This two-hour session is the ticket to instant design help for your landscape and gives you professional assistance without contract or commitment. It allows you to discuss design problems and to find solutions that work for you. If you become a client, I’ll deduct the consult fee from the cost of site design.


Renovating an existing site requires two skills in particular: an intimate knowledge of pruning techniques, and an understanding of how and when to transplant. The ability to be a ruthless editor doesn’t hurt, either. It is design and salvage, both, and presents its own exquisite challenge: to be true to both past and present.  The objective is to be seamless, to have the new instantly such a part of the old that it appears always to have been there. If you’re faced with this daunting task, give me a call ~ it’s my version of fun.


I create site-specific design for any improvement I suggest on any property with which I’m involved, from gardens to walkways to walls. This means that I don’t copy from a book or create a plan on paper and then stretch it to fit the dimensions. It means that I start with the site itself, and use key elements of the land, the architecture and the large-scale botany as the basis for the ‘design kit’ for that site. I note the native plants, the color palette and the architectural vernacular of the broader locale because those are subtle touchstones, points of reference that help connect person to place. To the mix, I add bits of the owner’s personality to arrive at a design that works for that person, in that home, on that property. Because the process is exclusive, the design is also exclusive and never repeated.


There are sculptures of stone, and then there’s sculptural stonework, installations so unique they’re like walkable art. In Scarborough there’s a terrace of vintage granite that seems so at home it almost melts into the landscape. On Cousins Island there’s a walkway of lilac bluestone that floats on a sea of river jacks shimmering in the sun. These pieces, and their siblings, are the fusion of form and function. They’re beautiful enough to be called art, practical enough to live in Maine.


To site a new home I use an ancient Taoist art called geomancy, but I do it with Yankee practicality. I walk the land to find the place best suited for the house, angled toward the sun and protected from the wind. A Taoist will tell you this is the place where chi flows freely; a Yankee will tell you this is the place where you’ll use less electricity and less heat. An artist will tell you this is where the quality of light enhances the lines and angles of the house; a Master Gardener will tell you this is where plant materials can thrive. I am all of these and will tell you, here you have a chance to form a natural response to the land.


The plants, shrubs and trees surrounding your home have an aesthetic value, to be sure, but they also have a dollar value. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you should know the ‘green value’ of these materials before you enter the real estate market. A green appraisal will help support the listing price, and may even boost it.

For land under development, I’ll also tag the plant material that can be salvaged and establish a holding bed. This mature, zone-hardy material can be used to landscape the finished site. If you own the land, you own the plants; it makes more sense to reuse them than to buy new ones.