Functional Outdoor Spaces


With Spring and Summer right around the corner Firma Design Group can bring outdoor living to life.

Outdoor landscapes should align with the architecture of your home, which speaks to the quality of the home and community while making  a statement of one’s unique individuality.


By connecting the  outside to the architecture either by the layout, hardscape materials or plant design, this, is what inspires the soul and creates an outdoor functional entertainment venue.

All the while utilizing water sources responsibly, not only working closely with our civil engineers on stormwater management, but also by planning with water wise and native plants, quality drip irrigation systems and integrating hardscape designs into the overall plan, to mention  a few.


Our landscape architects and designers can be reached at (707) 792-1800.

To read a related article, click here.


Welcome Jim Del Carpio


Firma Design Group is pleased to introduce our newest Landscape Architect, Jim Del Carpio.

Wanting to relocate to Northern California, specifically Sonoma County, for some time he saw the job opportunity and wasted no time in taking it.  Jim brings to FDG 28 years of experience and a lot of enthusiasm.

We asked him some questions, read his answers below to get acquainted with him.

What led you in the direction of landscape architecture?

The idea and activity to design in and onto our physical environment.  As a young boy growing up next to an open, uncultivated three-acre field, I and my neighborhood friends would enjoy the constructing of bike/moto cross trails, jumps over water and “whoopee doos,” high berms in consecutive sequence and difficulty.  Furthermore, we would also dig up secret tunnels and dens, build secret forts and tree houses made out of locally found materials.

How long have you practiced Landscape Architecture/Design?

I have practiced landscape architecture and design from an early age of 12 years old, see above.  My formal education began in my late 20’s, early 30’s when I began to work with a landscape designer/builder.  I haven’t stopped since.

Where did you attend college?

Prior to transferring to Iowa State University, I nearly completed a two-year Associate of Arts degree in Landscape Design and Construction from South Seattle Community College.  I received my Bachelor’s degree with dual majors in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies from Iowa State University.

Where did you begin your career?

My professional career started prior to attending Iowa State University.  For several years,  I worked and constructed residential landscapes with a landscape designer and builder in Tacoma, Washington.

Why Firma Design Group?

Along with wanting to relocate here, I was drawn in by Firma’s diverse portfolio and services they offer to the community, with this I had no question as to whether or not I wanted this job.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy seeking and discovering new landscape (environmental) areas, the history, culture and recreation opportunities.  When not actively involved in outside activity I like to listen to music and lounge around the house.  I like to travel and would like to participate in adventure travel, preferably with my girlfriend.

Jim can be reached at 707.792.1800, ext. 108 or by email

What is your landscape worth!


As we continue with the fire recovery efforts and claims adjustments are being issued, Firma Design Group has been instrumental in assisting fire survivors in the valuation to replace the damage caused to their landscapes.  Most people don’t know that their landscape is typically 5% to 10% of their home value, but adds about 15% to its overall worth.

In an effort to help homeowners recover some of these costs FDG has been engaged in providing replacement and code upgrade estimates that can be submitted to insurance companies for supplemental increases to their claims.  This requires the review of any existing plans, photographs and site visits to collect the data necessary for the estimate.  Our years of experience in providing statements of probable construction costs, enables us to provide accurate estimates to replace what they once had. In addition, we review when the landscape was originally installed and provide a code compliance estimate to bring the new landscape up to current State or local Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) and CAL Green compliance.

As part of this community and survivors of the fires, Firma Design Group will be here to help assist in the recovery and rebuild efforts. We continue to look for ways to assist our community and provide valuable services to our clients. If you are in need of assistance or just need clarification of the rebuild process, we are here to support you.  We can be reached at (707) 792-1800.

Donald Fernandez


Firma Design Group is excited to introduce Donald Fernandez, our newest AutoCAD Technician.

Donald comes to FDG after interning and working with the City of Willits, Par Electric and with several Companies in Southern California.

Get to know Donald by reading his answers to a few questions, below.

Where did you get your education?

I received both my Associate’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Aided Drafting from ITT Technical Institute along with my Certificate as a Civil Engineer Technician from Santa Rosa Junior College.

Have you worked in this field prior to joining FDG?

I have interned with the City of Willits focusing on Utility Surveying.   While working with Par Electric, Southern California Edison, County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Water District I was working on utility layouts and configurations.

What drew you to FDG?

I felt strongly that I could hone my knowledge and skills as a Civil Engineer Technician working for and with Firma Design.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m a fisherman at heart, bass fishing, mostly.  I enjoy target shooting and designing prototypes for fishing equipment, R/C cars and many other types of hobbies in which I can make or design prototypes.

Donald can be reached by calling (707) 792-1800, ext. 109 or by email –



We are excited to be an exhibitor at this year’s Expo, a FREE EVENT for North Bay Fire Communities.

