Landscape Designers
Vanessa Gardner Nagel

Apr 01, 2011
Landscape Designers

APLD, NCIDQ - Owner, Seasons Garden Design LLC

Areas of Specialty
I enjoy designing modern, minimalistic, sustainable, and Asian gardens. However, I design many other styles, including naturalistic, cottage style and transitional or traditional styles. My style is what my client needs.

Designer Q&A with Vanessa

What is your design philosophy?
Design boldly, knowledgeably, and sustainably to suit the client: their site, their architecture, and their lifestyle.

What led you to this career?
My passion for plants and design.

What has been your favorite project and why?
The project I call my ‘Swirls’ project has been my favorite to date. The client is an artist who was a great deal of fun to work with. Because she loved swirls, we used that as a theme to create design consistency within her garden. I designed a swirled fire pit, a swirled pattern for a pergola, a swirled stone floor near a stone water feature and last, but not least, a swirl of recycled blue-green glass on which she could set her wildly painted duck decoys. We affectionately call it ‘the duck pond’. The garden is over an acre, so it was easy to nestle in a variety of hardscape features among a variety of native and plants that act like natives.

Tell us about your most challenging project.
A delightful elderly widow wanted to remove her lawn and create a rose garden in her front yard. She did not care much about how her garden looked in winter (except for possibly near her windows). I would not normally do a rose garden in the front of the house and always design a four-season garden. However, I selected groundcover roses with low-growing lavender, ground-hugging thyme, Salvia, Coreopsis, Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’, boxwood, and Perovskia to name a few, as plants to hold the wide, but shallow, garden together. Installation is underway.

What is your design process?
Typically I first meet with a client to find out more about what they want and who they are as individuals. I usually use a questionnaire to program their project thoroughly. Then I gather information about their site through photographs, measurements, etc. I prepare a background plan from which all other plans are developed. I meet with the client after I have developed a conceptual plan with a number of ideas, materials, plants, furnishings, etc. Together we decide on what works best for them. Then I prepare a master plan, get it approved by the client and proceed with working drawings for bidding and construction.

Contact Information
Seasons Garden Design, LLC
12517 NE 20th Ave
Vancouver, WA 98686


The pebble mosaic originally created a path through an area dying to be lawn to the remainder of the garden. Now it is the center of the garden.