Seasons Garden Design



Vanessa Gardner Nagel, APLD, NCIDQ


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 she designs gardens that function well, are scaled appropriately, provide habitat to keep in step with the environment, and integrate maybe 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 over 40 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 (CHECK OUT OUR SPEAKING AND WRITING PAGE) 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 GardenChirps blog;

Books understanding garden design


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: member of advisory board until April 2013 when the magazine folded.

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 photo below).
Vanessa at Robin Templar Williams workshop


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 the distinction
providing our
design judging capabilities.


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 which include Garden Design Magazine, The Oregonian, Garden Gate Magazine, The Digger, Costco Connection, The Designer, North Bank Magazine, Lawn & Landscape Magazine

North Bank Magazine,North Bank article featuring the Swirls project and its owner.

Lawn & Landscape Magazine, Lawn and Landscape article cover and feature article about Vanessa

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



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

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award-winning, sustainable landscape design
NE Portland, OR, Vancouver and SW Washingto

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