Category Archives: On the Tables

Roseland Accelerated Middle School


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Firma Design Group is excited to have a hand in Roseland Accelerated Middle School’s creation.

We are involved with an incredible team of consultants, including AXIA Architects, assisting Roseland School District.  The new campus for the  middle school, that speaks with the existing elementary campus, while keeping the elementary school and middle school identifiable as separate.

As p662-2art of our design, the middle school will enjoy the outdoor creekside seating classrooms along with a beautiful new landscape.

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.

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.

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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.

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Stay tuned for more updates in Spring, 2018.

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BallettoIt was our honor to be approached by the Balletto Family to design the entry monumentation and driveway remodel for Balletto Vineyards.  In 2013/2014, we assisted the Balletto’s with a large production building addition.

Our aim is to create an entrance experience as prominent and tasteful as the establishment the family has created.  In our vision for the entrance, we are incorporating a multi-level natural stone Gate Elevationwall that grows larger as you approach a custom, subtlety-symbolic gate.  The driveway that leads off the main road and funnels through the gate will be paved with concrete pavers and accented by colored-concrete banding.  The site, located on rural Occidental Road, called for grasses and perennials that would blend in with the formal country setting prominent throughout the Balletto’s property.  The materials used 2017.06.13. PLANT_PALETTE5in this project were selected to compliment each other, the winery itself, and its surrounding environment.  The intent of the proposed design is to signify visually the main entry of the winery.

Firma Design Group hired by Marin County

Marin Independent Journal article, May 2, 2014


The Marin County Board of Supervisors hired a Petaluma firm for $84,700 to provide an audit and assessment of water and irrigation pipelines at Marin County Civic Center, including Marin Center and the fairgrounds.

FIRMA Design Group will provide information that will be used to develop a maintenance schedule and long-term capital renovation program.

Our Vice President, Mike Cook, Registered Landscape Architect and Firma Design Group were hired by the County of Marin Public Works Department to work on the Civic Center Campus Waterline Renovaton Audit & Assessment that will observe, audit and assess the entire Marin County Civic Center, Marin Center, Lagoon Park and the Marin County Fairgrounds.  We are looking forward to working with Marin County Department of Public Works, County of Marin Parks Department and the entire team of professionals at Marin County.

Our team was selected over 3 other firms due to our professional experience, including the fact that we are expert at reviewing irrigation systems and existing landscape.  We are Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditors (CLIA, by the Irrigation Association; we are registered Landscape Architects in California, Nevada and North Dakota; we have an immense amount of experience in auditing irrigation systems to develop recommendations for efficiency upgrades and improvements thus saving water and much more.

Our team will work with County of Marin staff to ensure that the entire Marin County Civic Center campus is or will be using as little water as possible to irrigate the landscape.

Canyon Green, Novato

Work Progressing
Work Progressing
Home Entrances
Home Entrances
Model Homes
Model Homes

On a recent trip to Novato, California, I was driving down the road and came upon one of our projects from a year or two ago.  This project is the site of an old hospital that was decommissioned when they built a new hospital.  The hillside site was challenging, but we were able to locate 25 home sites situated around a nice 1 acre park site.  It was a pleasure driving down the street and seeing buildings popping up, and as you can see they are moving pretty quickly!

Canyon Green is being built by Castle Companies.  From the website (

Site Plan for DevelopmentWhen we began in 1966, we were a close-knit group of family members with a real passion for home building. Now we’re still family-owned and operated—and our desire for building homes with unsurpassed quality grows stronger everyday. It’s this dedicated, hands-on approach that keeps us in touch with our roots. Combining a history of dedicated home building with the warm touch of a family business, the Castle Companies has evolved into one of the leaders in Northern California’s building industry, and in the process has earned a reputation for creating beautiful homes of distinction and superior craftsmanship. We set out in 1966 with the goal of providing high-quality homes for the kinds of people that we grew up with, and we haven’t forgotten that purpose, in spite of the rapid changes that have occurred around us.


Firma Design Group involved in ICF Builder Top Project

Michael Cook and Steve Kovanis were involved with the Casa Bella Verde project as the landscape architect of record for this award-winning project located in El Dorado, California.  This national award is given to top projects using ICF products, this specific project used IntegraSpec ICF units, over 60,000 square feet of the product.  (see award here:

Construction Underway
Construction Underway

The landscape on this project was extremely drought tolerant, native and locally specified.

The landscape is currently being installed and we’ll upload pictures when we are able to take them.  Here you can see the extent of the landscape areas:


Landscape area between house and guest house
Landscape area between house and guest house

Sonoma County Residence: Update

Custom made gas lanterns

As the year progresses, so do our projects, and we are proud to present the next update to the Sonoma County Residence we are so proud to be a part of within the Mayacama

Entrance Driveway

Golf Club estate.  Firma Design Group has been responsible for all site planning, assisting with grading and drainage and layout of all exterior elements – in addition to planting, irrigation and lighting.  As the exterior begins to come together for this project, we will have more updates as time goes on.  This absolutely incredible residence created by Farrell Faber & Associates of Santa Rosa, California and complemented by the exterior planning by Firma Design Group will be an incredible addition to the Mayacama neighborhood.

Commerical Renovation, Redwood City

Firma Design Group has been retained by Seaport Centre I, II, and III  and C.B. Richard Ellis (the management company) to assist with the renovation of the streetscape within their more than 80 acre corporate campus in Redwood City, California.  The streetscape consists of both sides of over a mile of roads.  Improvements being considered include new trees (removal of existing Poplar trees for a species that is more appropriate), new sidewalks, new plazas, pedestrian elements, eemoval of earthen mounds, native landscaping, Bay Friendly maintenance and installation guidelines and much more.

Just moving into the Conceptual Desisgn phase, we have attached several documents to this post so that you can take a peak.  These are preliminary drawings that we are still developing, but it gives you a good idea of Firma Design Group’s capabilities.  Marty Goldsbrough, President and Michael Cook, Vice President are the Principals-in-Charge.


Sonoma County Residence: Relocation of Trees Completed

As of Saturday, August 6th, Environmental Design has relocated and finalized the planting pits for all three large Oregon White Oak trees (28″, 20″ and 4-6″ sizes), and we are happy to say that no tree injuries occured and no human injuries happened!  The staff and the crane company did an amazing job of maintaining the safety of the trees!  The trees look great and you can see the process in the past few posts, as well as the pictures above.

Here is a movie as well:  MovingLargeTree