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 $150/2 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 master concept plan can start at $1500 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.


In order to assure the execution of your landscape design to its full intent, I offer the following services:

  • Collection, presentation and assistance with review of bids from experienced and reputable landscaping companies in San Diego;
  • 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;
  • Sourcing of plants and placement according to the design; the landscape design is conceptual after all, and final adjustments of plant placement after the construction is complete are always important.
  • 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.  I offer annual visits to evaluate its progress and to make recommendations regarding maintenance that  will assist you in successfully reaching the full promise of the design.


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]