Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who are some of your clients?

A: Right now, one of my largest clients is The Burton Inn:   I am delighted to be working with Deborah Kohler to renovate the gardens. We will be incorporating edible flowers in the landscape, cutting flowers for the Inn, and fencing off the terraces in the back to grow vegetables for the restaurant.
I also maintain the gardens at April Sherman's coffee stand in Vashon town, and Michael Curtin's Chiropractic services in town, and have a number of private clients. One of my clients has been asked to have their garden on the garden tour this year, and I am helping to get it ready for that major event.

Q: How much do you charge?

A: My rate is $40 an hour.  For heavy work, I bring others in at  $25 an hour, and high school students at $15 an hour.  

Q: Can you trim shrubs the way I like them?

A: Absolutely. Some clients prefer a natural look.  This requires going inside the shrub and finding the appropriate branch to cut, to reduce overall size without the shrub looking like it got a bad haircut.  Sometimes a bush trimmed as a hedge needs to be rejuvenated to a more natural look. I can do that, but it is not done in one trimming.

Some clients prefer some of their shrubs to look clipped, as a single shrub or as an even hedge.  I can do that as well.  It is important with hedges that they be trimmed so they are narrower on the top than the bottom. This allows the bottom leaves to get light, so the hedge has leaves all the way to the bottom. If a hedge has gotten out of control, and is bare on the bottom, it can often be renewed through careful pruning and time to recover.

Q:  I need a lower maintenance yard or garden. Can you help?
Yes.  Sometimes a garden becomes high maintenance because of how it has been designed:  too many specimen plantings, for example, or no lawn edging, or it has tight corners not good for mowing around, or other reasons.  We can work on re-designing your garden for lower maintenance.

Sometimes a garden is high maintenance because of summer watering needs. I can help design and install a drip irrigation system for you, and bring in mulch where needed.

Sometimes a garden is high maintenance because of weeding.  I can remove weeds, replace them with plants you want, and also put down cardboard and mulch (called sheet mulching) to kill whole areas of the garden filled with weeds, with very little work. Then, after 6 months or so, you can plant through the mulch and cardboard.

Q:  I want my garden/property to be managed organically. What is your experience there?

A:  I have been gardening organically all my life. I subscribed to Organic Gardening magazine when I was 15 years old.  More recently, my husband, Michael Laurie, and I have worked together to reduce the use of toxic pesticides on Vashon.  We have created both a website:  with lots of great resources for people, and a Facebook page: