Design Philosophy



Barbara-HiltyFor me, the most satisfying part of the design process is the reaction of a truly pleased and satisfied client. The designs that have made me the happiest are the ones where my client clearly recognized that the design not only met their needs, but embodied their intention, ideas, and aesthetic values – in short, designs that the client felt were as much theirs as mine.

 APLD Certified, color, transparent background


I am a certified landscape designer through The Association of Professional Landscape Designers. I have owned and operated my landscape design business in Portland, Oregon since 1982.

I design all kinds of gardens: Contemporary, Mediterranean, English, Victorian, Japanese, formal; Northwest natives, drought tolerant, whimsical,… whatever you wish. I design for you, and I enjoy working with all your ideas. I particularly enjoy matching landscapes to period architecture, but with an eye to sustainability, keeping the ecology of place in mind to design healthy and hardy gardens.

I work mainly in the Portland Metropolitan area, but I have also completed designs on the Oregon coast and in several other states. My designs have ranged from small city lots and roof gardens to large estates. Most of my work is from referrals.

My work has been published in Better Homes and Gardens Outdoor Spaces (2016), Atomic Ranch, Fine Gardening, and in the Oregonian Home and Garden section several times over the years (see Artful Mix article 2010) and my award winning garden for the 2006 Portland Home and Garden Show was featured on the cover of the Columbian Home and Garden section.

I have designed and installed volunteer projects ranging from postage stamp sized Habitat for Humanity lots to 7 acre freeway exchanges (US 30 & I-405) where I coordinated over 200 volunteers to plant an area designated “scorched earth” by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

teach APLD certification workshops for other landscape designers. I am a past President of the APLD Oregon Chapter. I co-chaired the 2009 APLD International Conference in Portland, and I served on the Rules Advisory Committee of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Board.

I am a gardener. I know from experience what does well in the Pacific Northwest, what is invasive, what takes coddling, etc. My own garden is rather whimsical, wild and full of art. I visit gardens whenever I can, either locally or in other countries, for inspiration and ideas for my designs.

Let’s see, what have I forgotten? I come from a family of artists. I have a degree in Renewable Natural Resources from University of California at Davis and I studied landscape design at PCC. I spend time out in nature, observing and drawing for further inspiration and understanding. I keep abreast of changes and new ideas through continuing education— such as Green Roof Design, Sustainable Soils, and Permaculture.

Enough about me! Let’s get back to why you are looking at my website– what about you and your garden?