Seasons Garden Design





Whether you live in rural areas of Clark, Skamania, or Cowlitz Counties, suburban NE or NW Portland, or within the city limits of Vancouver, Camas,or Washougal, Washington, Seasons Garden Design LLC provides a full range of landscape design services so you can escape to your garden oasis.


  • unravel drainage issues and elevation challenges;
  • resolve site circulation-paths, decks, patios;
  • get a plant list that saves water;
  • create a safe nocturnal path with outdoor lighting;
  • privacy and unsightly view screening;
  • get a garden plan that works for YOU, not the person up the street!


  • how to make your garden more attractive AND use native plants
  • to reduce garden maintenance, cost, and resources
  • how to renew, reuse, and recycle your garden
  • tips and tricks to make organic gardening easier
  • to promote bio-diversity, including plants, birds, bees & beneficial insects
  • how to set up basic criteria to make your own garden design decisions


  • if your only sunny space is the front yard, learn to mix edibles with ornamentals attractively
  • if your space is tight, learn to grow edibles vertically
  • to grow more in the same space: rotate and sequence your crops
  • the importance of combining plants to boost their growth
  • how to plant during the year to keep your garden productive and change it from year to year to keep it healthy


  • spruce up your garden to help sell your house or for you to enjoy yourself
  • make your home look good enough to eat; we provide exterior color & materials consultation & selection
  • improve livability with garden furniture & furnishings selection & procurement


  • help you find the right contractor for your project
  • provide you with bid documents
  • bid review assures 'apples to apples' comparison
  • periodic site reviews during construction and after to assure
    your garden stays looking the way we conceived it;
    schedule a regular or periodic checkup.



Seasons Garden Design uses a typical landscape design process, but is flexible with each client. Not every project is the same, so the process is tailored to YOU. Learn more about the process. below. Note: We use computer-aided drafting which allows us to email plans to you easily...
even if you are in Timbuktu.

The Design Process

Design Process-first step

Design Process-2nd step

Design Process-step3

Design Process 4
design process concept

Design Process-step5


Design Process-step6

Design Process-step7

Design Process-step8



As much as I wish I could say anytime is the best time for a consultation, it really depends on what you want to do. So here are some helpful criteria:

  • If you want to modify an existing garden and you know some plants will go and some will stay, the reality is that some are good plants in the wrong place. Therefore meeting just before an ideal time to move them is best. Generally, the best times to relocate plants are late October into early December and mid-February to mid-April. Plants that are proven hardy are fine either time. Plants with border-line hardiness are best in late winter-early spring.
    Best times to contact us: August/September & December/January.
  • If you have a sea of mud and no garden, the sooner the better. Contractors are generally slower over the winter, so meeting then should get you a plan where their schedule would be more amenable to a spring installation. That said, if we are having a ‘hot market’ or a particular contractor is in high demand, then it might mean waiting until summer.
    Best times to contact us: October/November & April/May (for a fall installation)
  • If you need a planting plan to fill in your empty plant borders around your existing hardscape (patios, paths, decks, etc.), the best times to plant are from mid-February to the first of May OR late September into early December – depending on temperatures. If we get a hot-spell in April of 90-degree temperatures, that’s not ideal.
    Best times to contact us: January/February & June/July.
  • If you would like us to evaluate the planting design of your garden and advise you about what to do to improve it, the best time to see it is when it is fully leafed-out.
    Best time to contact us: mid-April - late September.
  • If you feel like your hardscape is a jumble, the most obvious time is over the winter. That said, seeing your plants in relationship to your hardscape is also beneficial.
    Best time to contact us: Anytime
  • If you are working with an architect to construct a new house, working with us during the design process is helpful because it isn't often that we find an architect that has the best sensitivity to planting.
    Best Time to Contact Us: near the end of the conceptual design phase
  • One more thing: Just because it is the middle of summer doesn't mean you can't plant then, but it does mean you will need to water more frequently. If you have an irrigation system, you just need to set the timer. If you must do it by hand or with a sprinkler/hose, then consider the time that you will need to spend to do it properly. As I've told clients who planted in August when it was over 85 degrees, "There is no such thing as overwatering new plants in that kind of heat."


