A gardening coach (consultant) does for you in the garden what a personal trainer does for you in the gym. The trainer doesn’t do the exercising for you, (s)he teaches you skills so you can get the most benefit from your workout. Likewise, a gardening coach/consultant doesn’t do your gardening for you, (s)he shares information and teaches you skills that can help you become a better gardener.
Beth Goodnight — my analogy explaining what consulting / coaching is.


I consider consulting to be giving an opinion on your situation and/or ideas. Many people want a consultation to get a feel for my knowledge, style, and personality; to see if we’re going to be a good fit working together. Or perhaps they just want to have a professional opinion on what they are thinking about doing. I consider coaching to be more like teaching you something, like pruning, design, soil science, composting, etc. Consulting and coaching are ways of solving problems verbally rather than with a drawn plan (though I can make a Concept Sketch as part of your consulting / coaching visit).

Coach logoNo matter what you want to call it, consulting / coaching can:

  • Identify plants in your yard
  • Do a quick site analysis
  • Give design tips
  • Teach maintenance techniques
  • Teach basic plant culture
  • Do styling & plant placement
  • Do container planting
  • Do plant shopping
  • Precede or follow a regular design project

If you have gardening issues, want to improve your gardening skills, or just need fresh eyes on your project, call or email.

Need a Plan?


I do landscape design in 2 flavors. Complete Design and Concept Sketch. Read about the difference between the 2.

Though I occasionally make a Concept Sketch (where I don’t select plants, but provide a general concept about use of your property) as part of a consulting / coaching visit, a Complete Design  is NOT part of consulting / coaching.

In general, my 2 major reasons for not doing Complete Design as part of consulting / coaching are:

  • Plant Selection. There are perhaps 4,000+ ornamental plants available in PNW zone 8 (where I practice). Unfortunately, I can’t memorize all of those plants’ vital statistics for instant recall. Knowing things about plants I intend to use for your project, like height, spread, and moisture, soil and exposure needs, is essential in doing good design. I’m not satisfied giving you a finished design that is not the best I can do, which is what you’ll get if I don’t take time to make informed choices regarding plant selection.
  • Design. What may seem like a good design idea as we look out at your yard, often doesn’t translate into good design once it’s on paper (or computer). I want to plan gardens that will be successful and sustainable over a long period of time. Experience has shown me that a successful landscape is one that has been thoroughly thought out. And in my opinion, that can best be done with considered contemplation and a lot of information at my fingertips.

With all of this said, I do occasionally hand-sketch smaller areas in greater detail. I do it only if I feel very confident that what has come to mind is the best I can do. So feel free to ask if a sketch is appropriate for your consulting / coaching visit.

I make plans for garden small to large. I just don’t do a Complete Design while you watch me. :-) I can make you a written estimate for Complete Design after showing you samples of my work.

More Information about Consulting / Coaching
Prepare for Visit — What to expect during a consulting / coaching visit; and some information to help you get your thoughts together.
Weather Policy — What happens if the weather is less than delightful at your consulting / coaching time.

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