Seasons Garden Design






An ethic of planet stewardship drives Vanessa Gardner Nagel, FAPLD, NCIDQ. Her designs are innovative and timeless, while solving each garden’s natural balance. Harmony of verdant spaces and outdoor living should soothe the psyche or inspire exuberant conversation & activity. As the owner of Seasons Garden Design LLC, in Vancouver, WA, she designs gardens that function well, are easy to maintain, are scaled appropriately, provide habitat to keep in step with the environment, and integrate a giggle or two.

Vanessa believes in simple, clean garden bones that contrast with rich textural foliage, colors & materials that derive from a site's architecture, and respecting the site and our environment.


Originally from Minnesota, Vanessa moved to California with her family as a young girl. She also lived briefly in Pensacola, Florida and then earned a Bachelor's degree in interior design with a minor in microbiology. She was a president's scholar at each college she attended, including her alma mater.


After becoming a commercial interior designer practicing in the Bay Area and eventually in Portland OR Metro Region and Vancouver, WA, Vanessa turned 20+ years of design experience inside-out to focus solely on landscape design in 2002.

Vanessa has gardened for nearly 50 years and knows her plants! She also taught design as an adjunct faculty member at Marylhurst University and Portland Community College and believes in community service.

Vanessa is a garden design author with two books to her credit and a blog (see below). She speaks about gardening and garden design each year at a variety of venues and writes articles for assorted magazines, She is also a consulting expert to numerous journalists who write about plants, gardens, and design and a sought-after design judge for shows and design award competitions.

GardenChirps blog
Garden Chirps blog
understanding garden design


We contribute as often as we can to our community. After serving several years on the City of Vancouver's Design Review Committee, Vanessa helped out the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon on a project at the Ft. Vancouver Grant House. Take a look here:
Grant House Pro-Bono Project

More recently Vanessa donated time to Meals on Wheels for the garden outside their new restaurant on Mill Plain Blvd. Their garden was installed spring 2019. Take a look at the newly planted garden:
Meals on Wheels-Vancouver-WA


APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers), became a fellow in 2018; certified member*, former APLD's International Board member for 5 years, Oregon Chapter's 2009 President and 2019 Secretary

HPSO (Hardy Plant Society of Oregon), current member, former director

NCIDQ-certified (National Council of Interior Design Qualification)

IIDA (International Interior Design Association); past professional member & Oregon chapter president

GWA (Garden Writers Association - former member)

Garden Design Magazine: former member of advisory board

Vanessa always exceeds the minimum CEU's required by APLD. When she attended
internationally-renown, Robin Templar Williams workshop,
Robin stated "Brilliant scheme.", about Vanessa's design (see below).
Vanessa at Robin Templar Williams workshop

Vanessa reviews her design concept with the group.



Vanessa transformed our backyard from a rectangle with grass to a beautiful landscape that includes garden boxes, a water fountain, room for a trampoline in an area that helps it "disappear" from view, and a wide array of plants and trees. Vanessa planned it so that we have various things blooming in different seasons. She also consulted us on the best way to get rid of areas of standing water in our lawn and garden beds. She is very knowledgeable, patient and has a wealth of ideas and expertise to draw on. We highly recommend her.

Vanette Fontenette, Camas, WA

We couldn't be happier and still enjoy our beautiful French boxwood garden - complete with boxwood birds and a giant Fleur-de-Lis. Rarely does a day go by that someone doesn't rave about the stunning masterpiece that Vanessa created. We have also had Vanessa design landscapes for our businesses. They are just as stunning and each unique. We are truly grateful to have met Vanessa. She has always been respectful of our deadlines and budget and always exceeded our expectations!

Bernice Skoro, Portland, OR


We are honored for the awards we've received,
by the publications who have found value in our landscape design contributions,
and the distinction of providing our
design judging capabilities.


2019 & 2018, Design judge for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers
|International Design Competition

2018, Design judge for Garden Design Magazine at the
Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Seattle, WA

2017, Design judge for the
Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Seattle, WA


2018, APLD confers Fellow status to Vanessa

2017, APLD Harry Schuster Service Award

2013, Merit Award, APLD 2013 International Design Awards Competition
for Swirls! project

2010, Grand Prize award from WALP
(Washington Association of Landscape Professionals)
for our Riverside Arts & Crafts Garden;
The award went to the submitting contractor: Woody's Custom Landscaping.

2005, Portland Home and Garden Show Silver Medal award
for the Leo Garden

2004, Sunset Magazine, Award of Excellence, Landscape Design Competition
for the Pebble Mosaic Garden

2001, Hammurabi Award, Masonry and Tile Institute, Oregon chapter*

1999, Interior Design Citation Award, IIDA/AIA/ASID Oregon chapters*

1989, Honor Award, Redwood Empire AIA Chapter*

*projects awarded while employed by other firms

June 2007, Member of the Month, Oregon APLD web-site

May 2007, Member of the Month, National APLD web-site



Numerous publications have written about us or worked with us as their expert
(including Garden Design Magazine, The Oregonian, Garden Gate Magazine, The Digger,
Costco Connection, The Designer, North Bank Magazine, Lawn & Landscape Magazine).

North Bank Magazine, featuring the Swirls project and its owner.
North Bank article
Lawn & Landscape Magazine, cover and feature article about Vanessa
Lawn and Landscape article

11/89, project featured in Architectural Record*
*for project while employed by another firm

award-winning, sustainable landscape design - NE/NW Portland, OR, Vancouver, WA and SW Washington

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