landscaping
If anyone has worked with Nathan Parsley of Green Gallery Landscaping in Berkeley, I'd
appreciate hearing about your experience. We're thinking of hiring him to do a rather
extensive overhaul of our back yard, including a deck and patio. We're not working
with an architect - we have a conceptual design but no specifications and will rely on
him to work out the details - so I'm particularly interested to hear if you had a
situation and if you're happy with the end result. thanks!
Green Gallery Landscaping does excellent work. Nathan Parsley has a great
guys that work for him. They come on time and get the job done in a timely
We had them do a few jobs for us over the years and have always been happy.
have friends how have worked with Nathan and been quite pleased. He has a
understanding of landscaping and plants and knows how to get the job done.
happy with your results using Green Gallery Landscaping.
Need good landscape contractor for hillside property
We are looking for a reliable and reasonably priced landscape
contractor or landscape handyman to do a number of projects on our
upslope property. We need some brick paths repaired, retaining walls
repaired, irrigation installed, and some fence and gate work. Basic,
solid work not overly detailed. If you have a recommendation please
Wendy Dutton is a hillside expert, having lived and landscaped in
Montclair for years. She recently did a slope on our property
that featured drought-tolerant plants to hold the soil well. We
happened to have existing irrigation, but she can install that as
well. In addition, I have seen Wendy's work on neighbors'
hillside slopes that included beautiful rock work or even
creative paths and kid-friendly details. She can be reached at
510-393-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashton McKay Landscapers are worth calling. Great work- good design and
on time, pleasant to work with, keep project within budget too.
contact: ALEXANDRA ASHTON, 510.612.0639
Landscape designer/contractor for small garden walkway
I would like to take out some parts of our backyard lawn and make
it into a walkway to save water and to give my three year old an
area where he can ride his tricycle. We have a well established
garden with plants so the project will be small, just the
walkway. I haven't decided whether to do natural stone or gravel
(recommendation welcome!) I am hoping to find someone who doesn't
mind small projects, has a good design capability so that the
walkway will be integrated smoothly into our existing landscape,
and can install at reasonable cost. I read past posts but most of
the recommendation seemed to be for larger projects. We are
located in Orinda. Thank you!
You should call Tamar Carson Landscaping. I started with her
for a small project and have since used her and her company to
redo all of my yards. She and her husband are a great team,
reasonably priced and very detail oriented. They also know how
to stick to a budget. I was really really happy with her and
have recommended her to a lot of people who are also happy.
Creative landscape architect/designer for hillside
Looking for a creative landscape architect/designer to help us
yard. Looking for someone that specializes in a California
minimal water use,
and of course someone that can help us get creative with our
I can recommend these 2 fantastic women, ''Two Marthas'', who
are very knowledgable about all things garden. Their design style
takes in their clients needs(great listeners), they have a strong
work ethic and it's a pleasurable experience to work with them.
They were very able to work within the budget. Lots of experience
in drought/native/veggies, irrigation & hard-scape as well. I can
recommend them for folks looking for a little guidance or a
complete renew of their yard, and ongoing maintenance. Marty
Barclay 295-7743. --happy gardening !
I would like to recommend a unique and amazing designer and
gardener, Michelle Bayba, 385-6535. I have never had a gardener
like her. She is knowledgeable about all aspects of gardening, and
she designs landscapes and gardens as if they were her own. She's
full of energy and natural creativity. She is personable and fun to
work with, does amazing work, and at very reasonable rates. A
Berkeley native, Michelle knows the local plants and takes into
account the practicality of a garden and how you use it. She knows
how to design a garden from scratch, or as in my case, take a
straggly garden and properly prune it, fill it in with new plants,
nourish them organically, and upgrade the irrigation system. Since
I hired Michelle, she now has four clients just on my neighborhood
block. She has individualized to each of our needs-- and we are all
Call Claudia Viera at 510-653-6535. She is an expert on
designing for our native soils, hillside conditions and with
native/drought tolerant plantings. I am a licensed landscape
contractor and have installed many of her designs. She always does
a great job. pablo Cepero, California Landscape Service
I would like to recommend Tomi Kobara (email@example.com or ph.
420.1197) for your project. We have recently completed the
landscaping of the backyard in our steep property with native,
drought tolerant trees, bushes and grasses. Tomi understood from
the beginning our vision for the hill, devised the planting scheme
and the automated drip irrigation system and worked with the
topography of the site to provide a beautiful, serene space for us
to enjoy. She found us a terrific contractor and delivered the
project within our limited budget and without delays. I am certain
that she will do as well or better with your project. Alina
I would love to recommend Pete Whipple of Limescape Landscape
and Construction for your landscaping help. 925 640 2036. He is
timely, his pricing is reasonable, and he is very knowledgeable. He
has done projects for me and my neighbors and I have seen lots of
his other work as well. I love his attention to detail and he makes
sure he understands your needs and gets your ideas before he jumps
into the job. I was totally happy with his work in every aspect. He
is also a general contractor and I've seen many of his remodels
which are great and he has fixed many problems in our house that
were done by not so great contractors! I'd give Pete and call. Good
I recently hired Claudia Vieira, a landscape designer. She
designed a beautiful plan for our front and back yards. She
designed a plan that included all our needs (drought resistant
natives, herb garden, free-way sound reduction and wind issues).
She was very helpful, accomodating and professional. Highly
recommended! Email her firstname.lastname@example.org or call
I first met Christopher Shein of Wildheart Gardens - (510)
368-2811 - www.wildheartgardens.com - when I consulted him about
working on our neglected bermuda-grass-thatched little patch of a
front yard. He and his friendly hard-working crew transformed it
into a beautiful and productive garden. Christopher was able to
take my half-formed ''wish list'' of plants and fruits and turn it
into a detailed, esthetically pleasing and thoughtful plan. For
us, it was great to find someone who was willing to teach us and
let us work alongside to learn, but please know that this
approach is only one of the ways he can work, a traditional
landscaper-client approach is of course an option.
Christopher is one of those people you meet who seems to be doing
exactly what he's meant to do, creating wonderful sustainable
gardens and generously sharing his skills and knowledge with
others. Christopher had many suggestions for plants I'd never
heard of that I now love, as well as ideas for free and low-cost
resources for mulch, amendments and the like, so we could carry
the plan out more economically. We now have drought-tolerant
natives, annual vegetables, edible perennials, fruit trees, herbs
and flowers, all thriving harmoniously, and additionally
Christopher designed and implemented extensive low-tech
earth-friendly ways of harvesting rainwater (and run-off
that could have been a problem) so we have nature's help staying
within our water budget. We are continuing to work with him
transforming our sloped back yard, and really value his knowledge
and competence on this ongoing project. Thanks to his design
input and skillset, we now see that the somewhat hilly nature of
our back yard can be an asset, not the disadvantage we had thought.
I really recommend Wildheart Gardens to anyone who wants
excellence, competence and expertise in designing and putting
into place a beautiful garden space thoughtfully tailored to your
preferences about plants and time available to spend tending it
- if it is important to you to support a local business that
really ''walks the talk'' in terms of ethical practices, even more
so - and if you also want to learn as well as benefit from
environmentally sound gardening practices then most of all.
Landscape design for major yard re-do
I am planning to re-landscape my large yard in North Berkeley,
and am more than a little overwhelmed with all the choices
presented here. Can anybody help me narrow it down by recommending
a local, personable contractor who is reliable, skilled, and
My project involves tree work, lots of carpentry, hot tub
installation, some stonework, planting, irrigation, etc.
We LOVED our work with McCaffrey Brothers last summer. They re-
designed and re-planted our backyard...including dealing with a
lot of bamboo, building a fence, putting in a watering system,
replacing stairs, facing a retaining wall and more. The folks
are GREAT to work with and their prices were favorable compared
to 2 other bids we got.
I would definitely suggest you call Matt Horn for Landscaping. He helped us
design our front and backyard, demo an old brick patio and an overgrown
out an uneven slope, install a drip system, build a beautiful fence and
arbor, and put in
a large flagstone patio. He and his crew were always polite, neat, and
showed up everyday, in spite of some pretty horrible weather. Matt is a
great guy and
although his bid wasn't the lowest, it was reasonable, and you get what you
His number is 510-658-6088 or email@example.com.
You need Matt Horn Landscaping! We had Matt and his team do our
front, side and back yards last summer. We had lots of rock and
overgrown, leggy plantings that just weren't working for us. Now
we have a beautiful flagstone patio with pathways throughout our
yards, gorgeous fencing (that our neighbors like as well -- nice
on both sides), wonderful arbors and raised-bed planting boxes,
not to mention the amazing plantings throughout! We were able to
save what we wanted and Matt welcomed our participation--as much
as we desired--to pick out and place the plants. He installed a
small lawn for us with pop-up sprinklers and drip irrigation
throughout. He's also an arborist and really helped bring in
light on one side of our yard that is dark due to a neighbor's
huge tree. With our neighbor's permission, Matt trimmed their
tree nicely for both of us. He transplanted a tree we wanted to
keep and gave us great guidance on all the plantings. Matt and
his team were also wonderful to work with. The project lasted
exactly the estimated amount of time and on budget. His crew left
everything clean and tidy at the end of each day and were great
with my toddler, who napped through their work every afternoon.
Matt moved to Berkeley last summer from Marin, so he's local. Our
lot if fairly small, but with all the demo required, ours was not
exactly a small job. I know he has worked on much larger yards as
well. I can't recommend him highly enough. You can reach Matt at
510.658.6088 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
I strongly recommend Bountiful Botanicals. They recently designed
and installed an amazing garden for our Oakland residence. Lara,
the owner, was so helpful and really listened to what we wanted.
The garden came out better than we had expected, and on a
smaller budget than anticipated. The crew that worked at our
home was respectful and cleaned up everyday before they left.
Their attention to detail was amazing. I wish all contractors
could stay on schedule and budget like this. We also hired them
to maintain the garden going forward since so much care was given
to it from the start. You can call or email Lara with any
questions. email@example.com or 415-290-6609
Landscape architect/designer for backyard redo
We're ready to give up our tiny patch of (now dry) grass that has
passed as a backyard. We'd like professional help (landscape
architect or designer?) in creating a primarily hardscape design
that is appropriate to our home, our soil (yes, it's clay), our
lot, and community. Any suggestions? Looking forward to being outdoors
Hello, I would like to recommend Jose Maravilla (510) 381-
0399. He's fabulous, he will work with you to create a
beautiful and functional backyard. He has been my go to guy
for a few years now. He is knowledgeable in masonry work as
well as irrigation, decking and more! He's also very reasonably
priced. I am sure you won't be disappointed with his work.
Best of luck!
Try Sharon Silverman, proprietor of Dans le Jardin;
510.851.2203;Kensington. She is in the business of designing,
building, and maintaining gardens, (in conjunction with a
network of skilled experts). I have not used her services, yet
a group of ladies met in her garden to tour her work and learn
how she approaches her business. She is a gracious hostess,
maintains a beautiful garden and enthusiastically/competently
addressed our gardening questions.
I know someone who does beautiful natural stone work -- laying
flagstone patios, walkways, retaining walls, etc., along with
designing the whole space, including all the planting. He's done
work for two friends of mine, and transformed their yards, and
has done some lovely stone tree surrounds for my sidewalk. He's
really an artist with a great eye for design, as well as a
skilled craftsman. He can work wonders with a dead, weedy back yard!
His name is Robert -- his business email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As has been posted to similiar questions, Bay Area Stone
Gardens (Bill Armijo is the owner) has done some beautiful work
in the East Bay. Check out www.bayareastonegardens.com for
before and after photos as well as contact info. He is very
easy to work with and has a keen sense of detail. He walks you
through the process, takes you on stone tours and lays out
everything so it is easy to understand.
You can contact Tomi Kobara, a licensed landscape architect in
Oakland. Her new website is under construction
(www.tomi-kobara.com) so it's best to phone her at (510)
420-1197. (She was also featured in Sunset magazine last summer).
She specializes in residential landscaping -- she works closely with
you to determine what works best for your family. Her work is
beautiful, ecologically sensitive, and she is also a very lovely
person. My friends have all been really happy with the work
I can highly recommend the Bluhon Planning Group (contact Peter
Bluhon, 510- 841-3255). We hired Peter to implement a design plan
for our front yard. He did an amazing job! He was able to
evaluate the plans with a critical eye, suggesting changes to
create a more functional and beautiful space. He approached each
decision with great thought, care and precision. Peter has a
great vision for overall site planning, materials and plants. He
also took into account the budget we were working with. Our
project included hardscape (stone steps and walkway, cement
driveway, stucco), planting and irrigation. His group of workers
were highly skilled and hardworking. We will be using Peter's
full range of talents, design and build, to landscape our
backyard. Peter is a perfectionist, which shows in his work. It
was a pleasure to work with Peter and his group.
We hired Tamar Carson Landscaping (510-65408242) to design and
install our back garden 5 years ago and it has been fabulous. We
were so happy with what they did that we had them come back and
do our front garden this year! Tamar and her husband Rogelio
totally transformed our front garden and entry, re-doing the
front path and stairs, building a beautiful wall that also
functions as a bench, planting, and even helping us choose new
house paint colors -- all with tremendous attention to detail and
craftsmanship. They worked hard to find out what would reflect
our tastes and style and choose plants and materials that are
appropriate to the site and to our climate and this area.
