Inside The Garden Design Lab, you'll gain the knowledge and confidence you need to create an original plan for your garden.
You'll learn the tools and skills you need to design, refine, build, and plant-up your landscape, within your budget.
And you'll have the professional support to make sure get it done and get all your questions answered.
I want you to enjoy the process of garden making - as well as the beautiful results.
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Does this sound Familiar?
You long to have a drool-worthy garden that is the envy of the neighborhood…but you have no idea where to start.
You need more space. You've been eyeballing that bare earth patch and its neighbor, the overgrown weed pit, and you're wondering how to transform them into an outdoor "living room".
You went to the garden center for mulch – but ended up with 8 random plants (because, pretty!). You found them homes, but now they're looking kinda 'meh'. So you went back to the nursery for solutions, and... DANG IT! IT HAPPENED AGAIN! EIGHT MORE RANDOM PLANTS!!! #stopthemadness
For some reason, your garden feels cluttered and chaotic and the opposite of chill.
(Why? Because of 'plop and drop' planning. It's as bad as it sounds - you never want to be a plop and dropper).
You've managed to grow some nice things that look great, but they don’t look great TOGETHER. And also, one of them is threatening to take hostages. If you don't act swiftly, you may never see the shed again.
You want the secret to transforming your garden space into the garden of your dreams. You want a system and a plan so you can enjoy building and maintaining your garden (without having to sell a kidney to pay for it).
I help my clients and Students with these problems every single day.
And if you're Anything like any them (oR me, TBH), you've probably made some of the most common mistakes in Garden Design Too.
Genus Loci: Ancient Roman for 'Spirit of the Place'. Or, more simply, storytelling. If your garden doesn't have a story, it will not only be boring - but it won't make sense (which could actually lead to a dead garden).
Storytelling will connect you to the garden, and the garden to everything around it. Ensuring your Genus Loci is one of the most important mistakes to fix. In fact, when designing with stories - the more the better. I recommend creating a full blown daytime soap opera.
Let's drop a patio in here.
And a birdbath sounds nice - let's plop that down... somewhere... over there. Oh and wait - we need a path - um, how 'bout we draw a line from the corner of the patio over to the garage. Shortest distance and all that jazz...
Just drop it in. Right?
(this is a hot mess waiting to happen - Using The G.P.S. Plan Maker you will be guided towards right-sized and right-placed and fully functional garden design elements. And - bonus - it will also help you see all sorts of options you never even knew existed).
Don't make it harder than it needs to be! Building a beautiful design is about creating simple layers.
Layers of layout and hardscaping, layers of story and style and layers of interesting plants and colors and textures. It's the endless permutations of layers that makes a project unique and exciting. My Style Story Framework and Templates will make creating your garden's layers easy.
Growing plants is a skill. Creativity is a skill. And so is design. Skills can be acquired with knowledge, practice and guidance. Don't sell yourself short by hiding behind silly tropes. You can successfully grow things, design your own garden and make it beautiful and I can help you do it.
I promise, this is not garden blasphemy. Garden design is an 7-step process and picking plants is step #5. Skipping steps 1 - 4 will definitely (and I mean always), cause problems.
How does this sound?
Improves with time. **ahem - no other home improvement gets more valuable with time**
your neighbors envy. It's the prettiest on the block & you get tomatoes (or flowers, or whatever cool thing you want to grow)
Provides You with a safe, healthy, outdoor place to spend time with family & friends...
You can create & manage - Because you have a step-by-step system for establishing not only a vision, but an actionable plan.
Is as calming as that sleepy part at the end of a yoga class. It washes over you every time you pull up the driveway.
join the Course NOW
it's all possible inside...
You want a beautiful healthy garden.
You have a new house and garden and no idea where to start.
You'd like to hire a designer, but either can't find the right person, or need a more affordable DIY option.
You've been gardening for years, love plants and know how to grow them, but its all a bit same-old. You need inspiration & ideas, a route to re-design, and a plan put it all together.
You've hired landscape help, but things aren’t exactly as you hoped. Now what?
You just want a straightforward system to plan and build your own amazing garden. ASAP.
You have ideas, maybe even too many of them - and need to know what comes first and how to make it all fit.
You dove into that garden head first – but whoa – overwhelm has set in. You need help with design decisions, work planning, smart ideas, costing, and all of it. Pronto.
You're interested in garden design as a profession and want to see if it is good match. (and maybe even need a bit of mentoring?)
You’re looking for a magic bullet - someone to do it for you.
You're happy with the same old same old.
You want instant results. Garden making isn't fast and neither is this course.
This will take a few months to work through (but you have lifetime access!)
This is a course where you take your time, knowing you can come back to any lesson whenever you need.
You have an amazing garden that you love and don’t really want to change.
If you're the queen of the garden tour - I say keep on keeping on...and tag @pithandvigor with pics of your pretty place on Instagram, I'd love to see it!
You don’t want to use a computer to learn, don’t want to stretch yourself & don’t want your thinking challenged.*
On the flip-side...
*But being challenged is one of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing.
