A Vision Alive Today


Vera Schultz – a woman ahead of her time earned the title of “First Lady of Marin”. Vera not only was the first female member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, she was a true pioneer for women’s rights in Marin and a trailblazer in the fields of urban planning and environmentally sensitive design. Vera established Marin County’s Parks and Recreation Department, as well as, the Public Works Department. So when it came to having enthusiasm for Frank Lloyd Wright’s radically modern design vision for the Marin County Civic Center she stood her ground in the 4 year “battle royal”. And today the Marin County Civic Center is considered one of the finest public buildings in the United States.

In 2015, Firma Design Group was retained by Marin County’s Parks Department to develop a Landscape Master Plan, coherent of the initial vision of Frank Lloyd Wright and Vera Schultz, of fitting into the natural environment. With as much enthusiasm as Schultz and Wright, Firma Design developed a master plant palette and micro-climate palettes with special plants that can thrive in Marin County. Firma Design Group is working further on developing the overall Landscape Master Plan for implementation in the coming year. We were also contracted to map and assess the existing irrigation system and landscape plantings which along with the proper plant species have increased the system’s efficiency. To read more on our state of the art GIS mapping, click here.
To read the MARIN September 2016 article,click here.

Landscaping – A wise investment?


After a seven-state survey of attendees at consumer home and garden shows, the answer is a resounding – YES.

Respondents were shown a photo with a surburban house with nothing more than a lawn and concrete pathway.  Then viewed the same house with different levels of landscaping.  The levels of landscaping showed the following:

  • Foundation planting only
  • Foundation planting with one large, oblong island planting and one or two single specimen trees in the lawn
  • Foundation planting with adjoining beds and two or three large island plantings, all incorporating curved bed lines

Plant types ranged from Evergreen only, Evergreen and deciduous plants, Evergreen and deciduous plants with 20 percent of the visual area of the landscape beds planted in annual or perennial color to Evergreen and deciduous plants, 20 percent annual or perennial color and a colored brick sidewalk entrance.

The respondents ranked design sophistication as most important with plant size second in importance.   Respondents ranked diversity of plant type as least important.

The survey results clearly say an excellent,  low-maintenance and easy-to-maintain landscape upgrade increases a homes marketability by 10-12 percent.  The value also enhances ones personal enjoyment,  which is priceless.

In the end, investing in the services of a landscape design professional will optimize the value of your home which will continue to increase over time with the growth and maturity of the trees and plants.