Landscape Design

It has been a very exciting year full of change. I became a mother and a Texan all in the span of a 3 week period. Two very big adjustments to encounter at the same time but both have been extremely fulfilling. Throughout the move, raising my daughter, being a wife, and exploring Austin I have continued to work as a freelance designer. Working from home with a baby has been a perfect way to keep my creativity flowing and be with my daughter all day.

One of my clients is Vineyard Gardens of Martha’s Vineyard. They hired me to do their entire advertising package for the year. Their vision was to take more of artistic approach in their advertising. Fortunately for me that meant combining my art background within the graphic design realm. One of the ways I did that was incorporating watercolor/sketches of their “plant of the week” specials. For variety, I created two different layouts to use as a base design.

Below are some of my favorites from the year.

 7_April 25th

1_March 21st

8_April 11th_Greening Martha

10_May 2nd_8mod

15_May 16th_8modChorus Booklet


17_May 23rd_8mod





30_July24_55Plus_6mod 31_July24th_4mod



40_Oct10_4mod 42_Oct24_6mod 43_Nov28_6mod 44_Dec5_6mod 45_Dec12_6mod



This past week Derek had to go to Austin, TX for work and I was lucky enough to join him. The city’s incredible energy reignited my creative fire and I absolutely loved every minute of it! To top it off his company was kind enough to put us up at the chic Hotel San Jose. I immediately felt at home amidst the harmonious blend of rustic gardens, natural materials, and urban modern decor.

I love the story behind the space as well. Liz Lambert, originally a New York trial lawyer turned hospitality designer, transformed this 1930s motor lodge into an urban bungalow-style hotel with a communal outdoor courtyard, lounge, and pool area. Located in downtown Austin it is the perfect oasis to retreat to at any time of day.  I loved walking out our bedroom door into an open garden, filled with native Texas plants, rustic pathways, and tucked away seating areas. I am more than ready to go back and stay there again!

(Unfortunately I forgot my camera and wasn’t able to document the space so I had to go to the trusty internet to find images. In doing so I learned the Hotel San Jose has Polaroid cameras for guests to use!!)


14_Jos-coffee-from-seedsandfruit3We ate breakfast every morning at the adjoining coffee shop, designed by Liz Lambert.

{images via Seeds and Fruit, Free People Blog, Remodelista, More Ways to Waste Time, and Claudia Bravo!}





This summer I am helping the nursery and landscaping company, Vineyard Gardens of Martha’s Vineyard, organize and run gallery nights.  Every Friday night this August they will showcase local artists and artisans in an outdoor gallery-style reception set against the breathtaking backdrop of their gorgeous garden center.

The “Call For Artist” posters I designed.

Detail of the drawing I did for the poster.




We had so much fun making the final touches….from signs to potted plants.

Derek and I made these signs out of the reclaimed wood from the old outdoor shower.

{photo taken by Pearle Johnson}

Rock cairns were the symbolic element at our wedding, guiding us on our new adventure. We found these rocks on remote beaches that we kayaked to this summer.

We collected white rocks throughout the summer to decorate the tables.

VINEYARD GARDENS, Inc, my cousins’ nursery and landscaping company, generously lent us 3 truck loads of plants to decorate our tent.

Four days before the wedding Derek and I went to the nursery to make the center pieces. We spent the morning potting a combination of herbs, deep purple Oxalis plants, and deep purple Violas. The plants made the space! The best recommendation from them was to borrow their Angel Trumpet tree, which was in full bloom and amazingly fragrant at night. It was the best addition to the space!! (image below)

The Oxalis plant on the table and Angel Trumpet plant in the background.

{photo taken by Rachelle Taylor}

To make the wedding even more complete, nature stepped in and gave us a full harvest moon!

{Pictures taken by Vermont Wedding photographer | Bear Cieri Photography}

In April, I posted about the patio/landscaping design project Derek and I were working on at my parents’ summer house, where we were to be married in September. The idea was to create a garden retreat for grilling, outdoor fires, and a shaded area to relax in during the heat of the day. After the initial brainstorming, I designed some conceptual site plans to get an idea of the style and budget that would work for my family.  Vineyard Gardens laid down the blue stone patio, Derek built the fence and outdoor shower, and my parents and I planted all the gardens. This become the summer of clearing vines, moving rocks, planting gardens, and weeding….I loved it. The difference is incredible! We planted two trees set back a little from the patio which are going to take a few years to grow to maturity but once they do it will be a great source of shade and privacy. I have realized landscaping is an ongoing project and it takes a garden several years to really establish itself. It makes me excited to see how this garden evolves into that perfect retreat!


