philosophy is that every garden provides a unique opportunity to
create unity between the everyday lives of humans and the
everyday life cycles of the natural world. I believe that
sustainable design is possible on any site, and that it is a vital key
to being able to maintain your garden with sustainable practices in the future. Towards that goal, I use the following features in my designs:
plants and features that attract and nurture birds, beneficial insects,
and other wildlife, which then help complete the natural cycles
necessary for a healthy garden.
Plants that are safe and enjoyable for children to interact with, and that have year-round beauty.
Vegetable and fruit plants incorporated as ornamental features within the garden as a whole.
guidelines that help maximize the use of your garden spaces, and
allow them to be flexible, multiple-purpose, and practical.
gardens, dry streams or rock trenches, permeable paving, and other elements that
help manage storm water and runoff in attractive ways.
Reuse of existing on-site resources, and composting systems that are customized for the "leftovers" that your individual garden generates.
Designs that are unique to your site, can be implemented gradually, and adapted as your life changes.
Why Focus on Wildlife and Children?
that are designed to attract and nurture beneficial insects, native
songbirds, and other wildlife have much in common with landscapes
designed to nurture children. Both are filled with plants that delight the senses, provide year-round beauty, and are sustainable with low maintenance. Both
contain a little bit of mystery around each corner, and other elements
that stimulate the imagination, while still remaining a tranquil oasis. In
my experience, all the features that you may need or want in your
landscape, such as a food garden, lawn, shrub and perennial garden,
area, patio, storage building, dining area, and/or play structure can
be incorporated into a design plan that also nurtures wildlife and
children (and the child in all of us).
Why use Native Plants?
that are native to the Pacific Northwest provide the most reliable
food source for our native birds and beneficial insects, which in turn
reduce pest insects in your garden and improve the health of your
soil and plants. When native birds and beneficial
insects live in your garden, the result is a more complete and
sustainable ecosystem within it. The presence of
beneficial wildlife within a garden also brings a form of year-round
beauty into it that plants alone cannot achieve. In
addition, many of our NW native plants are very ornamental with year-round
interest, and will thrive in a wide variety of sun and soil conditions
without large amounts of water, pruning, or fussing. Their
versatility of form and color also means that they blend well with
existing landscape plants, or can be used as the primary plants in a
brand new garden.
What about Non-Native Plants?
My love of native plants does not lead me to exclude non-native plants from my garden designs! Many
species of non-native plants have been successfully grown in our
local landscapes for decades, and have therefore become familiar to
our native birds and insects as a good source of food and shelter. Many
non-natives are also fast-growing, low-water -use, and provide us
with lovely sights, sounds, and fragrance. In
addition, those of us who have come to the NW from different parts of this country or
other parts of the world (myself included) may have vivid memories of "hometown" plants that have special
meaning to us. I believe these are all very good
reasons to include sustainable varieties of non-native plants in your surroundings, and my own
garden is a mix of native and non-native trees, shrubs, grasses, and
Why focus on Edibles?
Over the past 10 years or so, there has been a big surge in interest about growing edible gardens. It
has been such fun to participate in encouraging this interest, because I was fortunate to have learned
about (and tasted the difference in) homegrown food, beginning at an early age. I am a firm believer that food-growing can
be incorporated into any landscape design, and successfully done by children and adults, regardless of their prior gardening knowledge and experience. Whether you add a small berry patch, an herb garden, plant salad greens in your ornamental beds, or transform your yard into an "urban farm", growing food is fun, sustainable, and oh so delicious!