Changing your landscape involves committing your time and financial resources.  We recommend the following steps as you research whether a Heritage Garden is right for you. If you find it all a bit daunting, don't despair. We are happy to meet with you and help you through these steps.

Do You Want a Heritage Garden?

  • Learn what Heritage Gardens are about. Does this concept appeal to you?

  • Familiarize yourself with the basic requirements of a Heritage Garden.

  • Visit existing gardens by taking a virtual tour as provided here or visit one in person. It's important to determine whether you like the look and feel of a low water-use landscape. Keep in mind that Heritage Gardens can take on many different looks depending on the plants and materials you select.

Function and Fit

How do you plan to use your property? How is a Heritage Garden best integrated into your vision? Consider the amount of time and financial resources you are willing to expend. Heritage Gardens can be fairly low maintenance but like any other garden, they are by no means "no-maintenance" landscapes. Thinking about how much time and money you want to expend on your landscape up front will help determine the type of garden that is right for you.

  • Lawn - how much lawn do you want? Although lawn requires a large amount of water, it does provide a function for children, pets and guests.

  • Existing plants and structures - Consider what you do and do not like about your property as it is now. Make a list of what to keep and what to remove.

  • Rules - Know what rules apply. Do you have a homeowners association? Do you know where your property lines are?

  • Location - Consider where you want to create one or more Heritage Gardens. Your garden may be any size or shape provided the criteria in the checklist can be met. If you aren't sure what locations make the most sense, we can discuss this with you during our site visit.

What is Your Style?

You may feel strongly about the style of your garden or you may simply want suggestions. Either way, it is helpful if you have an idea of what you do and do not like in the look of a garden and landscaping. Here are some approaches you may find helpful in defining your style.

Tour Heritage Gardens. See what others have done. Every garden is unique. Take note what you do and do not like in these gardens and how you might have done them differently.

Collect Photos - One of the best ways to capture your style is to collect images of gardens that show what you like and also what you don't like. These can be places you've seen in your travels or taken off the internet. 

Research Online - The criteria of a Heritage Garden can be worked into almost any style. The plants will be different than most gardens you see, but the look can be similar. The following are some resources you may find helpful in defining the style that works best for you and the area you wish to landscape.

For fun, here are quizzes that might help you in thinking through what style is right for you.

Sketch a Plan

Preparing a sketch in the early planning stages will help us better understand what it is you are trying to accomplish. This sketch may be simple or as detailed as you like. Showing where you want your garden(s) is a great first step. 


Consider how you feel about getting out and gardening. Are you looking for a project you can participate in on a frequent basis or do you mostly want to get it done and stand back and look?

No garden is maintenance free, but there are ways to design them to be less care intensive. If you love gardening, then taking an approach that allows the plants to re-seed may be right for you. If not, then the use of fabric and hardscape can reduce weeding and irrigation maintenance.


Plants - Most native plants that we recommend are readily available from native plant nurseries throughout the Columbia Basin. In many cases the nurseries will deliver plant stock. We will help you with choosing plants that best fit your conditions. 

Irrigation - Familiarize yourself with your irrigation system. Most Heritage Gardens require some watering by driplines. If you have an existing system where you plan to create your Heritage Garden, locate the lines. This will help us help you in determining how best to water your garden. 

Hardscape - Be thinking about mulch. Generally some amount of mulch is needed to keep the soil down and provide a finished look although bare soil may be appropriate in some settings. Rock mulch is best suited for many of the drought-tolerant plants. Bark mulch may be used to hold in moisture in areas where the plants are not averse to sitting in moist conditions. Boulders will add focal points. Pavers and flagstone may be used on paths and sitting areas, providing interest and reducing maintenance.

See the Vendor Information page.

DIY or Hired Help

Finally, how will you achieve your objectives. Many of our Heritage Gardeners have done it all themselves. Some have done most themselves but hired help for the more labor-intensive tasks. Or you can hire it all out. 

See the Vendor Information page.