The vines in the background had overtaken the trees.


Derek and I cleared all the vines from around the trees. We planted a Stewartia Tree (close to the garden) and a Mimosa Tree on the other side of the patio to create shade, privacy, and a more intimate ambiance. The trees are in their infant stage now but should grow to about 20′ at maturity.


AFTER [the fence and shower]

We built the fence to create a more intimate and private space for the patio. It also allowed for a nice location for the outdoor shower and a backdrop for the grill. We planted Thumbersia, Morning Glory, and Passion Flowers to climb the fence.

Derek built the fence and outdoor shower.

We moved the outdoor shower from the right side of the house for good circulation between the patio and the screened in porch.

The garden next to the garage.

The hole from the dry well for the new shower was full of rocks. My dad built a stone wall  in front of the house using those rocks.

We could not have picked a more perfect place for our honeymoon. Turkey is an amazing country that has it all… great food, wonderful people, an amazing history, picturesque landscapes, ancient ruins, loads of hiking trails and water activites…the options are endless. One of our favorite places along our journey was the area of Olimpos and Cirali. We were fortunate  enough to enjoy it at the beginning and the end of our trip, giving us the opportunity to stay at two different pensions…one on the beach, Olympos Lodge, and one in the forest, Daphne House. Both places understand the importance of landscaping, not only as a functional purpose of protecting their guests from the intense heat of the summer months but also to create a marvelous retreat full of serenity and peacefulness.

View of Olimpos and Cirali beach from the castle ruins


The straw umbrellas and huts are an integral part of the hotel to protect the guests from the hot summer sun. During the hottest part of the day we were either in the water or in the shade of the hut drinking mint lemonade. You could also find hammocks and comfortable lounging areas throughout the property to retreat to.

Their restaurant is set in the shade of palm trees and Mimosa trees.

Peacocks (even and albino one!), chickens, cats, and a dog roam their property enhancing the beautiful atmosphere.

rOh how I love outdoor showers. I think I have found the coolest one yet, surrounded by bamboo, Mimosa trees, Melisa plants, and set over a pond on a rock slab. Perfection!

White rocks, deep purple plants, angel trumpets, and mimosa trees were incorporated into their landscaping. This lodge was a perfect match to my wedding day decor!

The restaurant/lobby interior…exceptionally crafted building with a floor pattern mirroring its shape.

Gorgeous landscaped paths leading to each of the bungalows.

The material choice for the rooms and bathrooms were simple elegance using natural materials and a natural palette. Loved it!

As we wandered through the extensive paths and gardens we came upon an awesome greenhouse.

Not only is it beautiful during the day, the night-time is just as magical. The ambient lighting and the night-time fragrance from the Melisa plants and the Angel Trumpets are just out of this world!


Daphne House is a home away from home. Bulent and Refi are the warmest hosts I have ever encountered. They welcome you into their house with open arms and the most outstanding food we had in Turkey. Their stone house was built by their own hands through hard work, dedication, and love. And you can feel that love as soon as you enter their space. The backyard is a magical place set amongst tall pine trees and  beautifully landscaped.

An image of their backyard taken by one of their guests.

The hammocks and “tent” are great places to relax under the shade of the tall pines

To get to the beach from the Daphne House you walk through ruins dating back 1,000’s of years

Every evening together, joined by Bulent and Refi, the guests enjoy a delicious meal by candlelight on the beautiful wood table in their backyard garden.

Bulent and Refi enjoying the serene atmosphere they have created
Every evening a fire is lit to enjoy the peacefulness of the backyard and good conversation

Olympos Lodge and Daphne House were great sources of inspiration!

This fall Derek and I are getting married in my parents backyard. The backyard is in need of a more intimate place to relax and cookout so we have decided to design and build a patio. Since the house already has a wonderful screened in porch for eating, the patio will become a garden retreat for grilling, outdoor fires, and a shaded area to relax in during the heat of the day. After the initial brainstorming, I designed some conceptual site plans to get an idea of the style and budget that would work for my family.  We have finally nailed down the design and hired Vineyard Gardens to build the blue stone patio.  Here are some inspirational images that I have found along the way.

I love the mix of materials used and the way the landscaping is completely integrated into the design.

This image doesn’t fit with the look we are going for but I really like the built in rock seating and color scheme.


Floor textures/materials

I love this pebble mosaic floor!

{viaGardenDesign }

Landscaped Havens

{viaGardenDesign }

{viaGardenDesign }


Outdoor Showers

{viaGardenDesign }

{via New Jersey Monthly}


(Most of these images I found on google images but unfortunately, I do not have all the sources documented…so if you know the source please feel free to let me know)