SERVICES (Design, Installation Assistance, Stewardship, Educational Programs)


GNL is a design only micro-business..  You can have a detailed design plan for a section of your yard or the entire yard. A nature-based design can also include simple patios, walkways, vegetable gardens, compost areas, and other structures. Our “ABOUT” page summarizes our nature-based design goals. Below is our design process.

Because, GNL is a design only company, this gives you the flexibility to do the work yourself,  work with the excellent installation and maintenance contractors we use, or use your own landscape contractor.  Also, this allows GNL to focus on our passion: environmentally-friendly native plant design.

High level design process:

  1. Initial email/phone conversation to see if we’re a good fit. Email an optional questionnaire before onsite meeting. 1 hour, No charge
  2.  Onsite initial meeting to discuss your project and ideas together while walking your property.  1-2 hours, No charge.
  3.  If you’d like, we will email a detailed design planning estimate for $100, 2-3 hours. The $100 estimate cost is subtracted from the design costs if you move forward with a design. Design planning costs depend on complexity, size, goals, existing plants to work around, problems to be resolved, etc. Photos are helpful, especially when designing in early spring or winter, or for periodic problem areas. 
  4. Upon acceptance of our estimate, we schedule your design plan. We work on designs on a first in, first out queue.
  5. Design planning begins by revisiting your property to collect more data, then developing high level design plan for review. The final steps include developing the final detailed final plan with supporting documents.
  6. We present your final design plan in person or online. We’ll also discuss installation options, and collect final payment. Our installation assistance services are described below.


With design plan in hand, you have the flexibility to install yourself, hire one of the 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, review plant and materials with contractor, and being onsite during the installation as needed to ensure design intent is followed. We also share our eco-friendly installation techniques for the do-it-yourselfer.  Hourly charge

GARDEN COACHING / STEWARDSHIP (for design clients only)

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 help getting started, we can schedule a visit and work together with you as a garden coach. If you’d need stewardship help on an ongoing basis, we have a native plant stewardship contractor.  Hourly charge. We also share stewardship tips on  our Notebook blog and Facebook pages.


These educational programs are available November through March to garden clubs, nurseries, environmental organizations such as The Green Earth Institute, Wild Ones ,Wild Things Conference, College of DuPage, The Conservation Foundation etc. Call for fees,  descriptions & available dates. 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 and other ways to infiltrate run-off, common mistakes to avoid when creating a rain garden and plant suggestions.
  • Gardening with Native Plants through the Seasons (1 1/2 hour) – With over 16 years of designing and 18 years gardening with native plants, Denise shares which native plants grow well and look good in most small-medium landscapes. She’ll focus on those readily available at local plant sales and nurseries. She also shares design tips, and specific wildlife-plant dependencies to appreciate and foster.  

We'd love to help you and the environment!

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

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