How I Work


If you are unsure about how to go about your landscape design ideas; if you want to talk to an expert to help you decide on a design plan; if you need help only with how-to suggestions and ideas, I offer a free phone consultation (usually 30 min.)  This can help you decide quickly on your best move forward in your landscape project.


The on-site consultation offers a valuable opportunity to review many elements, possibilities or site constraints on your project before even a design contract is signed.  In this meeting I will:

  • Review your design wish list and suggest landscape ideas and creative possibilities.
  • Give feedback on your property’s character, strengths and potential problem areas that you might not have noticed before;
  • Offer a horticultural or artistic assessment of existing plants, micro-climate or other site conditions;
  • Discuss your soil, soil drainage, and the existing irrigation system to help you understand design possibilities and potential constraints;
  • Review your investment range for your project; recommend a course of action to be implemented in its entirety at once, in part or over time;
  • Suggest a licensed San Diego landscaper, landscape contractor or other resources.
  • Ask questions as to your lifestyle and interest in gardening to better inform my suggestions;  take extensive notes of our conversation and list priorities.
  • Show my portfolio of recent projects that includes a number of finished rendered drawings as examples;
  • Lay out my design philosophy and explain how the process works.  That way we can decide whether we’ll be a good fit for each other.

Following this meeting I’ll draft a detailed design proposal that outlines our shared objectives, along with the design fees involved and all deliverables defined.

This proposal will also explain the design process and the different steps so you will know exactly what to expect during the design process.  Upon your acceptance I will proceed to the first design phase.  (Read below for more on the design process.)


  • The initial phone consultation (usually half-hour ) is free.
  • The fee for an on-site consultation is $200/2 hours.
  • One hour  of consultation time is free if you contract with me for a design.  It will be credited back to you in the design phase.
  • A concept plan can start at $1800 depending on the size of your garden, desired amenities and services.


The outdoor relaxation area is designed with a snapped flagstone and gravel.


Every design starts with an in-depth ‘design study meeting';  here we

  • define the scope of the desired elements and the desired style of your landscape;
  • review the detailed questionnaire that I’ll send you before starting the design process;
  • look at the existing architectural style of your home or any clues that are offered by your interior design style;
  • discuss possible amenities and review your desired planting scheme;
  • define the style of landscapes and planting theme that appeal to you;
  • review your desired investment and the possible implementation of your project in phases.

Download the Landscape Client Questionnaire to get started today!  It’s free, and it can help you “tune in” into the design process and define your project needs.


The site map is an inventory of the existing site and all pertinent data that informs the design.  I always suggest a soil analysis to learn about the composition, percolation rate and special needs of your soil. It will guide in the selection of plants, the preparation of the soil for planting and the long-term maintenance.


After the design study meeting, I create one or more drafts of landscaping ideas for your future yard, including a preliminary plant list. After review with you, I will make all desired revisions and develop the final concept.


The final concept plan is a blueprint that spells out the design ideas and revisions as agreed on in our previous meeting.  It shows the conceptual  “hardscape”  layout (patios, walk ways, outdoor kitchen, pool etc.) and planting plan. It includes the suggested materials and finishes, legends and plant symbols.  This is very detailed and allows you to obtain competitive proposals by professional landscape contractors for the execution of the design.


Once the design is ready, the next big piece will be the implementation.  This is an exciting time, but it can cause a bit of anxiety.   As you know, I’m available to provide project management services that will allow me to be your advocate during the build-phase.  The benefits you will receive are compliance with the design, cost and time efficiencies with the contractor and less anxiety.

Here are some services that I have found to beneficial to clients:

  • Introduce you to a licensed landscape contractor whose work I know and who I’d feel comfortable working with because they do great work, on time and at competitive prices.
  • Offer an initial walk-through with the landscape professional and explain the design intent.
  • Collection, presentation and assistance with review of bids from landscaping companies in San Diego;
  • Assist with bid examination to ensure they are clear, completely cover the design and answer all your questions.
  • Total liaison with client and landscape contractor with problem solving in mind. Other professionals, such as arborist, irrigation specialist, pool builder or geologist/soils engineer may also be brought into the team.
  • Site visits (at critical times in the construction and or planting) with the landscape contractor;
  • Sourcing of garden art, accessories and furniture;
  • Source plants and provide quality control at deliveries to make sure you get the plants that were specified – not some substitute.
  • Suggest alternatives for plants or amenities should this become necessary.
  • Place plants on the ground according to the design, prior to planting, and and adjust placement if necessary  — the landscape design is conceptual and changes can occur during construction  which then make adjustments of the planting design desirable.
  • One final site visit with client and 4 maintenance follow up visits with a punch list for the client’s gardener.
  • Optional homeowner training is offered in addition.



If desired, I prepare a plant book of all plants used in your design with their photos and descriptions, water & light needs and maintenance instructions. This way you can envision the mature appearance of the plants used in your design even when planted at a young (small) size, identify them when they are in bloom and direct your maintenance and irrigation efforts to their best health.


Because gardens are dynamic and forever evolving, I like to follow the maturation of your garden.  A poorly maintained garden can become unruly and lose its appeal quickly if not given the proper attention.  I offer regular visits to help guide the growth in the intended direction, evaluate its progress and to make recommendations regarding maintenance that  will assist you in successfully reaching the full promise of the design.

I now also offer specialty horticultural maintenance.  Contact me for details.


Consultation fee for the before mentioned services:  $100/hr; min. 1 hr;  $90/each additional hour. All time spent is billed by the hour and carefully logged.

Download the  Landscape Client Questionnaire to get started today!  It’s free, and it can help you “tune in” into the design process and define your project needs.  (The information given in it will be strictly confidential.)



Phone me and if I’m with a client please leave a message so I can get back to you quickly .

Christiane Holmquist Landscape Design              [P]760.586.6065                                                    [E]