Matt Heck’s Network of Trusted Business Partners
Spirit Garden Design
I’m a landscape designer in the garden coach in the greater Seattle area with a sustainable approach.
Designing gardens is my passion. Organizing space outdoors is my soul’s work. Creating a place that sustains happiness is my goal. I have a degree in landscape design, am a certified horticulturist and have been designing gardens professionally for over 16 years. Each garden is a new adventure and I always get excited at the prospect of creating a new garden.
I work with people in their garden, teaching them proper gardening techniques and how to care for their garden. There’s a fine line between garden maintenance (which is somebody who will come in and do everything for you); and what I do. The client is out working in the garden that and I am working with them side-by-side showing them how to transplant, pruning, how to renovating a little area.
What niche does Spirit Garden Design Serve?
My focus is with helping empty-nesters who have their house back – the kids have gone off, moved away. They love being outside and upscale amenities and they want to create a garden that’s special to them.
Also homeowners in their late thirties and forties in their second home, who want to landscape or garden to be more accommodating to their current lifestyle, perhaps their entertaining, their kids are older. Maybe they want a hot or fire pit something like that.
And then lastly would be young families in their first home who want to upgrade or improve the functionality of their property so they have young children, they want to make the yard safer for the children to play, they want to grow food. I can help in defining the yard area and get started planting vegetables.
What is the focus you bring to your design work?
My main focus is actually designed, the coaching came a few years out of a sense of responsibility where I design and create a garden with them. We create the thing and I turnover this living organism to them. I felt responsible in teaching them how to care for it; people may or may not know how to do that.
I have landscape contractors that I refer on the project and then they come in and do the installation and build the garden and then I will stay involved as the liaison or project manager between the client and the contractor. As the person who has already developed the relationship with the client, I know what the client wants and what their intentions are; I can communicate that the contractor. A lot of times people are working during the day and they can’t be home to communicate with the contractor; I can be on site and make sure that the design gets installed as it was designed or intended.
What does a long term relationship with SPIRIT GARDEN DESIGN look like?
I am working with a client out in Issaquah who had saved for 20 years for her dream garden. I designed it and had the contractor install the garden. Now I back and work with her about twice a year, in the early spring and late fall to work in the garden get it ready for the next season. That’s where the coaching comes in.
There are other clients that I stayed in contact with. If they move to a new home that I have designed their second home or maybe we started in the front yard, often they will call back to finish the backyard
Lucinda, How did you start Spirit Garden Design?
Garden design has always been a hobby of mine. I was living in Minnesota probably over twenty years ago and remember thinking I can do this because I enjoy it so much, I have a natural ability. My dad had a beautiful garden and my aunt had a beautiful garden, my grandfather was an organic gardener. So I think it’s kind of in the genes.
After I moved to someplace warmer, I made a career change from corporate America into the landscape field. I love being outside, I love making things better. It’s important for me to teach people how to care for the planet.
What is the importance of good garden design?
The importance of good design is that you can add as many plants as you want and still have good structure. With poor design it doesn’t matter how many plants are added, you can’t make it look better. A well thought out design selects the right plant for the right place in the proper material. Another important consideration is soil preparation. If you feed the soil and the plants have a lot of nourishment and microbes, then your plants are going to be happier and healthier. Just as we humans, if we eat healthier food, then we are going to be healthier.
Does Spirit Garden Design have experience with Water Gardens for this rainy Seattle climate?
Basically rather than sending the water off to the sewer system to be filtered and processed a water garden does it right on the property. Once again soil preparation is important, so that there’s a lot of compost and it drains properly. The other factor is having the proper plant so that the roots help to filter that water; there is microbial activity that is present with those two design factors that helped with the filtering of water before actually get any lower in the water table.
What has been your biggest challenge in this business?
I say dealing with the rock ‘n roll economy. Like a lot of other home services landscaping is a discretionary item and when the economy is challenging some of those discretionary dollars go away. What I have found is that running a business in this a challenging economy has encouraged business owners and service providers to become more creative in working together and collaborating. The other thing is advertising or word of mouth marketing has been even more important.
What professional and volunteer organizations do you belong to in Seattle?
I am very involved in community service; I’m on the advisory council for the Japanese Garden, previously I was on the board of directors for Seattle Tilth; and I helped organize Koman Race for the Cure for about five or six years.
How do you know Matt Heck and Heck Painting?
I haven’t had the opportunity to work with Matt directly. I am impressed with his experience and approachability. I talked to a couple of his client and they have great things to say about him that he shows up, that he does what he said he would do, and that does a great job.
And a great guy!
What sets Spirit Garden Designs apart from other landscapers?
I would say that this sustainability is really important to me, just that common sense approach: offering good design, plants, materials and selection. I love collaborating with my client it’s a project that we work together on. The final is the client’s, I may recommend something and if they would rather make a different choice, I will help them make an informed choice. Ultimately it’s their garden. I’m also a certified horticulturist and I have a degree in landscape design.
What kind of things do you do to relax?
Well. I work in my own garden. I also love anything that’s outdoor, baking, dancing, and community service.
I do Cuban style dancing; traditional, cha-cha-cha… my husband plays Cuban music, he plays the flute.
What areas does Spirit Garden Design serve?
The areas that I served are Edmonds to the north and Normandy Park to the south, from the west Magnolia and Ballard, and to Woodinville in the east.
Coaching Services Include:
- Book It – a personalized compendium of your garden.
- Curb Appeal – how can I make this look pretty?
- Decision Key – steps to help you decide which plant to buy.
- Doctor – my plant is sick, help!
- Gardening 101 – gardening basics (soil, water, light)
- Let’s Get Acquainted – an introduction to your garden.
- Let’s Get Dressed Up – design tips on enhancing your garden’s natural beauty
- Planning – let’s think about this first.
- Plant ID – trees, shrubs, flowers and weeds, oh my!
- Plant versus Weed – who stays? who goes?
- Planting 101 – planting basics.
- Pruning 101 – learning the 3 Ds.
- Questionnaire – what’s this for?
- Resources – where can I get…? who do I call?
- Shopping – did someone say shopping?!
- Stuck – answers to the question “What do I do now?”
- The Green, Green Grass of Home – organic lawn care
- This is Fun? – it is!
- Tools and Techniques – what is this thing and how does it work?
- Urban Gardening – what can I do with a deck?
Great Gift Idea and Community Builder: Gather a few friends and book a gardening party where you will learn more by working in each other’s gardens getting hands on experience, having fun and building community.