Residential Landscape Designers for Portland, OR

Custom landscape design for your modern family.

Landscape design is the foundation of most great Portland area gardens. Yours won't happen by accident. You need a serious landscape plan.

Start with your property and style, add our skill and experience, and be in love with the results for years to come. Let's collaborate to create an outdoor space that is beautiful, distinctive, livable, and truly sustainable. The process will be smooth and enjoyable for you.

Our landscape designer, Ben Bowen, will meet with you during a free consultation. We will walk your property, discussing your needs and hopes for your landscape. At the end of the consultation you should know if we are right for your project, and we will know if your project is right for us.

Is Ross NW Watergardens the design/build landscaper for your project? Let's meet and find out.

Landscape design styles:

Ross NW Watergardens is comfortable working with many styles. Our portfolio is diverse. We are able to create anything from a traditional front yard to a French/Asian-inspired drought tolerant garden. And many of our best landscapes combine many styles and meet the demands of multiple concerns. But since you asked, here are some specific styles we really enjoy:

Why a Ross NW Watergardens landscape design?

Your landscape design must be beautiful and functional.  A "good" landscape design can take many forms. But it must really work for your family's life style and your property's realities! 

We maintain a strong focus on livability, resisting the urge to fall in love with an idea that will only look good on paper. Your landscape will really work.

And if you give us a budget we will respect it.

What is Ross NW Watergardens' landscape design process?

Landscape Design Consultation. Our free consultations are an enjoyable meeting, not a sales pitch. Landscape designer Ben Bowen will walk your property with you. He is there to listen, answer your questions about us, and maybe ask a few as well. If we are a good fit for your project then you will receive a...

Landscape Design Proposal. Within a day or two Ben will email you a proposal for a design. Our landscape design agreements (see below) are simple, clearly spelling out what you will be getting.

Design Fee. When you email your acceptance of the proposal (why wouldn't you?!) we will send you an invoice for your landscape design fee. You can mail us a check or use our online payment option.

Site Visit. Ben will now get to work on your design. Within a few days he will return to your property to take pictures and measurements.

Design Presentation. Ben will meet with you to present the initial version of the landscape design. He will usually leave you two black and white paper copies of the design, a color digital copy, and a "design details" document that explains the key elements. This meeting is usually 1-2 hours long.

Feedback. You now let us know what changes need to be made to the design. Is there a solution we propose that doesn't seem to fit? Plants that you don't like? Let us know!

Revisions. Based on your feedback Ben will revise the design and send you a digital copy. If needed, a second revision will be done as well. 

Completion. You now have a design that meets all your needs and desires- though probably not in exactly the way you imagined at the beginning of the process! If you have given us a budget to work with the design fits that as well. You will have paper and digital copies of your finished landscape design .

If you are ready to proceed Ross NW Watergardens will submit a proposal to turn your landscape design into reality.

Contact Ross NW Watergardens now to get started.

Your landscape will thank you!

Landscape Design FAQ's

  • Do I need a full landscape design?

A full landscape design is often the best way to get your project started. Full scale designs are needed for large or complicated projects or if you know you will have difficulty visualizing your landscape's potential. It is also valuable to have a design when you plan to complete the project in phases.

Simple landscape projects may not require a full design, just a clear description of the work to be performed. We can provide pictures of plant materials and techniques that we will employ. Here is a project that proceeded this way. Both approaches have benefits and drawbacks. The key is to choose what makes you comfortable.

  • Who are your landscape designers?

Joe and Ben Bowen are both landscape designers. Ben, though, is our primary designer. We have decades of experience designing and creating landscapes in the Portland area. Find out more about us here.

  • What does a landscape design cost?

Our landscape design fee minimum is $1000.00. Each design proposal is custom, based on your project scope and the demands of your site. A sample landscape design proposal is below.

  • What kind of landscape plans does Ross NW Watergardens produce?

We utilize a CAD-based computer program to produce professional 2D designs. We provide pictures and descriptions that help you envision the design. We do not produce elevations or renderings.

Why not? 3D renderings are cool, but don't add much to the process. They tend to set expectations that can't be met in reality. The boulder delivered to your project will not look like the one in the rendering. Neither will the plants. And don't even get me started on the pitfalls of renderings of water features.

What we do offer is the combined power of a 2D design and written explanation, along with pictures that serve as examples. We do a good job of enabling even the least imaginative client to see what their new landscape will be!

  • How long does a design take to complete?

Depends on the scope and time of year (more on that here). A detailed design, requested during the summer, can take 4-6 weeks to be presented. Additional time is needed to make revisions. It's a process, so make sure you are working with someone you like!

  • How much input do you have into the design?

Tons. The design process is guided by your preferences. Multiple revisions are included in the design agreement, ensuring the final landscape plan is just right for you. I have been on many consultations with clients who had a design from another designer- a design that didn't fit their style. That will not happen with us! We love modern landscape design, but if that is not your style then it won't be the style of your design.

  • When do I need a landscape architect?

Large projects, with a high degree of complexity, benefit from the technical background a landscape architect provides. LA's can tell tradesman how to build something. Landscape designers can not. We are happy to consult on your project and refer you to an excellent landscape architect. We have several that are incredibly talented and wonderful to work with.

Joe and Ben Bowen

Joe and Ben Bowen

Sample of designs in our portfolio:

Ready to meet and start the design process?

Good, so are we! Contact Ben today and schedule a free landscape consultation.

Sample Landscape Design Proposal:

Ross NW Watergardens proposes to provide design services for landscaping at the [your home].

The scope proposed is:

Design Area

Front yard design including (but not limited to) general landscaping, main entry, screening from street, and drainage. A budget of $35,000.00 has been provided for the project.

Scope of Work

The tasks to be completed include:

1. Detailed measurement of the design area including all structures & existing plant material locations.

2. Analysis of site conditions and microclimates of the property.

3. CAD based design of the design area showing to scale locations of structures, plant materials, other softscaping, hardscaping, boulders, lighting fixtures, and other key landscape elements.

4. Plant list.

Please note that the scope of work does not include:

1. Detailed construction or working drawings for any site structure.

2. Irrigation system design.

3. Elevations or renderings.


You will receive a to-scale copy of the CAD design at the design presentation, along with a digital copy of the final design. Two rounds of minor design changes are included.

Time Schedule

I will begin work upon receipt of acceptance email and the initial design fee. I will complete the design within four weeks and then contact you to schedule a design presentation meeting. Needed changes will be completed in a timely manner, usually 7-10 days.

Fee & Payment Schedule

I will complete the above described work for a total design fee of $1500.00.

Major revisions involving more than 2 hours of design time will be billed at an hourly rate of $75 per hour.


If this proposal is satisfactory and acceptable to you please or e-mail your acceptance. I will then email an invoice for the design fee. Design work will start upon receipt of the design fee.