Are you working during the current social distancing measures?

Yes, with modifications.

You’ve probably guessed from the sound of mowers and leaf blowers that the landscape industry is considered essential in all states around the DC Metro region. Responsible companies have taken very stringent measures to protect their workers, to include actions like issuing PPE, eliminating in-person meetings, staggering shifts, separating crews into their own vehicles, and more.

I continue to consult, design and manage projects with the exception of in-home meetings. Our consultation will take place entirely outside where we can maintain physical distance, and design reviews will take place outside or via Zoom.

Why is your business called blue house gardens?

Because I work from home and my house is blue. I went for the easy choice.

How do I know if I need a designer?

Great question!

If you need a no-frills patio or a simple planting job, your best choice might be to work directly with a contractor. Most contractors and crew members design by default- after all, every action taken on site is a design decision that will be made in the absence of outside direction. (Also, some are very good at it!)

Furthermore, there are companies like Merrifield (a wonderful place) who provide free design service if you complete your installation with them. If you are concerned about the idea of paying for design, this might be another good choice for you.

On the other hand, if you are interested in exploring creative elements and solutions for your outdoor space through a highly personalized plan, we might be a great team. I love to think about creative layouts for space, ways to reflect your personal style, how to get the most from the budget- every site is a unique problem-solving opportunity and I thrive on the challenge.

How much does a design cost?

Every project is different.

Don’t you hate it when you get that kind of answer?! Well, each project is unique, but designs usually run between $750 – $3000. (Design fees are $125/hr.) There’s a minimum amount of time and effort that goes into a product, even when a client feels they just need something simple.

Do you do design-only work?

No, I don’t. I’ve learned over the years that the best model for me is to do design and project management. When we start our journey we’re making a good faith commitment to see the project through the installation together. Connecting you with a highly reputable contractor with whom I have a strong working relationship is a valuable part of my practice and the result of nurturing professional relationships over time.

Do you receive payment from the landscape contractor?

No, I don’t. I work for you, my client, and all payment for my services (design and project management) comes directly from you. I will facilitate the connection between you and your contractor but you will pay them directly through a separate contract. This keeps the costs transparent and allows me to be your clear advocate throughout the entire process.

Why do you charge for consultations?

I have a consultation fee because I spend a lot of time on this step. In addition to travel time, I typically spend 1-2 hours on site with you as we review your project areas. I also give you a lot of ideas and design tips while we’re together, plus a follow-up email recapping our conversation. I believe I’m providing valuable input and I hope you’ll agree.

What kind of payment do you accept?

I accept personal checks and Venmo, or direct bank transfer or credit card payments through your online invoice. One time someone paid me entirely in cash and I felt like something covert was going down. Now that I think about it, there was a lot of talk about privacy concerns.

Couldn’t I just do my own design?


There are plenty of home and garden enthusiasts out there who love Houzz and Pinterest and gardening magazines. Maybe you want to take it a step further and really come up with a plan. And if you run out of steam, you can still call me.

What kind of budget do I need?

Impossible to answer, but I’ll try.

When you have a professional installation you’re paying for labor, materials, maybe permit fees, project management, and sometimes things like an extra fee for difficult-to-access sites. A small project might start in the neighborhood of $6,000 – $8,000 if it’s mostly plants or a just small patio, for example. My typical projects are in the $20,000-$50,000+ range. I tell you this because, as a homeowner, it makes me nuts when I don’t have the faintest idea what things cost and nobody wants to talk about it. (And they don’t want to talk about it because they don’t want to be held to a guess.)

NOTE: Your installation company will determine your project costs. This is just a very general answer to one of the most frequently asked Frequently Asked Questions.

Where can I see more of your work?

Please visit me on Houzz for a sample of my projects. I don’t do a great job updating it but I have a resolution (and a concrete plan) for better photos in 2020. (September update- I’m failing at this so far.)