Design Process Our Philosophy and How We Work

Garden photo of multiple textures

Founded in 1999 by Susan Leahy, Garden Alchemy provides garden design services to homeowners in Oakland, Berkeley, and the East Bay Area.

We will create your perfect garden by working closely with you every step of the way. During an initial meeting we will learn more about your vision for your garden, answer your questions about the design process, and share potential design options and ideas. If we agree to work together, here is how we’ll move forward:

Start with You
Garden Alchemy embraces each landscape project as a new challenge. At the beginning of the design process, we take the time to fully understand how you want to perceive and experience the landscape. This important starting point informs our design process.

Embrace the Landscape
Once we establish your desired sense of experience, we carefully consider the inherent assets of the existing landscape, reflecting on what the trees, grades, views, and architecture offer. Working together, we develop the vision and goals for your project. The design solution that emerges is one that will be unique to you and appropriate to the site.

Continue the Conversation
We listen carefully to the needs and desires of our clients. Because we meet regularly to gather feedback throughout the design process, we can weave together the landscape elements and experiences that mean the most to you into a cohesive whole. When the design is complete, we collaborate with a talented group of contractors and artisans to ensure quality installation.

Consider the Environment
Sustainability is a core value at Garden Alchemy and we take care to incorporate ecological design/build practices into all the gardens we design. We love using repurposed and recycled materials in our garden designs and enjoy hunting for unique reuse treasures with our clients. We create planting plans that are beautiful to look at, respect fragile water resources and flourish in our Mediterranean climate.