Going green is beneficial for our Planet, County and all of us, come learn why.

Friday, February 23rd at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building

1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa

10 a.m. – 7 p.m.   ~  60+ Exhibitors will be in attendance.

There will be morning seminars on why it’s best to go greenSeminars covering many topics which include  energy-efficient Zero Net Energy Residences, financing green buildings, adding granny units, fire-resistant construction and sustainable materials, rooftop solar systems, defensible, drought tolerant landscapes, and much more.

Come meet and ask the professionals for advice and check out all the exhibits.

Resilient, Affordable Rebuilding and Landscaping Options

To connect to the Expo’s website, click here.



Unified Wine & Grape Symposium


The largest wine and grape symposium in the nation is taking place this week in Sacramento.  Our Mike Cook, Vice President/CFO, is in attendance.

The Symposium provides attendees direct access to the latest information they need to remain competitive along with disaster preparedness and recovery.

The wine industry faced unprecedented hurdles in 2017, from drought, to heavy rain and most recently, the wildfires.  The symposium is addressing these issues with many scheduled sessions on topics to hear about the best practices, trends, products and the issues affecting the industry today to better plan for the future.

Gina Gallo of E. & J. Gallo Winery opened the symposium as the Keynote speaker.  And, with over 650 vendors displaying their products and services this year’s symposium is sure to serve as a clearinghouse of information.

To read more, click here

Bouchaine Vineyards, Inc

As the new year kicks off, 2018 is going to be a great year for Firma Design Group.  One of our largest, more complexed construction projects will be completed in 2018.  We started construction in late 2017 after a 3-year planning and building department review.  Firma Design Group (Mike Cook) led the effort of our staff, as well as a full design and construction team to get to this point.  Mike worked with out-of-the area owners over that period to get approvals from the County of Napa.

IMG_2878   IMG_2871   IMG_2868

As you can see, from the photos, the steel is up and this Winter and Spring will be a busy time at Bouchaine Vineyards.  A fully custom-designed building, with two different curved exterior walls, will truly be unique to the world.

2017084 009   2017084 007   2017084 033

Stay tuned for more updates in Spring, 2018.

2017084 003


The Rain is Upon Us

download (1)

We can all be prepared to lessen the danger and damage of potential flash floods, debris flows and mudslides as we have seen occur in Southern California.

Many of our local, state, federal agencies along with non-profits have been hard at work to protect our watershed and working hard to prevent floods, mudslides, and debris flow here in Santa Rosa and the entire County.  As we have all witnessed these preventative steps have helped greatly.

The fires scarred our landscape creating a waxy coating leaving the ground more vulnerable to erosion due to the fact that the burnt upper layers of soil repel water, which accumulates rapidly and flows with a strong intensity lending itself to picking up sediment, boulders, trees and other debris that creates a bigger punch than just mud.  These potential hazards will stick around for a few years.  With this in mind, along with the preventative steps being taken, residents need to implement erosion-control measures on their property.

A professional can assist you in assessing your property and what needs to be done.  Cleaning your property of burnt trees,  plants and other matter may not be a good solution because some of this debris may act as protection from wind and water erosion and slows the water runoff.  However, clearing debris from nearby streams, storm drains and drainages is necessary to keep these channels clear.


It’s important to hire and/or consult with a licensed civil engineer with erosion and sediment control experience along with design, installation and maintenance experience.

A long-term maintenance plan is needed.  One of the main reasons recommended treatment practices fail is the lack of long-term maintenance by the landowner or responsible party.

To stay up to date click here,

Sign up for SoCo Alerts by clicking here,




On the fence about Rebuilding – or Not?

There’s help!

Sonoma County is a beautiful place to live and I believe will rise to new heights through this rebuild.  I have talked to many who have lost everything and now I am seeing the for-sale signs and it saddens me.  We don’t want to lose our fellow Santa Rosan’s.  “The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are stronger in the broken Places,” Ernest Hemingway


Hopefully, with our help and the help and knowledge of AIA California Council, The American Institute of Architects new website,, you will decide to rebuild and stay.

By clicking on the link above you will find a wealth of information on Rebuilding, Homeowner Insurance Tools, Insurance Guidebook, Disaster Assistance (State & Federal) and Questions and Answers for fire survivors.

Not only does this website assist with the after effects it will help all of us consider preparedness options in case of wildfire, earthquakes and other natural disasters in the future.


Welcome Alison!

AlisonFirma Design Group would like to introduce you to Alison Brown.

Alison will be our Office Manager while Nicole is out on maternity leave.  Alison comes to FDG with many years experience in Sales and Office Administration.

Outside of work, Alison enjoys spending time with her 3 grandchildren, her  family along with her dog, Max.  She knits and enjoys attending live music events in beautiful Sonoma County.

Alison can be reached at 707.792.1800, ext. 116 or by email at