Landscape Design Service

Want a more drought tolerant garden but not sure where to start? Our landscape designers can help!

As a leader in water wise plants and sustainable design, the Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery’s design team specializes in creating gardens that are beautiful and welcoming while also being drought tolerant and environmentally suited for our Mediterranean climate. Whether you are looking to completely redo your garden or just add plants for better curb appeal and drought tolerance, we can meet your needs with services ranging from hourly Garden Consultations to full custom design plans that include selecting the best plants for your garden given your micro-climate, plant, color and style preferences. We only use drought tolerant plants in our designs.

To get started, please fill out our form: Design Inquiry Form

The Garden is the perfect place for inspiration, and offers a chance to see what many drought tolerant plants look like when they mature. Plan your visit today!

Our Service Options

1. Garden Consultation

  1. All our landscape services start with a consultation.  We walk through your garden and discuss what you want for your space. We make suggestions as we go and help you evaluate how to best proceed with your project.  This is a great opportunity to get our professional opinion on ideas or questions you have regarding your garden.
  2. Please have multiple images of both what you would like the space to look like and any plants you would like to incorporate if possible.  We cannot produce a drawing or a list of plants, and the consultation will be primarily a conversation.  The client should be prepared to take notes.
  3. The one-hour consultation is $190 for RBG members and $220 for non-members.   Payment by check is due at the time of the consultation.
  4.  All consultation clients receive a 25% discount punch-card they can use to purchase plants five times in the nursery over the next six months.
  5. After the consultation we will send you a proposal for a full design if that is something you request.

Onsite consultations beyond a 10 mile radius of the Garden are charged travel time in each direction starting at $75 per 10 miles

Evening and weekend appointments are available for an additional charge

2. Garden Consultation Plus +

(For gardens 200 square feet or smaller.)

  • Add an hour of plant shopping at the RBG Nursery with your landscape designer who will advise you on plant selection, placement in your garden, and ongoing care and maintenance.

3. Full Design & Plan

  • Begins with a Garden Consultation
  • Typically also includes:
    • One Planting Plan
    • Personalized Pinterest Page with suggested plants
    • List of plants with recommended sizes
  • Plus the following meetings:
    • Site Survey
    • Virtual Concept Plan presentation
    • Virtual Final Plan presentation
    • Plant placement on planting day
  • Other plans, such as hardscape, irrigation and lighting are also available and can be added on request
  • Hourly rates for plans are the same as for consultations. Simple, hand drawn, non-scaled plans for one garden area start at around 17 hours and scaled, computer drafted plans start at 22 hours.


25% Off Design Discount CardDesign discount card

All landscape design clients will receive a discount card entitling them to 25% off plant purchases from the RBG Nursery which is valid for 5 purchases within six months of design completion.


For a sample Color Planting Plan click here
For a sample Plant List click here

Note: We do not do installation

Questions? email us at LandscapeDesign@ruthbancroftgarden.org


This is what our customers are saying about us:

“We contacted the design staff at the Ruth Bancroft Garden to give life to two neglected areas in our front yard. We wanted drought tolerant plants. The experience from the first visit by the knowledgeable design team to seeing the finished product was a pleasure. They made it very easy on our part.  We highly recommend these professionals.” – Doug & Vicki F.


Ruth Bancroft transformed my garden. They worked with me to define the elements I wanted to keep and the space I wanted to create. They created an amazing design that also contemplated light and irrigation. The finished project brings me joy every day!” – Meghan R.


“I love it so much.  This is why you hire a professional!” – Anne-Marie

Drought Tolerant Plants

The Nursery is stocked with water wise plants and natives. Our Nursery staff is also extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to answer any questions you have about whether or not a particular plant will thrive in your yard. If you’re looking for a plant that we don’t currently have in-stock, or want to make a large order of plants for your water wise garden, it is best to email the nursery at Nursery@ruthbancroftgarden.org


Contra Costa County Lawn to Garden Rebate Program

Our landscape designers are also authorized consultants for the Contra Costa Water District’s Lawn to Garden Landscape Design Assistance Program. For more information about this program, visit the Contra Costa Water District’s Lawn to Garden Rebate Program Contra Costa Water logo website. The vast majority of the plants we carry in the Nursery also qualify for rebates through this program.

Approved CCWD Lawn to Garden Rebate participants, upon completion of their project, also receive a 20% off RBG Nursery coupon to use towards the purchase of new plants.


Service Areas

East Bay: Our general service area encompasses the area within a 22 mile radius of the Garden which is roughly north to Highway #4, south to Highway #580, west to Oakland and east to Antioch.

San Francisco and Marin: Additional hourly travel-time fees may be added to design work done in these areas.

Davis Area: We also service the neighborhoods surrounding the 95618 zip code of Davis, Winters, West Sac, East Sac, Land Park, Discovery Park, and Midtown.

Before and After Photos

Cricket R.

Landscape Designer and Nursery Operations Manager

Plant centered design is the focus of all of Cricket’s work at the Garden. From designing gardens, to giving workshops, from writing about plants in the newsletter to ordering plants for the Nursery, educating people on the beauty, diversity and sustainability of regionally appropriate planting is always her goal. “Your garden should look good, feel good and do good. If we’ve accomplished those three things, then we’re successful” Cricket has an AA in Landscape Architecture from Merritt College, a BA in History from UC Santa Cruz, and an MA in Broadcast Journalism and Near Eastern Studies from NYU.

Email Cricket R.

Angela M.

Associate Landscape Designer

Angela grew up amidst the stunning diversity of flora and fauna of the Appalachian Mountains. Gardening and landscape design occupy her thoughts most of the time. She is creative, active, and always wants to be surrounded by nature’s beauty. Prior to her work with the Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery, she worked in a U.C. Davis Viticulture and Enology Group studying nitrate levels in soils. For five years, she managed the grounds of an exquisitely planted historic estate in Davis, CA. She later piloted Colusa County's first Farm-to-School Program, working with students and stakeholders to design and build gardens at area schools. She holds a BS in Horticulture from U.C. Davis, where she benefited from the program's emphasis on sustainability. Angela believes residential and public gardens are a vital component of a healthy world and she is thrilled to be part of the RBG team.

Email Angela M.

Becky P.

Associate Designer

It was living in urban spaces where Becky started her passion for low water gardens and design. While transforming her own “blank slate” garden in San Francisco, she experienced the immediate impact of greening her neighborhood through street tree plantings and doing tree care as a volunteer. Before joining the RBG team, Becky was a researcher and did garden maintenance and design. She believes designing with climate adapted plants sets clients up for success and ground gardens with a sense of place. Becky has an AA in Landscape Architecture from Merritt College, and a BA in Media Studies from the University of San Francisco.