Although they tend to do mostly larger projects, they are still
very cost sensitive and attentive to requests for creating low
maintenance gardens. In invite you to walk by and see our new
front garden and entry, 1610 McGee Avenue.
Caroline and Robb
Major landscape/pool project in my back yard
I live in Lafayette and am considering doing a major
landscape/pool project in my back yard. I did speak with Lazar,
I like the fact that they do everything from start to finish.
Design, construction and maintenance. Does anyone have any
experience with them. If you have other recommendations that
would be great too.
We hired Lazar last year after reading good reviews on the BPN.
We were very pleased with the work they did, and they were great
about working within our budget. One thing I really appreciated
was the money planning part. At the beginning, the owner, Gary
Lazar, was very straightforward about the big picture - what we
could do given our budget. So we knew we could get the fence and
new walkway we needed, plus some of the plantings we wanted to
do. Then the designer filled in the details - this type of
material, that kind of tree. We knew before work started exactly
how much it was going to cost, and that is how much it cost, not
a penny more. They were great about coming back out to finish up
details as needed. We got a beautiful redwood fence, designed to
blend in with our 100-year-old Craftsman, and a gorgeous
flagstone walkway that is edged with bricks we salvaged from our
old chimney. We get compliments all the time on the cutouts in
the fence they crafted to accommodate old trees in our yard. I
wish we'd had the budget to have Lazar do everything we wanted to
do in the garden but we are very happy with what they did. Look
at their website to see examples of their work.
We are looking for a talented and reliable (very important)
landscaper/gardener for our front and back yards which have been
sorely neglected. We just need someone to clean up and perhaps
help us change some of our plants. Eventually, we'd like to
plant a vegetable garden, but for now we need someone to help us
make sense of our tangled mess before it's winter!
It sounds like you may have a project similar to one we just
completed in July. The previous owners of our house put at least
3 layers of rock in our back and side yards. This along with
crazy out of control bushes was the landscaping we inherited. We
hired Matt Horn Landscaping and couldn't be happier with the
results. Our lot was scraped clean (we marked plants we wanted to
keep, but there weren't many) and Matt and his crew gave us great
usable spaces. We now have new beautiful fences and arbors,
gorgeous flagstone pathways and patio, a small patch of lawn for
kids to play on, wonderful water-saving plants and trees, and two
raised beds. He transplanted one magnolia tree we did want to
keep and it's pulling through even after going through some heat
waves right after the transplant. Matt gave us an accurate
estimate, was able to begin work quickly, and finished the job on
time. We added a couple of things as we went along and Matt kept
us in the loop of the cost and time of everything. His crew was
very friendly and cleaned up our yard at the end of every day.
Matt is also an arborist and was able to trim our neighbor's tree
(with their permission of course) that was blocking a lot of
light and overtaking some of our smaller trees. We're very happy
with our yard and would highly recommend Matt. You can contact
Matt Horn (he recently moved to Berkeley from Marin) at
510.658.6088. He can put you in touch with me if you're
interested in seeing our yard.
I am looking for someone who can
re-design our small front and back yards at our Alameda home. It
needs to be someone who can help us make the best use of our very
small backyard, minimizing dead spaces, optimizing 'traffic'
flow, and making it feel as large and airy as possible for its
size. We'd like to stick to drought-resistant native plants and
other materials light on the environment. We would love some
sort of artificial surface in part of the back yard that can be
used like grass but does not need to be watered or mowed (field
turf?) as we have two small children who would love to play out
there, and maybe even have a small play structure. And of course
we don't have a huge budget, so we are hoping to find someone who
can give us a range of options based on our limited means.
Anybody have recent good experience to share? Thank you!
I can highly recommend James Bronson III who is a great landscape
designer. He designs, installs, and also does yard maintenance. You
can email James at 544-9729 or email him at jbronsonlll at yahoo.com
(those are three ''L''s in the email address, not ''ones'' or ''i''s).
I highly recommend for landscape design Ive Haugeland of Shades of Green
Landscape Architecture (323 Pine St., Sausalito, CA 94965, 415-332-1485.
info at shadesofgreenla.com). I saw an ad in Dwell Magazine and the aesthetic
modern and functional. For a one hour consultation in our yard she had
Hugely imaginative. Then we paid for a proper design, and she was really
about letting us decide what to do first and when to implement the
was a dream to work with and not, ''What's your budget? Blah, blah.'' She
everything that we wanted and more. Months later, we had friends and a
contractor actually install her design, over the course of the summer. I
recommend Bob Devengenzo (925-930-7186) for that). His work is immaculate,
has been in drainage, construction, and landscape for 40 yrs. He read
handily, and the next day had everything ready to go to start
construction. The deck
he just built for us is like art or furniture. We love it. He is VERY
detailed and is
always thinking ahead and solving problems. We've used him for 12 years,
drainage, sprinklers, and landscaping at two houses, though he does major
construction of houses, too. We trust his work--thorough and meticulous.
the same crew working for him for at least 10-20 years. I'm happy to
questions about Ive Haugeland or Bob Devengenzo. They both work all over
Has anyone worked with Robert Trachtenberg for landscaping?
Please advise on the pros and cons. Thank you!
We had Robert Trachtenberg design and install our garden and
hardscape last year. He came up with terrific and creative ideas,
integrated our chopped up yard remarkably well and was very
receptive to our input. He and his crew were reliable, respectful
and truly a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend him.
my mother recently hired robert trachtenberg, and this is what
she had to say: 'i have loved working with robert trachtenberg
and particularly the designer with whom i worked directly on my
project, david lindberg. they are conscientious, honest,
relatively reasonable in cost and very imaginative. i could not
be happier with the results.'
i'd like to add that her garden - albeit small - turned out
GREAT! it's creative, unique and beautifully reflects my mom's
love mom's garden
We are looking for a landscape design firm to develop a design
plan for our backyard and make specific recommendations about
location of and materials for our hardscape, as well as the
overall design. We are design dummies and really looking for
input based on the layout of our yard, architecture of our
house (story book tudor), personal needs (we like to
entertain), etc. We are on a budget but at this point we
realize it's probably worth it to engage a very skilled
individual or firm even if it means spending our 2008 budget on
the design plan then implementing it in phases over the next
few years. Can you help? Thanks in advance
I am happy to recommend the Bluhon Planning Group for a project
like you describe. It sounds very similar to our backyard
relandcaping project that they did for us recently. My husband
and I knew we wanted to completely re-do the backyard of our El
Cerrito home but we didn't know exactly where to start. Peter
Bluhon and his team were wonderful to work with. He and his
designer Elise had immediate great ideas about streamlining and
simplifying the space, making it kid-friendly, deer-proof,
drought-resistant and beautiful. Their landscape architectural
design services were great. Our project included new concrete,
patio, minor grading and planting. Peter has a keen eye for
clean, elegant design and can guide the project from start to
finish. His team of workers were highly skilled, warm-hearted
and hardworking. They are licensed landscape architects with a
focus on overall site planning, hardscape, materials, and planting.
You can reach the Bluhon Planning Group at 510-841-3255. Contact
is Peter Bluhon. Feel free to email me if you have any other
questions. Good luck!
We were very happy with Lazar Landscaping, who did exactly the
kind of planning you are talking about. We could only afford
to implement Phase One of the design they did for us, but in
another year or two, we'll have them back to do Phase Two!
Their website has a lot of nice examples of their work.
Help designing and planting a garden
Can anyone recommend a garden expert or landscape designer who would be
willing to work alongside us to put in a garden? We want to do something nice with
our garden but don't quite have the skills & know how. We want to do the
installation, with help, and want to do most of the design, with help, rather than
hand the whole business over to someone else! We'd rather hire someone than lean
on our more garden savvy friends for such a big job. Thank you.
It must be the ''Greening'' of Berkeley and Albany this year: so
many requests for garden help. Once again, I'd like to
recommend Claudia Vieira Garden Design for help with your
garden design, and she is also available for garden coaching.
She can help you design and install the garden of your dreams,
or just help you choose plants, and generally figure out what's
working and what's not in your garden, and how to make it
thrive. She has been helping me in my garden this year with
great results. She can be reached at 510/653-6535 or
cvgardendesign at gmail.com.
I can't say enough nice things about Lara Wilson from
Bountiful Botanicals at http://www.bountifulbotanicals.com/ .
Despite not having any recommendations on BPN, I gave her a
call. She's the best contractor that we've ever had the pleasure
of working with and it gives us hope that there are
indeed great contractors out there.
Lara can be as involved as you want. You mentioned you needed
coaching and would be great for that. She is extremely
knowledgeable about plants and a great communicator/teacher.
Though our yard is relatively small, she invested lots
of time with us. She is genuinely concerned that she was giving
us exactly garden that we wanted and more.
She is even happy to meet with us on weekends (so
rare!).When we couldnmt meet, she e-mailed us extremely detailed
e-mail, which I loved.
One other thing is important when considering a contractor is
Larams prices. Her prices are reasonable and she is
extremely conscientious of staying within our budget.
And if something is higher, she makes every effort to
explore other options and make other suggestions as
We are at the final stages of our front yard makeover
and have gotten so many compliments on it already.
We live in a pedestrian and biker friendly street and
so many strangers have come up to us to say what a
wonderful job Lara has done.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I can share some pictures with
Happy in my garden
I would like to recommend a unique and amazing designer and
gardener, Michelle Bayba. I have never had a gardener like her.
She is knowledgeable about all aspects of gardening, and she
designs gardens as if they were her own. Shems full of energy
and natural creativity. She is personable and fun to work with,
does amazing work, and has very reasonable rates given her skill
A Berkeley native, Michelle knows the local plants and takes into
account the practicality of a garden and how you use it. She
knows how to design a garden from scratch, or as in my case, take
a straggly garden and properly prune it, fill it in with new
plants, nourish them organically, and upgrade the irrigation system.
Since I hired Michelle, she now has four clients just on my
neighborhood block. She has individualized to each of our
needs-- and we are all thrilled.
Native landscape gardener needed
Looking for a landscape gardener who specializes in Bay Area (or
at least west coast) native plantings, but who is also willing
to put in a lawn (native grass?) and can help repair
sprinklers. Saw only one old recommendation online. The
natives part is key here.
My native garden was designed by Claudia Vieira and it is
lovely and flourishing. She is also available for garden
coaching to help you learn to maintain your own garden after it
is installed. 653-6535
In response to your question, I highly recommend Christopher
Shein of Wildheart gardens.
He can be reached at wildheartgardens at yahoo.com or 510-368-2811.
e has over 15 years of experience on the subject. He also
lectures at Merrit College on the subject. I also have personally
worked with him and recommend him highly. His knowledge of
natives is impressive and he also works with edibles and medicinals.
Native plants are so rewarding to grow! The hummingbirds and
butterflies will be most appreciative, and you can look forward
to a beautiful yard. So check out this website:
This is for a local annual native plants garden tour, organized
by Kathy Kramer. The website includes a list of Landscape
Designers who work with native plants. You also might want to
tour gardens (like the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden) featuring
native plants to get some idea about what you might like.
Note that if drought-tolerant native plants are what you like,
after the first year or two you will not be watering them very
often. In that case, you may want to design the yard before
putting a lot of money into fixing an obsolete irrigation system.
Check out Vanessa Kuemmerle at Vee Horticulture.... she does
beautiful work with native and low water plants. I used to work
for a landscape contractor and we installed lots of her designs -
they were all lovely and she's a great person too.
She was featured in the April issue of Sunset!
Re: Searching for a wonderful gardener/landscaper
I can highly recommend highly James Bronson III. He has an incredible eye for
landscape design -- and a way with plants (a friend raves about how her bougainvillea
have thrived since he began taking care of her garden). You can contact him at 544-
9729, or email jbronsonlll at yahoo.com.
Best wishes for your garden project!
Re: Relationship Help - With My Garden
You sound like me. I had gotten tired of relying on
professional help to keep my garden manageable, and even
with professional help and an irrigation system, many of
my plants weren't thriving and I couldn't figure out why.
Claudia Vieira is a landscape designer who has just
recently branched out into garden coaching. She is
helping me learn how to maintain my garden so I will enjoy
it more and not keep wasting time and money on things that
don't work out. In our first session we analyzed
problems, and she showed me how to trim, move, feed, and
adjust water to the plants that were in trouble. Suddenly
I am enjoying puttering in my garden and thinking up
questions for my next session of garden coaching. You can
reach Claudia at cvgardendesign at gmail.com or 653-6535.