We now have a scale plan of our home and lot. While I don't have a firm design for the areas I want to landscape I have a start of a plan about how to attractively redesign our front and rear yards. I have been a member of the local Master Gardener group for about 10 years but content about landscape design is not covered. I also feel that I will view garden photos and gardens I visit with a more discerning eye understanding a bit more about style, theme, why the garden works.
Who doesn't love a good makeover?
My favorite part of the class was seeing my plan evolve from crude shapes to an actual detailed plan. I also really enjoyed the style-finder section. I found it very helpful to get a grasp on what my style actually is, and to put it in both words and pictures. In other words, I learned a lot about myself in the process as well as about garden design. I also liked the interaction with other students going through this same journey. Sharing our issues and ideas, and receiving their feedback was a big plus. I also really like how invested you have been in our success - your guidance has been great!
This was an awesome class! I enrolled in one of your first design boot camps Rochelle and I find myself using your practices as I tackle yet another area in my garden. If you're thinking about it, take Rochelle's course. She's thorough, easy to follow, offers attention to your "homework"; is truly very inspirational. I should send you an updated picture of my backyard, I think it's been three years now.
I'm a former rocket scientist turned garden designer, author, entrepreneur, TV host and creator of the award winning publication PITH + VIGOR.
I've been making gardens my whole life - professionally for over 18 years. But it wasn't until I'd been professionally practicing garden design for many years that I evolved repeatable strategies that blend science and art and make it much easier to get it right every time. And that is what I will teach you.
WHEREVER YOU LIVE AND WHATEVER YOUR STYLE, I WILL HELP YOU CONFIDENTLY CREATE A GARDEN THAT WORKS AND IS A REFLECTION OF YOU.
Twenty-five years ago, I bought my first house and made my first garden - it was a hot mess.
At first, I was so confident because I'd gardened at the knee of my parents and grandparents all my life. But while I sorta had a handle on backyard plants that grow in Denver, CO and central Montana, I didn't know what I didn't know.
And what I didn't know, was two big things:
1) Anything about the history, art or science of designing gardens &
2) the vastness of the world of horticulture beyond high-altitude USDA zone 3/4.
A couple years later, I followed a job to England, went to the Chelsea Flower Show, had a revelatory experience, and made a radical career change to become a garden designer.
As an American in England, and then back in America - I have a unique perspective on value of British gardening culture.
Do I think we ought to all be building in that lovely classic style?
NOPE! - Absolutely not.
But I do hope that by teaching and enabling you to head off on your own creative journeys of discovery and education that you will, in turn, impart your knowledge to someone else (perhaps a spouse, a neighbor, a child) and in that way, a healthy vibrant garden culture can spread and grow.
Our local communities need to actively cultivate deep roots and connections to our unique landscapes if they are to survive and thrive.
In this time of climate crisis and intense upheaval in our world, we all need to have a better understanding and connection to nature. Good design is satisfying and it will make you a more successful garden maker. With good design, there will be fewer strikes and more home runs - and when that happens, you are more likely to keep going. As you continue, you will become a true steward and caretaker.
Change starts in our own back yards.
I created my courses because I wanted to work with more people (not just the few who can afford a garden designer).
I want to help people who are willing to get some dirt under their nails (not just hand-off their garden showpieces to maintenance gardeners).
Over my career, I've designed hundreds of gardens all over the world for private homes as well as hotels, spas and restaurants.
Now, I want to help you connect with your land so that you can create something amazing.
You can't get to the moon without a rocket launcher, a spaceship, and something to make sure you can breathe. Similarly, you can't design and build a garden without a few essential tools. You will:
• Set up and learn to use a few basic design apps to organize your notes, ideas and plans online (and share them so you can get feedback!)
• Make introductions in the Garden Makers Mastermind and meet other garden makers (some are in your area!).
• Learn about Computer Aided Design (CAD) - an optional parallel tract is you want to use digital drawing tools. All CAD lessons are in addition to standard hand drawn methods.
#2 - Landscape Inventory
In order to figure out what your garden needs you need a few pieces of information:
• How-to start "reading" your landscape - it will tell you what will work and what won't!
• Use 'The Fresh Eyes Technique' to eliminate familiarity blindness and see your own garden as a professional designer would. (And start to understand new possibilities and opportunities for your landscape.)
• Discover the environmental conditions that impact your design and long term garden health.
• Get to know your land intimately so that you can make the best decisions for improving it.
#3 - Simple Surveys & The Base Map
What have you got to work with? Before you can make a new plan, you have to measure what currently exists, and identify what is staying and what is going.
• Understand how to create a plan that ensures your garden actually works when it is built!
• Pick from a variety of digital and hand drawn techniques to easily create an accurate base map that you'll build on through the course
• Locate & draw property lines, buildings, hardscaping, trees, slopes and other enduring garden features.
• How to draw basic symbols for trees, plants, and other garden ideas (so your plan looks beautiful and inspiring!) - Or, access and use my proprietary templates and trace files to make pretty plans (without the drawings skills).
#4 - The Style Story Framework
With the Garden Design Lab's proprietary framework you will:
• Discover, define and document your unique style and create your personal garden style guide.
