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Wanted: design consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area

Started by matthias, February 24, 2012, 12:08:43 am

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Does anyone have a reference for a design consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area? I want to create a Japanese courtyard garden for our house remodel. The atrium will be seen from the kitchen, the living room and from one of the bedrooms. See picture below.

Thank you for any references!



Matthias,.. nice space.. I should move to San Francisco..    ;D

lets check and find out who is in San Francisco ..   
any idea what you would like?
historic or modern?  The space suits modern better than historic..   edzard


Edzard, yes, please move here. I need your help :)

We are envisioning a tranquil space to look at. Not too architectural. Somewhat minimal in that we don't want too many plants. A couple of trees to shade the right side in the picture (there are windows that you can't see in the picture). Gravel and stepping stones in the middle. Some "green islands" of ground cover that can survive without tons of water (i.e. moss is out, we are in a mediterranean climate).

The left side (as seen on the picture) has a ledge that is about 2 feet high. We envision some natural flat stones to make steps down into the atrium, and other large stones to bridge the hight difference.

So, all in all probably a more natural setting. We like the contrast between the modern house with clean lines and the more natural garden setting.


Mark Born is a contributor in this forum and for Japanese Gardening Organization.  He practices in the SF area.  I am sure there are more - Edzard do you know?


Don, I'm moving to SF..  8)       Mark can stay home. No need to wake the dragon...

actually Mark Bourne was one of the first people I thought of for you that is capable of handling your (Matthias) space with the capability that the site deserves and release the potential that is there. However, I need to check my geography of the US.. is not Mark closer to LA?

For you Matthias, in addition, to bring the third part of the equation to fruition, one of the important things that had crossed my mind for your design was that I hope you have seen Marc Keane's 'Tiger Glen Garden'  that is featured on the Front Page of JGO  http://japanesegardening.org/  . (yes/no?)

The reason being that you would benefit by deciding an intellectual idea that becomes your 'courtyard' garden.
The front of your garden is then a prologue that sets up the dialogue in the courtyard. A four sided sculptural living painting per se`. (diorama?)
                      (and, green ground cover is not out of the question.. there are solutions.)

The same goes for Pauls' garden, except we need to figure out the dialogue that already exists. Most small spaces would benefit from this idea, rather than pre-deciding about materials and then cooking up an idea to suit, yet, it can also be done.
   I'll go wake Mark up     edzard   (I'm still waiting for some other replies, unless they have directly contacted Matthias themselves)


Hi Edzard and Don

I looked up Mark Bourne's contact info. He seems to be right next door to where I live (in the next town), so I'll definitely give him a call. Excellent reference!

I just now looked more closely at the Tiger Glen garden. Very nice. I love the stream that's evoked with the stones. I will read the detailed descriptions later.

The front yard currently is planted with various Japanese maples and several different types of bushes, e.g. Barberry, Pieris, Azeleas, and many others. It's now too wild and busy for our taste, and the plants are too close together. We will have to remove a lot of them due to the remodel project (foundation work) and will hopefully do a better job in arranging plants afterwards. I learned that it's just as important to focus (and spend money :) on stones and groundcover than it is to buy specimen plants.

I wish I was able to express our vision for the end result in proper words and with a nomenclature that you pros understand. I guess that's where a good consultant will come in handy.

I haven't gotten any other responses/references off-line. Any additional suggestions are very welcome.

Thank you,



if Mark is busy then we can work through it inside the forum..
keep the plant material, heel it in somewhere, reuse what you can.
and do read through keane's description...

I as a 'pro' am probably still rather unenlightened and have been where you are, so.. as far as description is concerned, try me, or us.. as I'm sure that most professionals remember where they were and how they got to where they are now.


As a follow-up, i wonder if Matthias found a design consultant?


Hi Don,

Someone did contact me with a great reference to a local firm. We have not yet worked on the design, since the approval of the house plans by the city planning commission took the better part of the year. I will update the thread once there is more specific results to report :)

I was never able to get in contact with Mark Bourne, unfortunately.



Dear Matthias-san,

Just PMed you regarding my interest in working on your beautiful home. I would love to have the opportunity to learn more about what you are looking for. Please reply if you think it would be a good fit for you. :)


Yoshi Chiba


Matthias, perhaps when you are done with your consulting, you can encourage them to become a JGO sponsor! 

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