Hi - I'm looking for a gardener who I guess also works as a
consultant? I have several smaller garden projects that I want to
do around my house (mainly involving plants) and I'm limited on
funds so I'm trying to do it all myself. What I'm hoping is to
find someone who can come over here and sit with me a couple of
hours and go over all the ideas that I have. I'm just learning
about the gardening world so I want someone who can help me pick
out plants right for my area, talk to me about what's feasible
and not feasible, and really help me come up with a ''plan'' that
would work with my skill ability and also time constraints. I
guess maybe they would charge me by the hour? Anyone have a
recommendation for me?
would-be green thumb enthusiast
I know of a wonderful ''Garden Coach'' named Christine Wiseman. I've seen what she
can do in a garden, on a limited budget, and it's truly amazing. She can help you
your garden; pick out your plants and teach you how to care for your garden and she
can come back as often as you need her too. Christine is also a professional artist
is trained in landscape design so she has a wonderful eye for design and aesthetics.
You can call Christine at 909 908-0868 (she lives in Oakland) or try her email at
Christine at inspiredbynature.com.
Leigh Gronet, of Leigh Designs, does fabulous digital garden
design (you get to see what it will look like before it's
planted). She can also do a design on paper with a key for the
plants for a lower cost. Her website: http://www.leighdesigns.biz
I highly recommend Alisa Seidliz with Loving Gardens as a garden consultant. She
a great deal of experience in planning gardens to honor the feel & use of the space
just for people but also for butterflies, wild life & pets. Alisa helped us figure
to create flow & form for our pathway. She would be an excellent choice to consult
the formative phase of a garden plan & project.
We need someone to help us navigate a garden remodel including lighting, masonry,
water feature, the whole nine yards. We had one person by and did not find it
Has anyone got a recommendation? Actually, I'm not even sure who we need; a
landscape architect? Landscape designer? Our yard is average sized. Anyone out
there had a good experience?
We worked with Matt Hornby, who has a masters in Landscape
Architecture from Cal and does wonderful work with stone (his
specialty). He dealt with irrigation, lighting, etc... The yard
looks amazing. He can be reached at (510) 717-1342 or
matthornby72 at yahoo.com
I highly recommend Jeni Webber (www.jeniwebber.com)! She did my
gardens (frontyard and backyard) and I've been very very happy
with the results. The garden design included a raised patio as
well as a pond. She also took care of the irrigation system.
Truly excellent and lovely work. Jeni is very personable,
knowledgeable and dedicated to native plants and sustainable
When I started to write this post, I had trouble finding the
right way to express how happy our whole family has been with
Julie Gordon Landscaping in Berkeley. Julie redesigned and
transformed our backyard from a depressing, dark space into the
highlight of our house. We used to daydream about selling our
house, but what she did for our yard has made us want to stay,
just so we can enjoy it. And Julie is conscientious, responsive,
on-time, and on-budget. Oh, and she listens to her customers,
too. You will not regret giving her a call (510-507-7373) or
email (julie at gordonscapes.com).
I would really appreciate recommendations for a good landscaper
who can help us achieve our dreams for our yard. We hope to find
someone who specializes in local east bay native plants and can
help us design a garden that is low maintenance and attracts
butterflies and wildlife. All suggestions appreciated!
yard art is a wonderful, small, creative landscaping business
in berkeley/oakland that specializes in hands-on design,
installation and maintenance of gardens and beautiful outdoor
spaces. we worked with them over the fall and loved them! they
create their environments with no chemicals and emphasize
natives and drought-tolerant plants. they also build with
salvaged materials when possible, and the result is a magical,
eco-responsible transformation of your yard without breaking
the bank. this is a mother-daughter team of artisans (dj &
carol). i highly recommend their services. great to work with.
dj's cell is 510-292-1512.
Check out InsideOut, they are local (Berkeley/Oakland), wonderful people, and we were
very pleased with their work. They have a website at aboutinsideout.com or you can
call them at 655-7674.
I would like to recommend Steve Rudy of Rare Earth Landscape.
He has had his business for over 30 years. He is a great person
to work with and his crew is very hard working. His work has
been featured in Sunset magazine. He has great ideas and a vast
knowledge of local plants.
We just finished a fairly large landscaping project with Matt Horn Landscaping (510)
658-6088 and couldn't be more pleased. He and his crew were considerate, flexible,
honest and did a beautiful job. They worked throughout December and January;
often coming to work even when the weather was miserable. Matt is a super nice
guy and very knowledgeable. He advised us on hardscape, built a gate, fence and
sandbox and helped us choose plants/trees and flowers that worked for our space.
He also put in an irrigation system an lighting. They were not the least expensive
bid but they were reasonable and I think we definitely got what we paid for. We
would absolutely hire him again and recommend him highly.
We worked with McCaffrey Brothers landscaping on our back yard project this past
year,. This was our fourth project with Kevin and Darren.
We always get competitive bids, and the McCaffrey's came in near the middle.
Here's what they did for us:
- they evaluated our plans over several sit-downs, and came back with an estimate
that was granular, and where appropriate had several choices for us with expense
- they went to American Soil with us to advise on stone, decomposed granite and
arranged for delivery
- we had daily check-ins where they detailed what had been completed, and what, if
any, challenges came up and worked with us to figure out design changes when
they were needed.
- they cleaned up the yard EVER DAY, leaving it tidy, even though it was under
- they installed an irrigation systems with large feeders, and then trained me on the
installation of drip runs to plants and trees.
- they provided a detailed invoice every week, which Kevin reviewed with us, and at
the end of the project presented us a portfolio of invoices (a copy of everything we
had paid) and a neat and tidy stack of receipts for raw materials, dump runs, and
Anyway, you can contact Darren or Kevin at 510.455.0724 and their web site here:
www.mccaffreybrothers.com, or me and come over and see their work.
We are going to be planting a ''WHITE'' garden on a blank
canvas. We would like to work with trees, shrubs, grasses,
vines, lawn, flowers all in shades of green, and white/cream,
(hostas, jasmine, crepe myrtle), but no color. Has anyone had
experience with a landscaper who is versed in ''moon gardens''?
Moon Garden fan
This isn't a direct answer to your question and you might already know
this...but one of the most famous ''white gardens'' in the world is
that designed by
Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst Castle in England. The following
are links to
photos and plant descriptions of that garden:
This might be additional inspiration and information for your garden!
I'm thinking of removing my front lawn to replace with
natives. I started doing it last fall but got bogged down with
the design. Want to hire consultant who can look at the big
picture to assist me with design; I want to do the work
myself. Any recommendations? Thanks.
To the person looking for help with garden design using native
plants, I know just the person. You can get more information
about Roxy Wolosenko at her website: www.roxydesigns.net
I am responding to the 'native plants garden design consultant
needed' question and the 'need to help plant a vegetable garden
I would highly recommend Christopher Shein from Wildheart gardens
for both questions. He has been planting and teaching about
native and edible gardens for greater than 15 years and also
teaches about the subjects through his permaculture design class
at Merrit College landscape horticulture department. He converted
my lawn into a prolific and beautiful native and edible garden
that is partly on a greywater system. He works efficiently and
with integrity, and I found him to be very knowledgeable about
natives and sustainable landscaping. He can be reached at
510-368-2811. He also has a website at wildheartgardens.com
I recently hired a landscape designer, Sharon Silverman from
Dans Le Jardin L.L.C., who has been gardening in the SF Bay Area
for over 20 years, and provides every level of landscaping
service: garden design, installation, maintenance and garden
coaching (by the hour). She is well-versed in California
native, drought tolerant gardens and has recently installed such
a garden in the front of a home on the Arlington near
Kensington. I know she would love the opportunity to work with
someone like you that is truly interested in learning how to
install and care for onems own garden. Moreover, she has lots
of experience with working on projects in stages, while keeping
the lbig picturen in mind, so I know she would respect your goal
of wanting to have the ultimate design in mind that is to be
achieved over time. She can be reached at 510-851-2203 or by
email at Sharon at danslejardin.com.
check out bayfriendly.org under professional landscapers for
several good folks, most of whom work with natives. good luck!
I'm looking for more recent recommendations for a landscape
architect who can do both hardscape and softscape and who is
reasonably priced. Thanks in advance for your
I'd highly recommend Sarah Ray of the Strada Design group in
Kensington. Sarah designed and installed an elaborate English
perennial garden in my backyard, including tiered rock walls,
and a graveled courtyard and planterbeds in the front of my
house. Both yards were total messes to begin with. I gave Sarah
an idea of what kinds of gardens and plants I liked and a budget
and she came back with several design options for the front and
back yards that were great! She also used great contractors--
especially the person who did the walls. And I was so happy
with the results--beautiful gardens that are becoming better
Sarah can be reached at 510-812-7498 or at
sarahray_stradadesign at yahoo.com. She listens well, does great
design, and aims to please so I highly recommend her.
I was delighted with the landscape design and installation done
by Habitat & Devries. Omar Khorsheed was wonderful to work
with - an amazing artist and it was great to watch his designs
come together and then come alive. 925-279-3006.
I live in Lafayette and have a fairly large backyard in need of
some new life. I'm hopeing to get some ideas and a plan from a
Landscape designer and do the work as we can. Does anyone know
if this can be done by a student (almost finished with school)
from UCB? I thought it might save some $$$ using a student. Any thoughts???
Yard needs love
Merritt College has a landscape design program attended by new
and experienced students. I've posted notices there about need
for landscaping help and have gotten responses. That may be a
better bet for you to get landscape student help.
We are looking for someone to lead us in getting our back yard
together. This would include putting in a sprinkler system and
lawn. Any recommendations?
My wife and I recently relandscaped our backyard in the
Berkeley Hills. We used Strada Design Group 510. 812. 7498 who
was referred to us by our neighbor, whose garden is incredible
by the way. The principal designer and owner, Sarah designed a
really incredible plan incorporating all our needs. Then the
crew broke ground and before we knew it our family had the
garden that we always wanted. I highly recommend the landscape
services of STD!
Pamela Gleason of Gleason Landscaping (510)486-2680, is a
landscape designer who created a beautiful Berkeley garden for
us, and then for several of our friends in Berkeley, Oakland
and Walnut Creek. She was very easy to work with, reasonably
priced, timely, and had a wonderful hardscape contractor who
made us a stone patio and paths. Pamela was very creative and
responsive to our needs, working well with me ( a picky amateur
gardener myself). She works well within budgets small and
large, and helps think through options.Our garden was shady
woodland, but I have also seen her create beautiful sunny
gardens, large and small, with patios, paths or not. I highly
I want to recommend Manuel Garcia, 510-652-5612, for drainage,
landscaping and other yard work. Manuel installed a French
drain in our yard and not only did a wonderful job, but was a
pleasure to work with. He is very knowledgable, and helped me
understand my needs and options. Manuel also does landscaping,
cement and other yard work, and I would strongly recommend him
for any of these kinds of projects.
I would like to highly recommend Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree
Care (510-658-6088). Matt just finished a job for us (August
2007) that included an irrigation system, lawn & plantings,
flagstone patio, concrete stairs, fence, and tree pruning, and
we could not be happier with it. Matt does extremely high
quality work and he and his crew were a pleasure to work with.
He has a really good eye for design, and was able to suggest
several different options for consideration that fit within our
budget. He finished the job within budget despite us having to
make some adjustments to the project along the way. Matt is
extremely professional, friendly, and left the job site clean
every day. If you hire Matt, you will not be disappointed.
I want to update the recommendation for Tony Lau (510-604-3410)
that was first posted in 2006. We found Tony through the BPN
newsletter and were very pleased with our experience. Our yard
was a debris and weed filled mess that we wanted to convert to a
beautiful and kid-friendly space. Tony and his crew cleared the
yard, installed walkways and raised beds, built a playground area
with recycled tire tiles, built a beautiful fence and gate, and
helped us select appropriate plants and ground covers. The result
was exactly as we wished. While Tony gave us great suggestions,
he was very flexible and allowed us to determine what would work
best for our yard, lifestyle, and budget. Tony was very easy to
work with, and hems been great about answering questions that
have come up or giving us advice, even after the project was
finished. Imd be happy to provide more information about our
experience or show you before and after pictures of our yard.
Don't know if anyone is interested/has need in re-doing their
yard, but just saw an acquaintance's new backyard with a play
area for their small child & a stone patio for general outdoor
use. The backyard was virtually un-usable when they moved into
the house, but Bay Area Stone Gardens (Bill Armijo) was able to
make it a very nice place for the whole family. She said that he
asked a lot of questions about what they wanted and was able to
make the yard ''child friendly'' but also adult as they entertain
outdoors in the summer.
Hello. We are looking for a great landscape architect to
collaborate with our pool contractor on our backyard project.
We know this is the pool guy we want to use, but need a
whole 'design' for the yard. We live in Alamo.
Tom Bassett is a fantastic landscape architect. We are currently
working with him on a plan for our entire yard, including the
pool area. (We live in Moraga.) He did our friend's house and
pool and it is fantastic. He is truly an artist and looks at the
yard from all angles, including the view from inside the house,
when designing. I am into gardening and design on an amateur
level, and his ideas and theories were things I had never
considered. He also used to teach landscape design, which I think
is a plus, as it means he has studied various approaches to his
For a landscape architect I recommend Mary Fisher, of Mary
Fisher Landscaping. She is located in Alameda. I bought her
former home, and we are thrilled with the yard! We get raves
from everyone who comes here, Truly beautiful, ecological and
very little care need for the mostly drought resistant native
plants she installed. Good luck!
In the June 15th newsletter someone posted a glowing
recommendation for Mary Fisher. I can only second the praise;
however, no contact information was included, and with Mary's
permission I am posting it: Mary Fisher Garden Design, business
phone 510-409-9857, email mary at maryfishergardendesign.com.
Additionally, Mary asked me to clarify that she is a Landscape
Designer, not a landscape architect.
We just had our front yard designed and installed by Deborah
Kuchar of Green Alchemy. I read about her on the BPN website
and found her website to see some of her work.
www.greenalchemy.com. We wanted to have boulders incorporated
in the design and she works with boulders among other things. I
was sure she would think our job was too small. But in fact,
she was very open to working with us. She came to our house
twice after we agreed to work together. She helped us pick out
the boulders. She was clear, pleasant, and has an excellent
I just wanted to recommend Don Silva Landscaping for anyone who
needs backyard work done. Don is a licensed landscape contractor
and has recently finished re-doing our backyard (along with the
work of Tomi Kobara, landscape contractor).
We were at the tail end of my pregnancy when backyard work began
and the project continued past our delivery date. What could
have been a stressful project, (ie. new to parenting, new baby,
and having backyard work done) was all in all, completely
stress-free. Don and his sons were completely unintrusive. Don
would check-in at the end of the day to give us a head's up
regarding progress or to discuss the next phase of our project.
At the end of each day, Don and his sons made sure to clean up
their job site. I hate to say it, but they kept the exterior of
our house tidier than I normally do.
We would use Don Silva again in a heartbeat. To contact Don
Silva, he can be reached at: 510-685-5175.
I need help drawing up plans for and installing (something!) in
my small-ish backyard in the laurel district of Oakland. For a
variety of reasons, we've never used it much and are now very
interested in making it a place to BBQ/let our toddler play, but
can't even imagine where to begin - we know we want to have some
kind of deck/patio and low-maintenance plants (we also have a
dog), but are at a loss. I think I need a landscape architect,
but don't even know... Any referrals or advice would be
Hi, We have been working with Tomi Kobara, a landscape
architect, since late 2006 on our backyard update/renovation.
Tomi has been amazing to work with. We were in the late stages of
our first pregnancy when we began our backyard renovation with
Tomi. Tomi was very considerate of our situation and she and our
landscape contractor were great at working around our delivery
date. Tomi was great communicating how the designs were going and
keeping us abreast on the project. Tomi also was great at staying
on the time schedule she had originally allotted for the project,
as well as staying within our budget. Overall, it was a wonderful
working with her. Tomi is also incredibly knowledgeable in
regards to plants and was able to create a backyard oasis that
was friendly to both pets and children. Tomi very conscientiously
researched all the plants to make sure that none were poisonous.
We would work with Tomi again in a heartbeat! Tomi Kobara's phone
number is: 510-420-1197
We're looking for an affordable landscape designer for our
house in Lamorinda. Preferably someone who would be willing to
start with a few hours, maybe even a site visit, and help give
us a roadmap. Talk through various ideas.
We have extremely mature landscaping and tons of juniper on one
side of the house, and a brand new boring concrete patio and
gravity block retaining wall on the back. There's no flow or
theme to it and we need some help figuring out short term and
long term plans. We have access to people to do the labor, so
we don't need (and can't afford) to hire a huge landscaping
firm. Most of it we'll end up doing sweat equity over the
years. But we need an idea of what will go where and what
should be our top priorities.
Susan Morrison of Creative Landscape Design is a designer we
hired last year for our property. We are do-it-yourselfers and
wanted a design only so that we can work on our backyard as time
goes on. I highly recommend her because she listened to what we
wanted and provided additional ideas that we did not think about
(eg visual interests, water features, shade, scents, etc.) She
was patient with our many questions, provided hardscape
resources and informed us on what type of work that she
recommends contracting out (concrete work and a landscaper who
usually gets plants at wholesale prices). I believe we paid
under $2000 for a site visit, a draft in which we could make
changes, and a completed plan with a legend indicating which
plants, how many and where to plant them, the type of tiles she
If interested, you can view her website at
She works out of Concord but drove to El Sobrante to where we
live to assist us.
I want to highly recommend Andy Lenz for your garden
consultation. Our garden was a juniper infested nightmare. Andy
was just incredible to work with --and we now have a beautiful
multi-purpose yard complete with flower boxes, a swingset he
built himself and lots of secret corners for the
kids. We spoke with MANY people -- and Andy was a one-stop
shop -- he designed the garden, completely gutted what was
there, built new supporting walls and two staircases, chose all
the plants, installed the sprinkler system, etc. Andy is
creative, responsive, very reasonably priced and fun to work
with. He had great references and many repeat customers
including us. He has been back to check on his
work many times and works with us around maintenance and
Please be in touch with me if you want more details on his work
or if you want to see before/after photos. To reach Andy --
email enzand at hotmail.com
Looking for a person who could transform our overgrown sloping
front yard into a colorful garden with irrigation system and a
Creative gardener needed. No building involved. Ideas and
planting skills only.
All previous listed are too big for our small project.
You need Estelle Solomon Landscaping, 510-334-9697.
Email: estsol at pacbell.net
She's a genius in the garden, and has years of experience.
I am thinking of hiring Mr.Andreas Flache,Landscape Architect
to design a garden and maybe even install it with a contractor
he works with. I would love to hear from anyone who has worked
with him. When I met him I loved his enthusiasm and energy,
but as we have never worked with an architect before I don't
know quite what to expect.ANY INPUT would be appreciated. Thank
I would also love to hear about any other landscape Architects
you have worked with for a hillside home.
Andreas Flache consulted for us briefly - he was too busy at the
time - but in our short meetings he sketched on napkins really
GREAT IDEAS that became the bones of our hardscape. He is really
a delightful person to work with, who has both grand visions and
Kristin in Berkeley
We've worked with Andreas & his contractor on our hillside home. His designs were
great, we can show them to you if you'd like to see them. We also loved his energy,
he has a passion for what he does and is an artist, which we appreciated. You can
call me to talk more, but to make a long story short, we're happy with the designs,
but only had money to install the hardscapes & trees so far, so we haven't seen the
design in reality. The contractor he works with (Abraham Magana) is awesome. Very
professional, hard working, knows his business, I could go on and on.
I would like to recommend a landscaper with whom we just had a
terrific experience. We got his name from BPN and couldn't be
happier. His name is Kevin Jackson and his number is 306-4713.
He removed a large portion of our concrete patio, replaced a
retaining wall, and installed sod and a sprinkler system. He
was a pleasure to work with. He is very knowledgeable and good
at explaining things, an extremely hard worker, kind, honest,
and fair. The guys who work with him are great too. He also
does gardening and monthly maintenance. Please feel free to
contact me with any questions.
If you are looking for a landscape designer, I would strongly recommend contacting
Claudia Viera. She specializes in sustainable garden design but is also very willing
and able to listen to her client's ideas. I particularly enjoyed our trips to local
botanical gardens and plant nurseries to pick out plants. I found her to be
responsive to my questions and concerns, an overall pleasure to work with and am
very pleased with how our garden has changed and grown since it was first planted.
She can be reached at:
CVGardenDesign at gmail.com
or, (510) 653-6535
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
During the past 14 months, Claudia Vieira has been helping with
our front and back yard landscaping project. She started with
creating a landscaping plan which included our original ideas
and improved it with many of her very creative ideas. She was
involved with selection of majority of the plants most of which
are California natives and also made recommendation for
contractors to install irrigation system (with the intention to
waste minimum water). All of the plants are in place since
November of last year and they look great. Overall we are very
happy with her professional approach to our project, her
creative and dedication in selecting plants that will thrive in
Berkeley and also her follow up to make sure the pants are
getting established well. Overall I recommend her services to
cvgardendesign at gmail.com
I am pleased to recommend Abbey Kletz of Landscapes for her
amazing garden design talents. She transformed my unsightly
yard into a paradise. She has worked in the Bay Area for many
years and has left a beautiful mark on the landscape. She also
works with a very talented installation crew who was unbelievably
hardworking, timely and meticulous. The entire project was a joy
and I look forward to seeing the garden grow. See Abbey's
website at www.abbeykletz.com or email her at dookiea at aol.com
I just felt compelled to recommend Strada Design group to anyone looking for
landscaping help. In searching out the right person to design our backyard I
interviewed a number of companies ( I had had a spate of bad luck - or bad choices
in hiring a house painting contractor and was determined not to make that mistake
again)My experience working with Sarah Ray was such a welcome change. The
result is breathtakingly beautiful and was clearly the result of a well thought vision
backed by a lot of experience and knowledge. This was not a small project and I
was impressed by her forethought in terms of irrigation, lighting and keeping it
something that was not a nightmare to maintain. The cost was reasonable, on
budget and relatively glich free. I am so grateful for a successful and stressfree job
well done I felt I should at least share my good fortune. My yard is incredible. Strada
Design Group 510 812 7498...ask for Sarah!
Another happy customer!
I would like to add a recommend for Matt Hornby Landscape Design and
Construction. We decided to
use him after reading another recommendation on BPN and had a very pleasant
Matt did our garden on Rose Street in Berkeley and he did a wonderful job. We had a
good idea of
what we wanted for the site: flagstone and gravel pathways, stone walls, irrigation,
and of course planting. Matt was very quick to make our vision his own, explained
possible and what wasn't and also helped us achieve what we wanted within our
budget. He is very
knowledgeable and helped with the right plant selection
We were particularly happy that he broke down all costs for us which gave us a good
where the money went.
We are now enjoying a beautiful garden thanks to Matt. Contact: 510 717 1342 and
email: matthornby72 at yahoo.com
Can anyone recommend a reasonable landscape designer for a back
yard of approximately 35 x 40 feet? We don't have the
wherewithal to do everything at once, so we need someone who's
good at phasing a project and keeping costs down.
Call Leigh Gronet at Leigh Designs. She is in Berkeley and can
even show you a digital rendition of what your landcaping would
look like. leigh at leighdesigns.biz 510-559-6969.
www.leighdesigns.biz. Good luck!
I would highly recommend Theresa ''TC'' Donovan. She has done two
large projects for us over the past several years, and a smaller
one. She does large and small projects. Here's what I said for
TC designed and installed three gardens for my husband and me.
The first comprised the entire front yard of our first house. We
sold this house at a nice profit, thanks in no small part to the
beautiful, imaginatively-styled garden. She also designed and
built the front and back gardens of our current house. She
possesses great talent as a designer, and a great font of
gardening knowledge. TC considered all of our needs in creating
our gardens. She designed them in a way that paralleled the
historic style of the house. Thanks to TC, our gardens also
provide a safe and structured play area for our children, while
at the same time incorporating our interest in growing flowers
and vegetables. TC also quickly and efficiently installed the
gardens once we had decided on a plan. I feel very connected to
these gardens because TC listened carefully to my ideas and
preferences and worked with me on the design and plant selection.
Our front yard is old fashioned and structured, has small box
shrubs, and two varities of hydrangeas, and it fits perfectly
with our Victorian house. The back yard is a European style
country garden with a grape arbor that actually produces grapes,
an olive tree, lemon and lime trees, raised vegetable beds,
roses, and many other beautiful plants from a color palette of
white, purple and pink (and our house is in the middle of a
city!). Recently a friend visited for lunch and said she felt as
though she were in Tuscany. TC's partner Keni possesses great
talent as a stone worker. We have a beautiful wall made of
recycled cement, as well as a stone patio. Finally, TC's
easygoing manner makes it a pleasure to work alongside her. She
listens well, and responds quickly to problems. My family and I
have been delighted with her work, and recommend her highly
We have excellent plans (construction detail) for a large
landscape renovation job on a 1.5 acre property. The job will
include concrete work; building new retaining walls;
constructing a floating deck; and installing irrigation,
plantings and lights. Can anyone provide a recommendation for
a professional firm that can follow plans, do top-notch work,
and can stay within budget?
I know a wonderful landscaper. Steve Capper at Wild Rose
Gardens and Ponds. 510.326.5619. www.wildrose4u.com.
wildrose at comcast.net
We currently have a big weed problem, gaps where dead plants
exist amidst our plantings, and portions of our lawn are dead.
We hired Rare Earth Landscape for a job and though we purchased
maintenance-free landscaping (as they described), we've spent
countless hours spraying and pulling weeds (we still have a big
weed problem months later). In addition, several of our key
plants that were put on irrigation are dead. During the job,the
company's employees left sharp tools/nails on our property
(including our front steps, driveway) repeatedly which left us
constantly concerned about safety for our children. When we
asked for improvements/changes based on miscommunications, they
readily made the changes without mention of any fee, but we
were billed a hefty bill afterwards beyond the estimate.
