Landscape Architecture and Design, Garden Coaching, Consultations
Outdoor rooms, edible landscapes.
Hara Gardens specializes in tailored approaches to your unique garden space.
About Hara Gardens
Landscape architecture and design services for Marin County, CA.
"Influenced by the gardens of Japan, but educated about sustainable design practices for the numerous Mediterranean micro-climates of the Bay Area, I have adopted a so-called "California Zen" approach to the landscape. From entrances to outdoor living spaces, each space should have a unique architectural signature to reflect the homeowner's aesthetic while supporting the Bay Area's natural habitats, including the conservation of water, through thoughtful design.
"Hara" is a term I learned in martial arts sometime in 2012. Loosely, in Japanese, it means qi or energy in the central abdomen. Renowned Tai Chi teacher Kenneth Cohen, author of The Way of Qigong, says ”...the belly is considered 'field of the elixir,' where you plant the seeds of long life and wisdom.” I use this analogy in my approach to landscape design, where the delicateness, hardiness and resilience of life is illustrated through the seasons. I'm a proponent of America's Rewilding Project which underscores the importance of pollinators, native plants, and organic gardening practices.
As a permaculture enthusiast, I encourage clients to consider growing food. In fact, the first bite of a strawberry grown in my backyard inspired my journey in landscape architecture. Creating a home eco-system with children teaches the connection between soil, water, and nutrition. I love sharing my own home recycling ecosystems, composting and vermiculture, which provide organic fertilizer and helps build bio-dynamic soil, a practice which puts carbon back into the ground and helps all living things flourish. Always on the lookout for how to make permaculture beautiful to the eye, I source home composting units from Sweden, and vermiculture bins from New Zealand.
Lauren Anthony Cargill completed the UC Master Gardener training in 2013, and earned her degree in Landscape Architecture from Merritt College in Oakland, the Bay Area's only horticultural-based program. She mixed classes from Berkeley Ext., UCLA ext., College of the Desert, Oxford School of Garden Design and Eco-Landscape Mastery.
She is a fifth generation gardener with a passion towards water stewardship and functionally beautiful design.
"Lauren really took the time to listen to what we were thinking and she helped guide us to wonderful ideas that had not occurred to us. She clearly knows and loves her plants, assuring they are placed appropriately to make wonderful outdoor spaces. We also appreciate her occasional check up visits."
Barbara A., San Rafael
Consultations and Coaching
Consultations can save a lot of time and costly mistakes for the homeowner. Hourly appointments can be include an on-the-spot design, a visit to the local nursery, or a phased outline for a larger project. Many times, I can identify what is in your garden and advise maintenance practices going forward, and even provide a plant list for compatible species for the DIYer.
A surcharge may apply for travel further than 20 miles from San Rafael, CA 94901.
Landscape Design Service
Designing a full landscape requires an artful process of sharing ideas. I'll either hand draw, to scale, a plan view of the new landscape, in phases to be approved of, or use a mix of AutoCAD and Adobe Creative suite.
Most homeowners budget 10% of the value of their home for their outdoor space.
Real Estate Staging
Curb appeal is crucial and yet so many choose to forego a simple re-design when money spent will ensure a good first impression. "Staged" landscape designs are based on the architecture and location of the home, as well as the aesthetic of the interior stagers.
I find it beneficial to work with the existing gardener when installing a simple plant design, however a landscape installation company is sometimes needed for larger projects. I have worked with many contractors over the years and can oversee the bid process if desired.
I source healthy plant varieties from wholesale trade nurseries in Sonoma.
"We love our new patios! Lauren listened to what I had been planning for months, and insisted upon some modifications based on her knowledge of what works and doesn't. Now, throughout the year, our outdoor rooms bring our family much more pleasure than our old tired lawn."
Sarah A., Kentfield
A jewelry designer needed to spruce up her front and back living areas in anticipation of a family reunion. The fence was painted to match the house, the front courtyard was filled with a soothing but cheerful palette of succulents, natives, grasses and a standard flowering blue hibiscus. Salvaged wooden shelves were stained, planted with succulents, and hung on the wall.
The side pathway planters were lined with clumping bamboo for privacy. Landing at the lagoon patio, an espaliered Black Mission Fig and 7 year old Meyer Lemon lead the way towards custom planter boxes filled with a mix of Mediterranean culinary herbs.
A 24-foot planter along the length of the deck, facing the lagoon, was filled with "Stipa tennuisima," a popular but invasive grass that I use only in very confined situations.
Riviera Circle, Larkspur
Riviera Circle, Larkspur
A beautiful new bluestone patio and staircase installed by the homeowner inspired a collection of waterwise Mediterranean and South African plants (and a french drain.) This design was in collaboration with Beth La Dove at Modern Farmhouse.
A CA native front yard had not grown in well, and a mother-in-law courtyard was barren. The resulting design included removing a non-native tree and a new glossed cedar fence. A new flagstone patio outside of the master bedroom and a new walkway through to the mother-in-law courtyard improved the flow and availability of more space. I chose various grasses and flowering shrubs, succulents and as a nod to the family roots, a pomegranate tree. An unused back patio and deck were framed with a new 36" raised cedar planter a row of Oakleaf hydrangeas. A shady walkway was brightened with repeated planters filled wth orange Abutilon.
"Gardens are the slowest of the performing arts."
The homeowners faced a very dry, very steep hill in the back yard. In a collaboration with Modern Farmhouse, we designed a landscape inspired by famed Danish landscape designer Piet Odouf, who "paints" with plants. I walked away form this project with a new and profound appreciation for native wildflowers.