• Utilize the same design principles used by the pros.
• Cultivate your creative freedom and use storytelling to infuse your design with meaning and history.
• Explore common styles of garden (from around the world and through history) that you can use to understand and inform your own style.
• Learn how to unify your house and garden
• Access over 15 different downloadable style templates you can modify to ensure your garden exudes the essence of you, your place in the world, and your personal tastes.
#5 - Generating Ideas, Testing Them & Making A Master Plan
Using the G.P.S. Planmaker you'll leave no stone unturned to explore a variety of layout options for your garden.
• Easily generate and test lots of creative layouts and ideas that you never even thought possible.
• Understand why some gardens work and others don't - and how to get the most out of your space
• How to employ designer tricks to resolve problem areas and highlight your home's best features.
• How to create movement, balance and a sense of flow in your design.
• Generate a master plan that is right sized and within your budget.
#6 - Adding Designer Touches
With Punch-up PRO you will learn how to put it all together and add details to your design will give it that extra wow factor and take your design to the next level.
• Learn to mix and match materials and colors like a pro.
• Choose and create focal points that work.
• How and where to add thoughtful details that will make your garden special.
• How to choose and place landscape art.
• Understand the 7 golden rules of garden design that make every garden better. (This is everyone's favorite lesson!)
#7 - Plant Basics
To design with plants you need to understand their needs and what makes them happy.
• Expand your understanding of plants with The Green Thumb Guide.
• Learn why plants fail and how to fix the issues.
• The Soils Primer will widen your knowledge of the hidden half of the garden - the underground.
• Identify what a plant needs just by looking at it - even if you don't know what it is.
• The basics of the secret language of plants (Botanical Latin) and how to use it to your advantage.
• Become a Soils Sleuth and read the characteristics of your land and understand what will work, what won't, and why.
#8 - Putting Plants Together
Using The Garden Design Lab's Plant Casting Method you will audition plants for your garden and understand which ones you need and how they will work together.
• Designer tricks for fixing existing beds that are almost great, but not quite.
• Cure your garden's multiple personality disorder.
• Understand a range of planting styles (and how to create them).
• Discover and define your own planting style.
• Get confident in pairing plants not only to create dynamic visual appeal, but also healthy maintainable landscapes that are ecologically sound.
#9 -More Plants!
The plant world is vast and you will never know all the plants, but with PDQ plants (yes, that stands for Pretty Darn Quick), and other techniques in this module you can quickly expand your plant palette and get all you new plant knowledge organized.
• How-to quickly find new plants and the plants you need but that you may not know about.
• Establish your own organization system and tips for keeping track of maintenance.
• Jump start your planting plans with downloadable planting style guides.
• Peruse and use an ever expanding series of proven 5-plant design recipes (that can be used worldwide).
• Install your plants so they thrive and achieve your vision.
#10 - Build It!
With plans in place - it is time to build! Will you hire a contractor or DIY? And what will it cost?
• DIY or hire a Contractor? (how to manage both)
• Learn all my best cost saving advice for building.
• Navigate the nursery. Purchase plants and shop like a pro.
• The best tips for translating your plans into an actual garden in the ground.
• Find everything you need (art, plants, furniture, containers, antiques, building materials, fabric and more) with my Little Green Books (i.e. a garden designer's black book of all the best suppliers).
• Book lists, guides and outlets for taking your knowledge even further.
it's all possible inside...
Checklists and a guided manual to conduct your own site assessment. Explore usage, risk, environmental impact. Get to know and evaluate your biosphere Value: $600
Making the hard part easy. Learn to measure, plot, and map your project.
Organize and define the layers of story and style in your garden. Workbook & Template libraries will help you tell your style story.
Generate ideas and inspire creativity and translate it into a garden plan. Value: $800
Drawing Templates & Trace Files - Value: $200
Get the 'Designer' look. Guides on materials, color, art, and tricks of the trade, that give your garden the wow factor. Value: $800
Everything you need to know to turn your thumb green. Value: $400
Learn my proprietary system for orchestrating a planting scheme that is healthy and chic. Value: $800
How to effectively shop the nurseries and online for the best plants.
Tips & tricks for installing your plants and building your garden. Value: $200
Don't know a hydrangea from a hosta? How to know more plants - fast.
From size guides, cost calculators & quick reference sheets, to my 'Gardenmakers Questionnaire'. Tools that make the job easier and the results better. Value: $300
How to take your hand drawn plan and use Computer Aided Design to create and manage it digitally. Value: $400
Get started today for just:
Get all the personal garden design consulting and individual advice you need for your current and future projects.
*The Garden Makers Mastermind is only open to Garden Design Lab students and Alumni of the Garden and Planting Design Boot Camps.
Upgrade to VIP Support with:
Frequently Asked Questions
(no questions asked)
Continue to spend more time and energy trying to figure garden design out on your own... (and probably not get it right)
finally have a proven roadmap and Support to create your beautiful outdoor space so you can finally be proud of your house, increase the value of your investment, and ultimately, enjoy the fruits of your labors.
If you've read this far, you have two options:
You're in the right place!
I'm looking forward to meeting you inside!