Giving Landscape Advice
Someone recently (anonymously) complained about work by Rare Earth Landscapes. I'm
wondering -- is this person talking about the San Francisco firm (which I think has
since had to change its name) or the ''real'' one in El Cerrito? Some clarity would be
appreciated! When I passed this negative review along to the El Cerrito firm, they were
shocked and very worried (and wondered if the writer might've been referring to the SF
company). I would be very surprised if the listed complaints were about the east bay
I just have to comment on an earlier reply to this topic. The
respondent said they understood that they had
purchased ''maintenance-free landscaping''. Just as a warning to
unsuspecting homeowners who are interested in installing a
landscape but who don't have any gardening knowledge, unless
you are paving your garden in concrete, there is no such thing
as a landscape that doesn't require maintenance. If someone
you're interested in hiring tells you that there is, then
promptly show them the door. I'm speaking as someone who had a
booming garden design and maintenance business in Berkeley and
environs for 20+ years. There are definitely different levels
of maintenance starting with ''low'', but never ''no''
I would like to add a recommend for Matt Hornby Landscape Design and
Construction. We decided to
use him after reading another recommendation on BPN and had a very pleasant
Matt did our garden on Rose Street in Berkeley and he did a wonderful job. We had a
good idea of
what we wanted for the site: flagstone and gravel pathways, stone walls, irrigation,
and of course planting. Matt was very quick to make our vision his own, explained
possible and what wasn't and also helped us achieve what we wanted within our
budget. He is very
knowledgeable and helped with the right plant selection
We were particularly happy that he broke down all costs for us which gave us a good
where the money went.
We are now enjoying a beautiful garden thanks to Matt
We had a pretty major amount of work to do to our front yard but
kept getting really expensive bids. We knew what we wanted but
didn't know who could do the hardscape work we needed. ISIDRO
GONZALEZ came to our rescue. He and his crew not only did all of
the earthmoving and retaining wall work that we needed, he ended
up putting down a beautiful walkway (we used pavers) that we were
going to have someone else do. We couldn't be happier with the
work. He also has a garden maintenance business which our
friends use and they are very happy with his service. I cannot
recommend him enough for landscaping/hardscaping work. ISIDRO
I also can't say enough about Mike Mulholland at THORNHILL
NURSERY. Mike spent a great amount of time with us, helping us
work through our project and then plan and plant the plants and
groundcover we needed. He also led us to a really great and
reasonably-priced fellow who did our irragation work. Mike
Mulholland/Thornill Nursery 510-339-1331
Feel free to e-mail me with any questions
We are looking for recommendations for a landscape designer, to
draw plans and possibly manage a project to rebuild a patio
area with various steps and walls. We have called and emailed
a number of designers recommended by BPN in the past, but none
have returned calls. So we would prefer someone who may be
genuinely interested in the opportunity vs a very experienced
and busy landscape architect or designer
I am not sure if she really focuses on patios or hardscapes, but
you might want to contact Leigh Gronet of Leigh Designs. She
has a wonderful tool where she can show you digital renditions
of her designs. Her contact information:
leigh[at]leighdesigns.biz / www.leighdesigns.biz / 510-559-6969. Good
We just completed landscaping and patio work in our backyard.
The work was done by Gordon & Whyte (510) 507-7373. Initially, we
were just looking at having a small patio replaced but, Julie who
has incredible vision, had some great ideas of ways to modify
areas of our yard that we had never considered. I found Julie to
have a genuine intuitive understanding of the client's design
needs and what would work in the yard. Brian is exceptional in
his stone/patio/pathway work. They were also very open to reusing
materials we already had in the yard and modified our existing
sprinkler system to reduce the amount of water we were using.
Brian and Julie were both wonderful to work with. If they haven't
called you back I would try them again. Recently, it took Julie
a few days to get back to me on another job we're thinking of
using them for - but once I heard from them they came right out
to look over the project and get an estimate to me. We're
thrilled with the work they did for us.
I would like to recommend Julie Dawson for Landscaping and gardening. She has done work for
me now for over 7 years, and is hard working, efficient, reasonably priced, and has an
incredible creative vision for what to do with the yard space. Her work is whimsical yet
practical, and she is great at making things beautiful!! She LOVES what she does, and I
can't say enough good things about her!!! She is now taking new clients and can be reached
Hi ~ I just wanted to let people know about a good garden designer in the East Bay named
Michael Sasso. As a landscape designer myself, I have known Michael for many years,
initially through his reknown plant nursery business in San Francisco (Potrero Gardens), and
now as a fellow Oakland resident and fellow designer.
I highly recommend his services, which range from hourly consultations to fullscale design
plans. His number is 510-891-0353, michaelwsasso[at]hotmail.com.
I used the services of Matt Horn Landscaping in San Anselmo --
excellent work -- know-how for French drainage fix, beautiful tree
trim in front of picture window with artful openings for views,
plant knowledge and recommendations. They were reliable, fast, and
left the place looking great.
I'd like to recommend a landscape designer we consulted whose name is Sequoia, at
We are beginners at gardening and needed help making a plan to transform our nasty
dead front yard area. For a very reasonable price Sequoia sat down with us and
explained the basics of gardening and drew up a timeline of what we should do and
Since then she has been very conscientious about answering our crazy questions
whenever we call her. Now we have the beginnings of a lovely garden!
Matt Horn has done extensive landscaping & construction on my
football-field size lot in Alameda. He removed & replaced a
badly damaged lawn, installed drip & sprinkler irrigation, built
from scratch a custom fence & arbor. He did extensive design and
planning with us. He & his crew were professional, reliable &
honest. At the end of the day he left no mess. We could not be
happier with his work and will use him in the future for the
construction of a garage & renovation of our dock on the Alameda
lagoon. You can reach him at Matt Horn Landscaping 510 658 6088.
I am very pleased to recommend Claudia Vieira for creative landscape design projects. She
listened to my ideas and came up with beautiful designs for our front and back gardens,
including many California native plants. She is expert in native plants that do well in
East Bay gardens. Her plant lists include internet links that enabled us to see plants
that were not available yet in local nurseries. Call her at 510-653-6535.
I would like to heartily recommend Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree Care (510-658-6088).
Matt Horn and his team build patios and decks, do cement work, all tree care needs,
and incredible landscaping design. Matt Horn works with true integrity and
communication, and is 100% reliable. He is clean, efficient, and performs the highest
quality of work. He completely renovated my backyard, and I have had the highest
respect for him since the first day he started the project. He shows up when he
claims he will, is very efficient and communicates each part of the project with truth
and clarity. His final product is artistic, sustainable, and beautiful in appearance
and structural design. Please call him first when planning any outdoor work.
I highly recommend Matt Horn Landscaping (415) 460-5225 for any landscaping,
irrigation, or deck work that you might be considering. We found him here on the BPN
last summer and hired him to build a deck, create terraces in our very steep yard, and
provide an irrigation system for the terraces and lawn. He was the only landscaper
who returned our calls immediately and was happy to take on a job that other
landscapers had deemed too small (less than $70,000). His initial estimate of the cost
never changed - it was exactly what we paid in the end. He kept us regularly updated
on progress and always asked for our input before proceeding if he encountered
unexpected issues. And he takes pride in the quality of the work and will go the
extra mile to make sure the end result meets his high standards.
Wanted to give a recommendation of jimdouglas landscapers. They did an outstanding
job transforming what formerly was a bunch of festering bermuda grass, tired and dying
bushes and woody old rosemary into a way more interesting, diverse and drought
tolerant front yard with rocks, and added a path too. They planted it a few months
ago so now with all the rain we've been having recently it looks really incredible.
It's nice to have a front yard I can feel proud of, and a whole lot easier to maintain
than a lawn (which is nice because as a parent of two small kids I don't get as much
time to work in the garden as I would like...) Jim and Douglas were friendly,
knowledgeable, easy to work with, and reasonable too. You can reach them at
Just wanted to let you all know that I've seen a few really great gardens lately done
by Matt Horn.He has a good eye and is committed to delivering a great product on
time.Clients appreciate his attention to detail and hard work ethic.His phone number
is 510 589 2979
I hired Matt Horn to do some tree trimming based on the multiple positive reviews from
the BPN network. Sadly my experience was not great.
When you hire someone to do any type of work, make sure you follow the these rules:
1. Get multiple bids no matter how much you are constrained for time or how nice the
contractor might seem.
2. Be very clear and write down the agreed upon project scope (i.e. what is to be
3. Be there when the work is being done to make sure what you agreed to in writing is
actually done how you want it.
Now you can read what you want into the above common sense items (and I knew better),
but that's not why I am submitting this review.
When Matt gave me a bid, he said it would take 3 hours to do the work. The work he
did was at a property where I am having a remodel being done. The contractor's
foreman doing the remodel was gone for about an hour. In that time Matt came, did his
work, and left. The contractor's crew said Matt was there maybe 30 minutes. When I
asked Matt about this he claimed he was there for over 2 hours. Matt's bid was not
cheap. However, I went along with it because, while expensive for 3 hours of work, I
was kind of in a bind and needed the work done. I felt that he misled me in a
(successful) effort to sucker me into giving him the job at a higher rate.
An ethical contractor will give you a fair price regardless of your situation. Matt
did not do that, rather he took advantage of the situation.
Part of the reason he finished so quickly is he did only half the work I expected.
As the owner of Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree Care, I'd like to respond to a
negative review of the tree care portion of my business which was posted in the
March 30 newsletter. I'm a landscape designer and contractor and a certified
arborist with a B.S. in forestry and 15 years experience working in Berkeley and the
East Bay. I've been gratified by the number of positive reviews I've had on this
site over the years.
If you read the review, you'll recall the client objected to the amount of time I
spent on a small tree job. For the record, I don't work by the hour. I made that
clear to this client, as I do with every client. I bid jobs and if a bid is
accepted, I do the job professionally and completely. The only reason I mention the
time a job might take is to give the client and other workers onsite information for
their planning and safety. My bids are reasonable and competitive with those of
other local arborists.
Tree work is somewhat a matter of interpretation, and miscommunications about the
scope of work can sometimes occur. Ultimately, what matters is the quality of the
job and whether the client is happy with the result. In this case, when the client
called with a concern, I immediately went back and worked with him until he was
satisfied. I was paid for the job, and left apparently on good terms. Imagine my
surprise when his review was forwarded by a friend. I can only assume he wrote it
the first night, before giving me a chance to respond and address his concern.
I sincerely hope this review has not damaged my credibility with this network, as
I've been happy to serve this community for many years and look forward to many
Matt Horn, 510-658-6088
I have just had such a great experience with re-doing my garden that I wanted to share this information. I had an uninspiring small backyard, partly covered in cement with which I thought I couldn't do much. Andrea of Mariposa Gardening & Design designed and installed a complete garden overhaul for me which has made the space vastly more inspiring, useful, and beautiful. She did a wonderful job of figuring out how to use the space to look fantastic and be useful. I have 3 garden roomsn in a really tiny California Courtyard. I have the morning coffee break area, a dining area, and a lounge. I also have a 6 year old daughter, and Andrea has a way of incorporating play spaces into the overall design that are seamless, and don't interfere with the way I want things to look. She has a great sense of the plants, and is extremely knowledgeable. She has a terrific design sense, and reasonable rates. She will craft a drawing, as well as do a majority of the installation herself.!
She hires helpers on an as needed basis. You can check out her website, www.mariposagardening.com. Andrea's many years of experience designing gardens really shows in her craftsmanship and attention to detail. I recommend her to anyone ready for a change in your garden.
We recently hired Matt Horn to do some landscaping and deck work for us and were very pleased with the results. We originally got his name from BPN, so I wanted to update the archives to say that Matt Horn continues to provide high quality work and great service. Matt is a licensed landscape contractor and certified arborist.
We hired Matt in Summer 2005 to build terraces in our steep lawn, provide an irrigation system, and build a new deck behind our house. Our job was turned down by a couple other landscapers who considered it too "small" (ie. less than $70,000). Matt was the only landscaper who returned our calls promptly. He visited us right away to give us an estimate, which was VERY accurate and was EXACTLY what we ended up paying. When he decided to add some work to improve the overall quality of the job, he did not charge us for it. Specifically, he was going to simply resurface our old deck because we were adding a ramp. But when he saw that the new surface wouldn't match the railings, he replaced all the railings as well, giving us a whole new deck at no extra charge.
The quality of his work is excellent and he is a pleasure to work with. My only criticism is that he can be a bit absent-minded. For example, he forgot that we had requested a gate on the back deck - luckily we noticed and were able to remind him (by showing him the contract). He apologized and immediately had the gate built. I would highly recommend Matt for any outdoor work you are considering. Matt can be reached at (415) 460-5225.
We live in Berkeley near the Claremont Resort, and have been looking for someone to demo and level our small front yard (currently ivy), and to build a rock retaining wall. I have contacted everyone recommended on the site, and no one will respond to my emails or calls. Does anyone have a reliable company/contractor who has reasonable rates that they can recommend for a rock retaining wall and landscaping?
I can recommend a great guy for your retaining wall: Ysidro Gonzalez. Ysidro does a great deal of work with us, as my husband, Rick Alatorre, is a garden designer and installer. Ysidro comes highly recommended. We have been really happy with how he has worked with us and with our clients. His number is (510) 776-4634.
We highly recommend Action Jackson Landscaping. Kevin Jackson is kind, generous, warm, charming, hardworking, trustworthy and just a plain old good guy. He can help you with weekly garden maintenance to major landscaping jobs. His number is (510) 306 4713, tell him Jocelyne referred you.
