Ecological Design Process

Design is a process of discovery. The design rests somewhere in relationship between the goals and the physical expression of the land and the people and culture who inhabit the site.  It is our goals that guide the site analysis and assessment while the later two discover the design.



As it ends with the client and the site, so it begins.  HRD meets with the client and observes the site.  The gathering process of observations, analysis, feedback and ultimate design of the landscape rests on our accumulative listening and holistic design process.

Site Visit, Landscape and Garden Consulting

Using ecological design principals and keen observation skills, we walk the property for a botanical review of indigenous plants and animal species.  We note design challenges, discuss design opportunities and intrinsic ecological considerations like water, energy use, micro-climates, soils, and how materials and people move around the landscape.  We sift through client questions, visions, goals, site challenges, and client’s level of participation, the available financial, community, and biological resources, desired plants, and answer questions.

Visioning-Goals Articulation

In this phase, the client is interviewed on topics such as lifestyle, values, available financial and local material resources, and level of self-reliance to put the design in context.   Through the goals articulation process,  HRD situates the client desires and supplemental objectives on paper through collaborative review and feedback preparing for the design creation phase.  An optional herbal intake informs plant selection for the combined health of the human and earthly occupants.  This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to many months depending on the complexity of the goals, number of informants, and size of the land.  Client goals articultuation example

Site Assessment and Design Concept

We use a variety of ecological tools to inform and create an ecological system that will benefit people and nature working with time tested techniques.  We listen and collaborate with the land.  Our designs leave room for global climate change fluctuations.

Design may contain a phased time-line, and approx budget with plant lists, species lists, animals and edible fungi.


Working with client to secure all design and implementation requirements, we install the final design put forth.

Starting fresh!  Maintenance and Feedback Cycles

At regular (seasonal) intervals, we visit the site to witness the living design and seek feedback, observing the building relationships amongst the establishing plants and the land.   We prune, graft, check for species health and vitality, and refer back to the goals articulation process ensuring the integrated design en vivo continues to honor and yield its intentions.  Any minor design modifications are implemented if needed.

Additional Services

HRD also conducts research or feasibility studies for special projects to educate the client.  Please contact HRD if you have a project whose numbers and persuasiveness needs fleshing out.

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