It's important to get to know each other, so we visit your site, chat with you about your needs, address questions you have, discuss and/or sketch possible solutions (SEE 2-HOUR SKETCH BELOW), review possible costs, talk about drainage, plants, maintenance, irrigation, design aesthetics, and more. If you need more than an hour, we can continue at our standard hourly rate. If it's more of a project, then we will develop a letter of agreement which includes a fixed design fee. Minimum 2 hours for $300.



Every landscaping project is unique, with its own level of complexity, size and scope. Much depends on your desired scope of services. Feel free to call and discuss our fees with us. (NOTE: As a design firm, not a construction company, our vested interest is YOU. We will not try to sell you what is left over from a previous project or see how we can increase the cost of construction.) We can work with a fixed fee or bill by the hour, your choice. Bottom line: talk to us about your budget and we will tailor our scope to fit. Design fees range according to scope of services.


Typically (but not always), we divide a project fee into 3 payments, with a minimum of one-third of the fee due as a retainer to initiate the project. Then at least 1/3 is payable at the concept review meeting and the remainder is due upon completion of the master plan or installation plans. This varies with size and scope of services.

We bill according to our letter of agreement or, if hourly, upon completion of the consultation or services-to-date. Payments are always due upon receipt of invoice or at the end of the consultation. We accept credit cards via PayPal, but also add the bank costs to cover the additional fee that PayPal charges us.


There is no such thing as 'free design'. We are your advocate before & during construction. We do our best to design to a budget, but we not install and therefore cannot guarantee a price without having a contractor as part of the team who can do that. The best thing to do is to select your contractor (with our help) at the onset of design and work with a contractor to keep your costs in line. The alternative is to bid out a project and possibly go through a period of value-engineering, which could alter the design, but it will get you back within your budget. Be realistic about a budget. If you want more than you can afford, consider installing some things yourself or providing the demolition before the contractor gets there.

Flexible, by Appointment Only


There is a rule of thumb that various professional organizations use to establish a garden construction budget. Anywhere from 4-15% of the value of your property is their recommended budget for design and installation of a garden. While this might seem high, consider the cost of adding a new room onto your home and the value it adds. Real estate professionals state that you will reap the benefit of this investment when you sell your home. Also consider the size of your property. The budget for a country property could be vastly different from a city lot. We can discuss your garden design and landscaping budget during our initial consultation.



My husband and I built a house recently and the builder left us with a muddy mess of a "yard." The HOA required us to have our front yard landscape completed in 6 months or less, and I started to panic. I have no clue about gardening! I just knew I wanted it to be beautiful, low-maintenance, and no lawn. A friend referred me to Vanessa, and in our very first meeting over a cup of coffee, I knew I could trust her 110%. She lights up the room with her super cheery attitude and is a fantastic listener. Vanessa doesn't impose her artistic vision on you;
she grasps all your wants and needs.

Vanessa is the entire package, and I can't tell you how relieved I am (over and over and over again!) to have her help. From the actual plans to advice and resources, there just is NO way I could have completed this project without her. The end results of my front yard are incredible. We have people drive by and tell us how much they
appreciate our garden. They always comment on its beauty, a real "gardener's paradise," but they have no idea how easy the plants are that Vanessa chose! And I LOVE the fact that my yard is a million times better than all of the "basic" landscaper designs (sod and a few boring plants) that my neighbors have. Our front yard is practically a work of art!

Vanessa is now collaborating with us on our backyard, and again, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing that it's going to be a truly magnificent place to spend our time. Without hesitation, I recommend Vanessa!
Shannon Pratuch, Washougal, WA

Vanessa Nagel is living her passion. It is easy to see her passion for her work in everything she does. Her creativity combined with her ability to simplify defines her work. As a Landscape Contractor we enjoy collaborating with Vanessa on projects. Many large estate gardens we install over a period of years. Both of us love plants and enjoy clients’ joy in experiencing the unusual. Vanessa will transform your yard into an amazing garden.
Donna Burdick, Landscape Contractor

Gaultheria shallon

"It is a scientific fact that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes...
increases the subsequent capacity for happiness and the means of securing that happiness."

Frederick Law Olmstead, Landscape Designer


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

Facebook LinkInstagram LinkLinkedIn Link Pinterest Houzz Email Us

Remodeling and Garden Design

top of page