I would like to recommend the landscaper who is working in our yard right now and is doing a fantastic job. He took over when the first landscaper was incompetent and we were feeling disilllusioned. He redid crooked and unsafe wooden steps by taking them out and reinstalling them. Two other landscapers had said the steps could not be repaired and we needed to start over. From there we had him put in rock walls and pathways so we could have access to our steep backyard. He put in a terrace at the top of the yard so we now have a view of the bay. Also, he built 3 raised beds for vegetables and flowers. He changed our back deck and put in steps down to the backyard. He repaired an old fence to match our other fence. He has installed a beautiful pathway of Connecticut Full Range stone. In the front of our house he put in stone steps up the hill to the gate, a pathway so we have access to our planting bed and he changed the shape of our lawn so it has a beautiful rounded shape and put in 2 raised planting beds along the side of the lawn. Our front decks had several areas where the wood had rotted and he repaired this too. Finally, he installed a drainage system that I will discuss in another email. He is currently covering a cinder block wall with stone. Please contact me if you have questions. He does not have a license (although he is familiar with the building codes) and charges by the day. He and his crew work hard. He is doing the work for much less than the 2 other licensed landscaping bids we got. He can do practically anything in the backyard. He has worked for a prominent doctor for 20 years and his reference was good. I saw 3 yards he built and can recommend his work highly. He is very experienced and an excellent problem solver. Our yard has been a challenge to work in and we are excited and ecstatic about the results. His name is Jose Curiel, 510-821-4270.
I would like to strongly recommend our wonderful landscaper, Tony Lau (510-604-3410). Tony is a young, super bright and friendly U.C. grad who recently helped us plan and install an entirely new front yard, and we couldnmt be happier.
Tony took the entire yard down to nothing and then put in several large boulders, redwood planter boxes, flagstone paths, new sod and many, many plantings of trees, shrubs and ground covers.
Tony worked with us to conceive a beautiful plan for the yard, he knew which of our ideas were feasible, and he made lots of great suggestions. He is knowledgeable about plants and can work with wood, stone and metal. He has a special interest in doing high end wood work and is studying metal work. He is versatile in many types of home improvement, and we found him to be very flexible to incorporating new ideas as our vision evolved. He also worked very well with and around other folks working in the same space. He gave us a very reasonable bid and best of all, he was incredibly sweet and charming to have around.
I would like to heartily recommend Nancy Sale Landscape Design to the BPN. Nancy and her staff are very pleasant to work with and surprisingly affordable. They came in and reworked our rock retaining wall, built a gorgeous set of steps, and embedded a flagstone walkway. They also put in a large sitting area "paved" with decomposed granite. They were speedy, always on time, and (again, surprisingly) under budget. We were able to communicate our vision to Nancy and her team took it from there with very little input required from us. We didn't use them for irrigation work, but I know they do this too. Call Nancy at (510) 655-4625 or email her at nancysale at sbcglobal.net
Patrick Cearley is a great landscaper. He recently did a major renovation of our garden that included beautiful stone walls, a flagstone patio and path, new irrigation, new plants and trees, and more. Patrick is a great communicator and a very nice person with whom to work. Patrick is very skilled at "hard-scape" and has a great knowledge of plants and gardens. He completed our project on time and within budget. I highly recommend Patrick Cearley. He can be reached at (510) 569-7959.
Is there a class, maybe through Home Depot or through a comm. rec center or some place else, that would help me learn the basics of landscaping? I'd like to fix up my front yard and I'd like to have a plan before I start tearing things up. I need some pointers and thought attending a class might be a good idea, since I don't really have any experiencing gardening above weeding, mowing the lawn, and watering now and again. Any help is appreciated.
The Building Education Center in w. berkeley teaches such a class. I've never taken it but I've learned a lot from other classes there. http://www.bldgeductr.org/seminars.html 510-525-7610.
I looking for someone to help with plant placement and selection. My husband and I have been slowly renovating our front yard, but we could use some advise with what to plant where. We also need ideas to help create privacy without that hedge look. Ideally I would love someone to go shoppping with me for the plants and then arrange on site. Any recommendations would be appreciated, alot of firms I contacted only wanted huge jobs. Would love a beautiful yard.
Somebody was asking for a Landscape Consultant who also accepts smaller jobs: coincidently, I am right now in the process of renovating my front yard with the help of Rebecca Bogart whom I can highly recommend. Rebecca researched my space, soil, sun light/shadow, etc. and then recommended a new layout and plants which would go with my specific situation and taste. We then went shopping together and are now almost finished planting everything. I am in love with my new front yard! Rebecca has a huge knowledge about plants, layouts and what goes well where in addition to tree trimming, how to get more sun light and overall 'feng shui'. She is an extremely hard worker and totally in love with her work which is her passion. I helped a lot to keep costs down and it was a pleasure to work with Rebecca - I never thought I would like gardening so much!
Rebecca's email address is rbogart[at]sbcglobal.net
Her phone number is (510) 233 6359
We redid our entire yard, transforming it from a dank swamp to an awesome family yard. A summary may benefit others.
People constantly ask for "cheap" referrals. Going cheap or Craig's List is a huge gamble. We did save a ton of money by having my husband serve as project manager and do some of the work. It is a huge time commitment and you must have the skills. If you have neither, and want it done well, you have to pay--no way around it.
We used a designer and a ballpark budget but I did not ask if the designer was capable of designing within that budget. She came up with a design that exceeded our budget by tens of thousands so I wasted the money and had to scrap it because it was too expensive to install. A veteran would have come up with something within my budget. I regret not using Lawrence Fleury.
Tree service: The Forestree Company is competent, has good prices and customer service. Drew was a pleasure to work with.
I cannot say enough good things about Andrew Packer with Acorn Landscaping (915 3720). This guy is honest and competent. His subcontractors are top notch. He is not "cheap" but will do your yard done right.
Shirley Jowell (525-7012) has been a godsend for plant selection and gardening assistance including weeding and other maintenance and planting. She is not a landscape professional but someone who is great at helping busy people keep their yards in shape.
For lawn installation, we were very happy with Mello's Nursery (223-1093). Eddie is an honest guy and he knows lawns.
Peter Mack built our outdoor kitchen and we were very happy. http://www.petermackconstruction.com/
We bought the components from BBQs Galore in Walnut Creek which was great.
Hope this is helpful!
I would recommend Mark Roberts, Roots & Shoots Landscaping 510-482-3236, who just installed an irrigation system in our front yard in Upper Rockridge and put in a new lawn. He and his team also replaced the main water line (from galvanized to copper) while they were trenching. They were flexible as the job changed, expanded, and got more complicated (water line presented problems), were diligent and friendly and priced the job fairly.
Landscape architect/stone mason recommended
I am writing in response to several posts in the April 22 Digest about landscape architects and garden construction teams. We have recently landscaped the side area to our house in Alameda, and Matt Hornby, based in Berkeley, was an incredibly good landscape architect to work with. He is timely, reasonably priced, and a very good communicator. Matt also has extensive experience as a stone mason and has worked on projects big and small througout the East Bay. He is willing to take on small projects as well.
He can be contacted at matthornby72 AT yahoo.com. If you would like more references or to take a look at the brick path and cement driveway he did for us, give me a call.
I'm writing to recommend Lisa Ray of Lisa Ray Landscapes Garden Design. Lisa is an absolute artist, and can do all aspects of the jobs - design, advice, building, planting, maintenance. I've been lucky enough to be a neighbor of hers in the Berkeley flatlands, so I have watched her transform her garden into a palette of colors, textures, scents, and flavors (vegetables and fruits), and I have also appreciated her generosity in sharing her knowledge with those in the neighborhood as we did community projects and individual home projects.
I want to give a recommendation to Gordon and Whyte Gardens, they were GREAT!
I used Julie and Brian for a redesign, and an installation of a patio in my old house. They did a great job helping me decide what i wanted (which is hard)......and once i knew they also did a great job putting in irrigation, a rock patio and a kid/animal friendly garden. They worked in a timely fashion and were very trustworthy. I highly recommend their work to friends, and will use them on our new backyard. Gordon and Whyte Gardens can be reached at 510-681 3552.
Tell them Cris sent you!
I can recommend a wonderful landscaper - Rick Alatorre. I am currently coordinating the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour (a free tour of 55 Alameda and Contra Costa County gardens that are pesticide-free, water-conserving, provide habitat for wildlife, and contain 30% or more native plants). Rick's Richmond garden is on the tour, and it sounds exactly like what you are looking for. You can see pictures of Rick's garden at www.BringingBackTheNatives.net. Look under the "Preview the Gardens" section under "Richmond." If you are interested in seeing Rick's garden you will need to visit the website and register for the tour by April 20. Rick can be reached directly at (510) 234-8175.
Talented landscape designer - creates extraordinary gardens!
I'm writing to recommend Lisa Ray of Lisa Ray Landscapes Garden Design. Lisa is an absolute artist, and can do all aspects of the jobs - design, advice, building, planting, maintenance. I've been lucky enough to be a neighbor of hers in the Berkeley flatlands, so I have watched her transform her garden into a palette of colors, textures, scents, and flavors (vegetables and fruits), and I have also appreciated her generosity in sharing her knowledge with those in the neighborhood as we did community projects and individual home projects.
I would like to highly recommend Tomi Kobara for
landscape design. Tomi worked with us last year on a
complete redo of our back garden and deck. Her design
transformed our backyard into a unique, lush and beautiful
garden spot. Tomi is an experienced landscape architect
with many years of experience and a great knowledge of
plants. She was great at listening to our ideasabout the
feeling we wanted for our outdoor spaces and then knowing
how to make it work. She was super flexible with our
process and always attentive. Tomi is very personable and
respectful. Her estimates were right on and she did a great
job of helping us create just what we wantedand stayed
within our budget. Our garden has grown in beautifully and
QUICKLY. You can reach Tomi at 510-420-1197.
I highly recommend Ubaldo Gonzalez for anyone who wants to create a beautiful garden/yard. Ubaldo is professional and courteous and gets the job done in as promised. Feel free to contact him directly at (707) 863-9244.
I recently saw a recommendation for Lori Palmquist, a landscape contractor who does garden design, installation, and care, in the Berkeley Parents Network. I ended up using Lori for my backyard garden project, and I couldn't have been happier with the process or the product! Lori listened well, was easy to work with, has a great crew, and showed up everyday! on time! until the project was complete. She's an irrigation expert--and just basically did an amazing job with the whole project. She also is very eco-conscious, for instance re-using the large pieces of concrete from my torn out driveway to form paths and raised beds, as well as using the left-over rubble in the underground drainage~ Nothing was wasted that could be used, and nothing was bought when recycled items were available. Lori Palmquist can be reached at 528-3638.
We live in the piedmont pines area and are planning to add a ground level deck to the back and both sides. One side will be both a deck and dog run. I hope to build this myself in stages. We are looking for some one to design the deck,and deliver working plans. Should I look for an architect or a designer. We are at the information gathering stage, any recomendations and advice will be very much appreciated. Thanks
Definitely go with a licensed landscape architect as they can usually
take you several levels beyond what most "designers" can do. I've
found that there is a huge difference between what a landscape
"designer" can offer vs. a landscape architect, after having spent a
lot of money over the years with both types of professionals. A
designer doesn't have to have any schooling in architecture, space
planning, construction, etc. I've found that landscape designers
often come about as folks who've learned on the job or have worked
in nurseries or may have taken a few courses (which of course there
is nothing wrong with this!).Landscape architect takes into account
your specific architecture and how to plan the space for use, to
match your home, how to keep things in "context" with a style,
etc...this aspect I have often found lacking in "designers". Do a
lot of interviews to find out what works best for you. Often
landscape designers are both "designers" and builders, as they can
make more money doing the installation(also there may be more of a
vested interest to do a particular style as well because they can
execute it). Also, landscape architects often only do design only
and can provide comprehensive and detailed "engineering" type,
computerized plans that go a long way when the installation is
occurring and questions are sure to arise, especially if it's a
large or more complicated project.
Goodluck with your search.
Local landscape architect
I wanted to post an unsolicited positive review for my
friend Tomi Kobara who is a talented landscape architect. I recently saw her garden, which she designed and installed
herself, and it is just beautiful. She does design and/or
installation and I've heard that she's reasonably priced.
She's a nice person who would be easy to work with.
phone number is 420-1197.
Edible / Organic Garden Landscaper Recommendation
I have a backyard which used to be primarily weeds and didn't want to
spend a ton of money, I wanted to start a vegetable garden - and do it
without pesticides - but knew little about gardening. I received a
recommendation from this list for Christopher Shein and WildHeart
In addition to landscaping work, Chris gives permaculture courses at
Merritt College and Ecology Center so he had a lot of helpful advice as
far as beneficial plants, which veggies would be easy and difficult to
grow, methods to keep weeds in check without using pesticides,
composting, saving your own seeds for planting the following year,
among other things... I am very happy with my vegetable garden and he
also planted some native plants in the front yard which are a big
improvement over the boring junipers that were there before. I
wholeheartedly want to pass on the recommendation to others - you can
reach him at 510-594-4000 x138 and his website is
I'd like to recommend my friend Victoria Yager, who owns and
operates Avant Gardeners Landscape Design, based in El Cerrito.
