Click here to see built projects, look at some theoretical design sketches and browse our design portfolio for residential and commercial landscape architecture.
Don't forget to check out Luciole Labs for innovative ideas for resorts, housing, institutional design and more!
Most, but by no means all of our projects are near Sacramento, California. We'll work anywhere we're wanted, however.
Browse this area for general information on the design process, plants and the people involved.
You can find out about hiring a contractor to do the work - or do it yourself from our plans.
You'll also find other topics, like the difference between landscape architects and designers, good plants for Sacramento in this section.
See how the design process works at Luciole Design here.. We offer simple verbal consults, more detailed sketch consults, and various levels of plans.
Generally, our services run from simple to detailed - starting with consulting, moving through conceptual plans, 3D imaging, perspectives, construction drawings, detailed plans and on-site advice during construction - depending on the option chosen.
Our principals are both licensed landscape architects and hold masters degrees in landscape architecture.
You can read more about out firm, browse our bios, find out what our principals do when they're not designing landscapes, and even see some art.
We also answer the question, "what's a luciole?".
We favor a rich, contemporary landscape design style that transforms landscape elements into functional art, based on sustainable design principles. If you browse our portfolio, you’ll see how we strive to make each design artistic yet functional, each landscape custom tailored to the needs of the client. You'll also see that no two designs are alike.
We do not consider sustainable design to be a style. Sustainable landscape design is a set of guiding principles used to make the design environmentally friendly, but the project can look modern, Asian, Moroccan, Mexican, Spanish, eclectic or have virtually any other style you like.
Most of our design work is in the Sacramento area, but we have designed landscapes as far away as France and Washington state. Our normal range is between Santa Rosa and Los Angeles.
Our design process
Design is a process that requires feedback between the designer and the client. Each successive design concept moves toward a better solution as it refines what should be included, its placement and how it should look. We build feedback into our approach, so you’re involved in the process all the way.
Both our principals have training in art, and even exhibit their works in galleries from time to time. They use this artistic background to conceive fun and interesting landscapes and apply illustration techniques to clearly communicate design ideas. We're one of the few firms in the Sacramento area using three dimensional computer modeling to illustrate and virtually tour new projects.
Sketching by hand forms the basis for our initial designs. Drawing by hand is faster and easier for developing initial ideas than any computerized process.
Once we've arrived at a design, we scan it into the computer and apply state of the art three dimensional modeling to visualize the new project, complete with shadows specific to the project location.
When we've illustrated the new design concept (or concepts) in plan view and with perspective drawings, we meet with you to present the new landscape and then again to brainstorm the final design based on your feedback. Following this meeting, we transfer the finalized design to the computer for final refinement, then prepare construction drawings that will be used to build the new landscape.
Both principals have masters degrees in landscape architecture from Cal Poly, Pomona and are licensed landscape architects in the state of California. In addition to these degrees, one partner has a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from ESAJ in Paris, France. The other has a degree in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz. As far as we know, we’re the only Sacramento area landscape design team with education, training and experience in France.
We’ve lectured at UC Davis in the landscape architecture department and continue to speak about landscape architecture and about new ideas in design.
The profession & the community
We’re involved in the profession of landscape architecture and design in other ways, too. Mike was the webmaster for the local chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) web site. Annette served on the chapter’s board of directors. Mike was chapter president in 2007. Mike is a past member of the APLD.
Mike was one of three landscape architects on the board of the California Central Valley Horticultural Foundation, a group of people hoping to establish a world class botanic garden in the Sacramento region. One of the main assets of the garden will be a series of gardens illustrating the multitude of cultures that make up the California landscape.
Annette is a past volunteer at the gardens at the American River Water Education Center (ARWEC) in Folsom. The center focuses on water education and best landscaping practices for conserving water. Both principals participate in the center’s lecture program as lecturing landscape architects and designers.
Both principals participate in community charrettes, where design professionals team up with city or county officials and citizens to dream up designs for local communities. Our most recent charrettes involved design concepts for a zoo and a high school, both arising from their involvement with the ASLA.
Mike and Annette frequently give public presentations to educate people in various aspects of sustainable design, including basic principles, planting design and maintenance. If you would like us to speak at your event, please contact us.
We bring our extensive international experience to every project we undertake. With computer aided design and the Internet, we can discuss design ideas virtually anywhere. Our farthest project so far was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - but most of our projects are closer to home.
Our approach uses a mixture of hand sketching and computer applications, applying the most efficient workflow possible for producing clearly illustrated, easy to read sketches and plans. Once we've created a design, we often model a new project in three dimensions so we can virtually tour the new project before it's built and can create animated walk-throughs of the project. We often sketch out ideas during meetings, too.
Our presentation sheets and plans are typically a mix of hand and computer drawings. Concept drawings typically are hand drawn, scanned into the computer, and combined with text to create 24" x 36" displays depicting the proposed concept. With this process, we can easily make multiple copies or convert the drawings to pdf files and send them via the Internet. Working drawings are done using a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) program for optimal accuracy and ease of transmission - and can also be converted to PDF files when anyone wants an electronic copy of their plans.
Where we work
Our office is located in Sacramento, in California's Central Valley. We'll go wherever we're wanted, however. We've worked on projects all around Northern California, with some fun in Central California on the coast, some more tropical designs in Southern California and even farther away, from France to Ethiopia.
Tools of the trade
Initial design ideas, concept development: drawn by hand. It's still faster, easier to change and more fun. Once we have something that works, we scan it into the computer for presentation or further development.
We used to use Adobe products, but they've become more and more expensive. So much so that affordable, acceptable alternatives have begun to appear. Adobe products are still better, but are they $400 per program better?
Photo processing: Canon DPP, Pixelmator.
Page Layout: Pages, VectorWorks.
Vector Illustration: Vectorworks, Intaglio.
Raster Illustration: SketchBook Pro, Pixelmator.
3D modeling: SketchUp.
File transfer is typically in pdf format, sometimes jpg. We do not release editable VectorWorks files except to professionals we collaborate with.
If you want fresh, contemporary design ideas with an international flair, please contact us!
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