Design Process

At Karen Aitken & Associates, we believe business is a bit like gardening; with a proper foundation and a little bit of love and nurturing, the seeds we sow grow and grow. And that’s how we want your experience to be. Coupling excellent client service with beautiful, fresh designs, we aim to be the love and nurturing for your home to be the best it can be. <needs a bit of work>

If you any questions, you can reach us by using our messenger in the bottom right hand corner, or emailing us at (Replies typically within the day.)

hand sketch snippet by karen aitken and associates copyright

Phase 1: SketcheS

After acceptance of the estimate proposal and the initial meeting, Karen Aitken and Associates begins the first part of the creative and engineering process – a design study.

By combining 2D and 3D artistic expertise and masterful knowledge of the botany for the California areas, this landscape masterplan is created to best suit your needs and desires, whether mediterranean, modern, drought-tolerant, or otherwise.

Phase 2 : Construction detailing + modeling

With the design of your dreams further articulated in a beautiful 2D and 3D format, Karen Aitken and Associates gets into the grit of construction details; planting plans, drainage and irrigation plans, and dimensional plans (for every arbor, deck, fence, or bocceball court) for submittals. Construction documents can be received in as little as 3 weeks – an industry leading timeframe. This timeframe allows for greater flexibility in the next phase: city submittals.


1_Photo - 3.jpg

phase 3 : city submittals & Construction

City submittals can be a long and difficult process due to extensive government regulation. This is why it is so important to have an initial sketch finalized, because landscape changes in this phase can be costly, both in time and money, which trickles into taking extra time in the submittal process. A finalized sketch allows for expedited construction document speeds, which almost always results in quicker submittal turnarounds – tasks that were once thought of to be the most arduous in the landscaping process. That’s where Gardens of the Valley comes in.

Gardens for the Valley is a sister company to Karen Aitken & Associates and acts as the “build” firm for our landscape architecture work. Gardens for the Valley’s family-oriented, client-first mission go hand in hand with our own goals. We design the gardens, they build it. And they maintain it. Buy furniture for it. Submit the plans for it. Grow it. <needs more work>