She did a consultation for me yesterday and I was really
impressed by her care and attention to detail. She really listened to
what I had to say about my personal needs and preferences
regarding how we use our outdoor space, and she gave me some
wonderful ideas on how to improve the space. She knows about
Feng Shue and also decks and patio materials, etc. as well. Being
a mom, she understands about making a garden kid-friendly too!
She is available at 510/528-2219.
I highly recommend Stylosus, owned by Martie Steele, for
landscape design, installation and garden maintenance. We
used her to fully design and install our new backyard, and
she currently maintains her/our creation. She was the most
reasonable, both in times of money and attitude, of all the
people we interviewed. Martie is a great person to work
with: she knows her stuff, has high energy, is creative,
enthusiastic, extremely friendly and both flexible and
accommodating. Specifically, she guided us in the design of
our yard, the removal of the old matter and unwanted trees
and plants, the construction of a redwood deck and patio
and a stone walkway, the choosing and placement of plants
and trees to meet our needs and wants and the installation
of an irrigation system. During the long process there
were many decisions to be made, so we spoke often. Martie was always charming, understanding and most of all helpful
and productive. Her work - from the drafting table to the
soil - was outstanding. She is great at balancing being
the expert and allowing you to develop and express your own
ideas of what you really want the end product to look and
feel like. She is well worth her reasonable rates. 510-
I cannot speak highly enough of Hugo Schmidt from
Claremont Landscaping. He finished a job for me this
spring. He was referred to me by a Berkeley parent when I
posted a message requesting landscape contractors. Last
November, I began the process of deciding whether I wanted
a landscape contractor, designer or architect. After
interviewing several people, I decided to go with a
contractor. I selected Hugo because he was always
punctual for our appointments and had lots of experience.
I checked out a couple of his references, and they were
glowing. It also turned out that he had the lowest bid.
His crew is very hard working. He was very responsive to
my requests. They worked on my job 6 days a week,
including rainy days. I have hired a lot of household
contractors, and Hugo is by far the best.
Here's an example of his willingness to assist: A few
days before he began work on my house, a small fountain of
water suddenly appeared in the middle of my backyard law.
I suspected it was from a leak in a pipe. I was
distraught because I had to have the water to the entire
house turned off and it was the Saturday of a three day
weekend. Not sure what to do, I called Hugo and he
happened to be in his office. I asked him if he could
send someone out on Monday to try to fix the problem. I
expected to live without water for two days. He said that
it was unacceptable to live without water for two days.
(I have two small boys.) He said he would send someone
over right away. Literally 10 minutes later, I got
another call and it was Hugo asking where the water valve
shut off was. His crew was already in my backyard and
trying to fix the problem. I have never had such service
from a contractor.
His number is 510/524-0500. I would be happy to talk in
greater detail, if you are interested. Esther
I saw in the archives one recommendation for Andreas Flache
(landscape design). Has anyone else used him? Any comments
helpful. Thank you!
Andreas is the landscape architect we are using for our
home, and I think he is truly remarkable. I want to thank
the person who originally posted a recommendation for
him on this list, because we feel so lucky to have him!
He is extremely talented, creative, and thorough, as well
as very professional and conscientious. We were totally
blown away by the drawings and plans that he came up
with for our yard. They were amazing and very original.
He is also a nice, easygoing person. I can't say enough
good things about him!
member of the fan club
We are a N. Berkeley family that needs a good landscape
design that can be implemented in stages (for cost
reasons) and that needs to take two factors into major
consideration: we are a gardening illiterate couple w/o
time or interest to really learn how; and we have two
young children so play space, and the realities of family
life and wear and tear need to be considered. We can mow
and trim -- but spending more than 1-2 hours/weekend is
too much; and we could invest our time in 2-3 big weekend
clean-ups through-out the year, but we also need help
learning what to trim when, and how, etc. I have talked
to some designers -- and although I think they could
create beautiful designs -- I don't think they
really ''got'' these limitations. I'm sure the right person
is out there....
Hi Bryson -
I used a consultant who I was very impressed with. His name
is Sean O'Hara, and his e-mail is sean[at]gimcw.net. I know
he has raised kids of his own and currently has an ongoing
project doing a landscape around the grade school his
children previously attended in Berkeley (a bilingual
When he worked with me I was pleased that he felt that
creating a landscpe in phases was actually a very good way
to do it (I'm doing my own in this way for financial reasons
and he gave me good inscruction abou how to do this!).
His training is originally in the arts, so he has a great
eye for form, color, space, texture, etc. He is also VERY
knowledgeable regarding plants that are suited to our local
climate. He strongly beleives in creating gardens that are
really new ecosystems that help sustain themselves rather
than depend upon lots of artifical maintenance effort. He
told me that coosing the right plants for the right places
is far more effective at reducing resource consumption and
maintenance costs than any other approach.
He also serves as chair of the local branch of the
Mediterranean Plant Society, and speaks around the Bay Area.
You can also look at the web site he does for the above
society www.mediterraneangardensociety.org. I hired him
after hearing him speak at the garden show in San Francisco
- now I am converted to gardening according to our wonderful
mediterranean climate (the reason we moved to the bay area
in the first place!).
Sean A. O'Hara
Give Deborah Kuchar a call. You can find her contact
information at www.greenalchemy.com. I really enjoyed
working with her on our backyard, mostly because she is a
good listener. Someone recently posted about a recent
experience with a landscape company --- work they thought
they were paying for was not part of the bid and
communication with the owner did not get filtered down to
the actual workers. You will not find this to be the
case with Deborah and for this reason we will be asking
her back when it's time to landscape our front yard. Her
bids were clearly detailed and whenever we added or
deleted an item she'd revise the bid and it would be in my
email box the very next day. She has a great relationship
with her installers and they are in close contact when she
For those looking for a local landscaper/gardener, look
into Amber Menzies (219-9863). She does planning & design,
plant selection, and a great job at installation. She did
our entire property last year (you can check out at 2821
College Ave), and we saw some others before she did ours.
We are extremely happy with the results. And she was very
We would like to completely redesign our landscape, which
includes a very large deck, with a small pool built into
the deck. The deck is old and needs to be completely
rebuilt. Since the house is on a steep slope, our deck is
our only outdoor living space and our only access to
almost 1 acre of land. The current design is a nightmare
as well as a safety hazard for our 1 yr. old daughter. There is a small level side yard that we would like to
make more usable too. We are looking for a landscape
architect who has tackled awkward lots like ours before. Thanks for your recommendations.
I am interested in finding someone to plant our garden and
possibly do some irrigation work and fencing as well. We
the design, we now just need it installed. Reliable,
knowledgeable and on the less expensive side preferred. Thanks!
We are looking for a landscape architect to help
us ''remodel'' our backyard, side yard, and front area. It
will require (at least) irrigation, lighting, laying lawn,
pulling up concrete, building fences, building deckspace,
putting in electricity (for a hottub, which we want to add
as part of this project), etc. The area is already nice,
but we want to make it GREAT. We want someone who is
creative, and can design a plan for the *whole* space
(thinking about flow, capitalizing on using all the space,
making it the best in outdoor living for adults and kids,
and also paying consideration to safety). We have decided
that it is worth it to us to invest some real money into
this project, and we want someone who is excellent (that
said, it'd be even better if that person was also at least
somewhat sensitive to cost). We have called people who are
recommended on the UCB parent archives, but it is seeming
like maybe our job is a little bigger in scale than their
experience (we may really need an actual landscape
architect). We need someone who has experience doing total
remodels of large outdoor spaces (including potentially
designing and/or building structures). I think it will be a
fun project -- the area is already nice, we want someone to
work with us to make it fantastic!
Note: a recommendation for someone you have worked with
personally is the most meaningful to us. Thanks!
In the Feb. 12, 2004 digest, there were a couple of request
for recommendations for landscapers who could a) replace an
existing irrigation system and b) cope with a hillside
As I have done many times, I unreservedly recommend Andy
Packer of Acorn Landscaping (510/915-3720). We've worked
with Andy extensively over the past five years, since we
moved into our hillside house in Upper Rockridge. We did a
small project in our front rock garden initially (installing
an irrigation system), and then--when we were finally ready
to tackle the jungle in the sloping back yard--we called on
Andy to level the area (into three different flat sections);
install a lawn, flower beds, mulch paths, and a second
irrigation system; build a fence, a vegetable box, and three
sets of stairs; and create a freeform stone patio. On top of
all that, when an anonymous smash-and-run driver backed into
and toppled the low, circa 1939 brickwork ''fence'' along the
top of our front yard, Andy took it upon himself to fix
that, too. (He thought we'd have a tough time finding a good
mason who would get around to squeezing such a small job
into his or her schedule.)
In all respects, Andy is great.
And as a PS--If you want to view his work, you can email me
for our address.
A good person for you to contact is Gina Chavez. She's a
landscape designer with a degree in landscape
architecture. Her contact information is as follows:
E-mail: gchavez at bottomleydp.com
I talked to a landscape architect when I was getting my
back yard redone 1 and 1/2 years ago and she said that
unless you are building some serious structures back
there, to just use a landscaper instead.
I did, and used Tamar Carson Landscaping and got a superb
backyard. I have a beautiful brick and mexican tile patio,
great plantings, an attractive low wall with blue bottles
incorporated into the wall itself (it looks very cool). I
would call the theme ''Mexican/Mediterranean''
Tamar is fun to work with, very creative, has a fantastic
eye for color and is happy to work with your vision. Her
husband and business partner, Rogelio, is intelligent and
technical--they make an excellent team. She gave me a back
yard that was even better than I had hoped for. Tamar
Carson Landscaping, 654-8242
Tamar Carson Landscaping is a terrific, full-service
landscaping firm -- design, installation, patios,
irrigation, walls, water. Incredibly responsive and
responsible, beautiful, innovative designs. (You can
see many of their beautiful gardens around the area,
especially in Berkeley.) I believe they'll do design-only
if you like. Contacts are Tamar Carson & Rogelio
Giron, 510-654-8242. Susan
I would like to recommend Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree
Care, located in Rockridge. Matt created my beautiful
backyard from scratch, including a flagstone patio,
pathways, grass and border plantings. In addition, he
installed an irrigation system, and built a fence and
gates to enclose the entire yard. I was really looking for
one person to do the whole project, instead of doing them
piecemeal. I couldn't have been happier, having chosen
Matt. He was creative, hard working, timely, meticulous,
and sensitive to my slim budget. (For example, while he
originally suggested an arbor, to divide up the space, I
couldn't afford this. Therefore he selected plantings that
would grow tall to create a natural screen.) Most of all,
he is friendly and a joy to work with. I recommend him
highly--feel free to use my name. Matt Horn Landscaping:
We used Lawrence Fleury to design our front and back
yards, and they are both beautiful and functional for
everything we wanted to do (kids play area, vegetable
garden, wider paved driveway, etc.) I often stop to
admire how good the design of my yard is. His number is
(510)452-9161. Feel free to contact me for a reference.
I'd like to recommend Andreas Flache (Berkeley, tel 845-
4129) for landscape architecture and design. I'd searched
for almost a year, interviewing various people, looking at
different gardens, until I found someone as excellent as
Andreas. Andreas has a masters degree in landscape
architecture, is very professional and knowledgeable, is
very reasonably priced (we got a lot for our money), and
was very easy to work with. He designed a gorgeous
courtyard garden for us in a challenging/difficult space
that was otherwise unusable. Though he works on huge
estates in napa and elsewhere now (his work is in magazines
also), he didn't mind working on our smaller project. His
high quality work included a set of detailed plans,
including a to-be sketch from different angles, detailed
plant, drainage, and lighting design, etc. It turned out
absolutely amazing, and we couldn't have found anyone with
a better eye for blending garden with our home's
architecture and making our space usable and beautiful.
Hugo Schmitt from Claremont Landscaping will help you
envision your backyard plan. He also will separate costs
out, so that you can decide what you do or don't want to
do, based on price. Also, if you decide you can do some
of it on your own, he will help you with that. He can be
reached at 510-524-0500.
I highly recommend Lilley Faurot Landscape Design. They
did a wonderful job on a big project on my backyard. I get
effusive compliments on it whenever I have guests over.
Their website is www.lilleyfaurot.com or email
maxi at lilleyfaurot.com.
We want to redo our steeply sloped Kensington backyard. We
have an ivy-covered hillside behind our backyard patio that
we want to turn into a terraced garden with paths and a
water feature. We need help with both design and
installation. A landscape architect would probably be best
because the retaining walls will definitely have to be
engineered. Also, we have two young children so we want a
design that's kid-safe and kid-fun. Any suggestions?
A person was writing about landscaping her steep yard.
Although she is not a landscape architect, I know Tamar
Carson has worked on steep yards doing some fantastic
She and her crew did my sloping backyard and it turned out
absolutely fantastic. She has a three year old, so has a
good idea about landscaping for children, as well as a
great eye for color. She took my weedy, ugly, overgrown
mess and turned it into a unique, attractive, easy to
maintain masterpiece. She and her husband work together,
they have their own crew and she comes in on the budget
that she quotes you.
