GNL is a design only company. This gives you the flexibility to do the installation yourself or work with the excellent installation contractors we use, or you can hire your own contractor, when you are ready, no pressure. 

Denise, the owner and designer, can create a detailed design plan for a section of your yard or the entire yard. Designs can also include simple patios, walkways, vegetable gardens, compost areas, and other structures. Our “ABOUT” page summarizes our environmental design goals. Below is the design process.

1. Initial Inquiry

Through phone call/email, determine if we’re a good match for you.  If so, we’ll add you to our wait list for an initial meeting.  SERVICE AREA MAP here.

2. Initial Consultation

We walk your property together to discuss your project and ideas. Your photos / videos of seasonal problems can be helpful if problems not apparent during visit. ( 2 hours).

3. Generate a Design Estimate

Email a design planning estimate and project summary. Initial consultation and estimate fee is $100, paid at end of the initial meeting.  $100 will be discounted from design costs if the  estimate is accepted. (3 hours)

4. Schedule Your Design

Upon your acceptance of the estimate, we schedule your design plan. We work on design plans on a first in, first out queue.

5. Design Planning

Revisit your property to collect additional data Develop your base plan, then your high level plan and review together. Complete your detailed, final design plan and supporting documents.

6. Final Design plan delivered

Review your final design package together. Final payment required upon delivery. We’ll also discuss the installation and stewardship options.

2014 Chicago Wilderness Conservation and Native Landscape Award

We'd love to help you create a beautiful, functional, kind to the Earth landscape!

A detailed, professional design plan will also save you time and money in the long run.


With design plan in hand, you have the flexibility to install yourself, hire one of the wonderful independent landscape contractors we work with, or use your own contractor, when you’re ready.  Our installation assistance service is highly recommended to ensure a successful installation, saving money and time. This service includes any or all of the following: overseeing the quoting process, reviewing plant and materials with contractor, and being onsite during the installation as needed to ensure the design intent is followed.  Hourly charge

   STEWARDSHIP / GARDEN COACH (for design clients)

Stewardship is environmentally-friendly maintenance. This is not traditional maintenance. Stewardship is especially important the first 3-5 years to successfully establish your landscape, and then periodically on an ongoing basis. If you need ongoing stewardship help, we can refer you to a knowledgeable stewardship contractor.  We can also schedule a visit to your landscape to offer hands-on stewardship advice with our garden coaching service.  Hourly charge. We also share stewardship tips on  our Notebook blog and Facebook pages.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS (For gardening clubs, conservation organizations, libraries, …)

These educational programs are available November through March to garden clubs, nurseries, environmental organizations. My spring-fall programs are limited due to my design work.  Both these programs are offered in person or over Zoom. Please contact Denise for availability and pricing. Topics:

  • Rain Gardens – Tips and Common Mistakes (1.25 hour) – We must treat rain water as a precious resource instead of a waste product to be removed from our properties. A rain garden infiltrates some of your run-off from your property, reducing flooding downstream and pollution entering local waterways. Learn tips for creating a rain garden, other ways to infiltrate run-off, common mistakes to avoid when creating a rain garden and plant suggestions from Denise who has designed many rain gardens since 2004.
  • Gardening with Native Plants through the Seasons (1 1/2 hour) – With over 18 years of design planning as a business and 20+ years gardening experience with native plants, Denise shares the native plants she uses most often in her designs because they are beautiful, versatile, and easy to grow, especially in small-medium landscapes. These plants also do well in clay soils, are easy to purchase locally, and take a range of moisture conditions as well as sun conditions. Learn about their physical attributes, design tips for each, and the wildlife they support. All of this is critical now as weather extremes become the norm and wildlife need even more habitat. A handout summarizing the plants, design tips and wildlife is provided.  .

We'd love to help you and we know you'd love to help the environment!

Please contact us if you are interested in our services or have questions. Thank you.

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