I have nothing but praise for her work and you should talk
to her to see if you REALLY need a LA to do your work.
Tamar Carson Landscaping. 654-8242
We used Rare Earth Landscaping to design and re-landscape
our very hilly and difficult front yard. We found their
work and service to be excellent and definately would
recommend them. The result was beautiful. Even more
importantly - their follow-up on a problem we had with our
irrigation system was very responsive (follow-up on
repairs/mistakes with other contractors we have used has
not been as good!).
Without question, the nicest work I have seen done in our
neighborhood was done by Gary Lazar Landscape Architect
Company. He's done at least two amazing jobs in our
community alone and I've seen him personally talking with
the owners of the property at least once or twice per
week, during the job, to ensure they were getting exactly
what they wanted. He can be reached at (510) 444-5195.
Oakland Hills Resident
I used Rare Earth for a small backyard project - included
irrigation system and complete lawn overhaul - installation
of small turf yard and plantings on perimeters. We were
very satisfied - work was done professionally and quickly
by a competent and courteous crew - great crew foreman.
Steve Rudy worked with us around a tight budget and
remained responsive throughout, revising bid a few times to
meet our needs.
I would highly recommend the Landscaper that did our yard, Matt
He's a really nice guy and very professional. He was always on time and
his estimated cost and time spend were pretty much correct. Our
backyard was a driveway into a dilapidated one car garage. We now
have a beautiful brick patio and lawn and a wonderful redwood fence for
privacy. I'm only now realizing , since it's been warm, how much we are
going to enjoy our new yard. Matt lives and works out of his home in
Rockridge. I don't have his number at hand, but if you're interested I'll
find his number.
In response to the question about Rare Earth Landscape:
We had our front ''yard'' (well, a slope) landscaped by Rare
Earth a little over a year ago. We had two rows of dry-
stack stone wall put in, a fence, and concrete stairs,
along with all the plantings. Steve Rudy at Rare Earth
did the design for free (taking into account my requests),
gave us a reasonable bid, and did the work on time. We
were pretty pleased with the results and I'd hire him
again. He was reliable and just a really nice guy. He had
done some work for a friend of ours and she was happy with
it, which is how we hooked up with him. Good luck-
Im refering my landscaper, Nirko. He is licenced. Contact
him at 510-506-0508
He does anything from maintenence to building decks. He did
our flagstones and garden. Highly recomended!
Andy Packer of Acorn Landscaping is currently doing for us
pretty much exactly the type and scope of work you've
described. A few years ago, he installed the irrigation
system in our front garden. Once kids arrived in our lives,
we realized we needed to tackle our back jungle, too. So
Andy has stripped the existing weeds and dangerous plants
(century plants and thorny shrubs do not a play space make);
leveled large portions of the yard; built steps at each
level of the newly terraced yard; built me a big redwood
planter box; rototilled; brought in fresh soil; is now
installing irrigation; will soon be laying sod and planting
flower beds. Here's what Andy doesn't do: Create extensive
landscape designs in CAD programs (for that you need a
landscape designer or architect); cut down trees (for that
you need a licensed tree person); electric work (for that
you need a licensed electrician). For all the rest he is
Andy Packer: 510.531.8441
I used David McGinnis (he's in the Berkeley area) and found
his work to be excellent. Additionally, I felt that his
bid was very reasonable given the quality of work and
attention to detail. Unfortunately, like all contractors,
everything took longer than expected. However, I highly
recommend him and would definitely use him again. By the
way, my project was quite extensive - we tore out all the
old landscaping, put in new retaining walls, drainage
systems, and had a fence built. Good luck!
For Christine, who seeks ''a contractor
that is experienced and professional, but not super
high-end'': Call Andy Packer, of Acorn Landscaping, at
Andy installed the irrigation system in our terraced front
garden several years ago, and he recently embarked on our
large-scale backyard remodel (which involves tearing out
retaining walls, building stairs, leveling the land,
amending the soil, setting boulders, laying turf, laying
sub-surface drainage, creating an irrigation system,
following a complex planting plan by a landscape architect,
building planter boxes, and more).
Andy is sweet, smart, professional, talented, scrupulously
honest, and great to work with (obviously!)
There are certain things he will not do, because they are
outside his area of expertise (these include deck
rebuilding, tree removal, and electrical work) but he is
often able to recommend other contractors/specialists to
handle those portions of the work.
I highly recommend David Ward, at Sticks and Stones. He is
talented, professional, very competent and willing to work
with you. He's also very personable which makes him easy to
work with. He's a terrific landscaper. His number is (510)
Many designers are poor at giving realistic cost estimates.
Reasons include reluctance to alienate clients, excitement
about unusual/complex plans, & lack of direct experience
Get a top contractor; don't compromise quality. It's more
expensive to redo things than to do them right in the first
Consider scaling back your plans- simplify complicated
elements, eliminate hard to find plants that add cost, size
down large plants, use less plants etc.. Could your project
be successfully kphasedm? Ask the first contractor who bid
for feedback on the design relative to costs.
If you give the message to (good) contractors that you want a
low-ball price, you may kill their interest. Or, you may get
someone who gives you a low price & then comes up with ''add-
ons'' after starting.
I'm a designer/landscape contractor & although I think that
hiring a landscape architect is overkill for many projects,
I'd suggest it for yours. Any leveling and containing of a
steep slope needs to be properly engineered to last and to be
safe. I recommend Chris Grampp, 428-1989- he is very
experienced & skilled, personable, & happy to design smaller
projects (unlike many loandscape architects). For the
installation of a project like this, you won't get any better
than Barry Friesen, 253-2551- not the cheapest but the best
in all ways.
I'm the one that posted the question about how best to show
thanks/tip the great landscaper. For those of you that want
his info, here it is:
Gary Walters, of Walters Landscaping. His number is 925-689-
8119. His wife does great landscape design, if you're
needing that too. Feel free to email directly if you have
questions: bjlevi at msn.com
I would like to recommend a fabulous gardener and garden
designer. She has an MA in Landscape Architecture from Cal,
strong horticultural skills and a lot of hands-on experience.
She is currently building her own small gardening & designing
business. She has been working on our garden for some time and
it is just thriving! She is so easy to work with and very
knowledgeable. She has many other grteat references. Her name is
Cate Westbrook and she can be reached at: 849-4807
We used Prosperous Plants Landscaping to put in a small
patch of sod and install a sprinkler system in our backyard
about a year ago. The grass is thriving and has survived
lots of raccoon and kid abuse. We were really impressed
with the owner and the job and highly recommend them:(510)
I am writing to recommend a gardener...myself! I hope that
is appropriate. I can supply references if you would like.
I recently moved to the area and am in the process of
rebuilding my garden maintenance service down here. I've
been gardening in Sonoma County for the last 10 years. My
garden care includes maintenance, installation, irrigation
and edible gardens. Please give me a call if you are
P.S. I don't do lawns.
Julie Baron 510.222.9441 jujobaron AT earthlink DOT net
I would like to recommend Ruben Camacho for all kinds of landscaping and yard-work,
including terracing, rototilling, planting, irrigation, arbors, decks, general lot clean-up, etc.
Ruben's home no. is 510-237-6153. He came recommended
to me from some attorneys I work for and they were both happy with his work - and as they
told me, they are both ''picky and cheap.'' One note of caution: make your wants and needs
very clear to Ruben, as he often has he own ideas, which may or may not match yours (i.e.,
he put in some white gravel before checking with me, which I happen to dislike, but he was
very agreeable about switching it to gray pea gravel when I asked him to). He is very
reliable, responsive, hard-working, amiable and reasonable.
I would like to highly recommend Mary True for planting design,
installation, maintenance and reasonably priced consultations. She
just put a stone patio and plantings in front of our house, with
irrigation, and we could not behappier. Extremely knowledgeable, kid
friendly, great to work with. She came to us after working with a
relative to great success. Her number is 486-8139 tricia
I highly recommend Tamar Carson Landscaping. 654-8242.
Tamar has an amazing sense of design, very knowledgeable about plants,
irrigation, etc., and very customer oriented. Loads of references available.
Note that this kind of project, depending on size, materals, etc., can be
quite expensive, definitely in the thousands, possibly in the tens of
I can highly recommend Eric Burkhart at 510-841-4958
as a landscaper. He does beautiful planning/design,
installation, and maintenance of gardens. He has
great design skills, with a nice sense of flow, and
in-depth knowledge of plants. He is friendly,
reliable and easy to work with.
Tamar Carson is a landscape contractor and is available now. Her husband
works with her and they have a great and very responsible crew. Tamar just
had a baby and the very huge job she had lined up was called off at the last
minute so she's quite concerned and eager to take upcoming jobs. Her number
She has a beautiful design sense and has been doing this work for many many
I have a friend, Sara Ray, a landscape architect, who does small jobs.
Her e-mail is rsoluna at earthlink.net and phone # is 918-6080
or 233-5524. Good luck, Susan
In response to the request for a recommendation for a landscape gardener, I
would like to recommend Estelle Solomon Landscaping. Although she is my
mother (!), I believe I am unbiased in saying that she provides
excellent-quality garden installation and garden care services. She has
been in business for more than 20 years, and specializes in high quality
(not mow and blow) garden care. She is a licensed and insured contractor
and I am sure you will be very happy with her services. One caveat though
is that she doesn't take maintenance contracts for small gardens - but if
your garden is too small for her, she might be able to refer you on to
someone else - and she quite possibly could do your planting. Her number
is 235-7451. Good luck!
RE: want design only, not installation
I believe Shihli Lu is a landscape designer who will design plans without
requiring you to use her company to implement them. Her address is:
Shihlilu at yahoo.com, and she is a pleasure to deal with!
I can recommend Vicky Yager, who is a landscape designer and can just the designing
for you, or she can do the designing and the work, it's up to the client. Her number is
510-528-2219, email avgardens at aol.com
We used Nata Post twice now and loved her designs.
She does not do installations. She also has kids and
keeps them in mind while she designs. Her number in
Oakland is (510) 482-3015
We are using a wonderful landscape designer. He charges a set amount to do the designs (and he
beautiful and easy to understand drawings). Then you can choose to either use him (and his
develop the project or you can do it on your own. His name is Lawrence Fleury and his number is
It's time to get serious about my yard! I'm looking for a reasonably priced
Landscape Architect to do plans taht I can implement over time. A student
would be ideal. Any and all
suggestions appreciated. Thanks! Carol
This is in response also to the person looking for a gardener and garden
As far as I know, the following people are active and accepting new work.
Martha Becker-652-0398, Hannah Sours-Davis 654-7991, Jane Sylvester
Susan Ford 261-4639. Also call Merritt College Horticulture Dept. 436-2418.
They are a great referral source. Try Berkeley Horticultural nursery,
526-4704, and Sandy Morrill at Smith Hawkins Nursery 527-1076.
All of the above people are skilled landscape designers and gardeners with
years of experience in maintenance (not mow/blow) and design and installation.
June (former landscaper)
We used Natalie Post twice, once when we built our
house and once when we bought the lot next door. She
tied the two lots together beautifully. She is
creative and will design things that you can do over
time. It's been 3 or 4 years now, so I don't know
how her rates are compared to others, but her designs
were wonderful. Her phone number is (510) 482-3015.
My husband has a tile installation business and has
worked together with Deborah Kuchar of Big Time Gardening
on several high-end projects. Her telephone number is
(510)727-4260. She is a licensed landscape contracter and
offers garden design services, consulting, research and garden
coaching. She is extremely thorough and communicative. No detail
is left to chance with Deborah. If there is something she doesn't
know then she will do the research herself, on her own time, to
find the answers Daphne
My husband is a landscape architect, and he's designed many residential gardens.
His name is Darren Reynolds, and you can reach him at our home phone number
Hanna Sours-Davis lives in Rockridge and does beautiful landscape
design/installation. Her number is 654-7991
Also Martha Becker, 652-0398
Both of these women are highly skilled, responsible and honest and do
beautiful work. June
I can recommend Martina Ladova for landscape design. Martina was
the hardscape designer for Magic Gardens for some years and has
recently started her own business called 'Genius Loci'. Magic Gardens
specializes in English Garden design but I know that Martina also has a
strong interest in native and drought-tolerant designs.
She has a degree in environmental design from UC Berkeley and has
a strong artistic design sensibility. She's been a friend for many
years. Martina Ladova, Genius Loci tel: 569-2679 pager: 389-1025
A landscape designer who follows up, is prompt, and seems to know what he's
talking about (based on my limited gardening knowledge!) is:
Has a great sense of native plant landscaping, too, if that's what you want.
a 'Landscape Designer' has no licensing or educational requirements, but the term 'Landscape Architect' can only be used
by those who are licensed by the state after passing an
Landscape architects are
required to have six years of combined training and educational
credit, pass the national licensing examination, and pass the
California Supplemental Examination.
Landscape designers are not licensed or regulated by the State of California.
Licensed landscape architects are listed on this page:
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