About Vanessa

Practicality, aesthetics, ecology, and value drives

Vanessa Gardner Nagel, FAPLD, NCIDQ.

Vanessa designs interiors and gardens that help her clients stay sane in a chaotic world.


Living in Minnesota, California, and Florida before moving to WA State 33 years ago, her Bachelor’s degree in interior design with a minor in microbiology, post-grad classes in landscape design, AND 45 years of design practice provides the expertise to be a strong, knowledgeable designer.


Vanessa practiced commercial interior design in San Francisco and the Bay Area; commercial interior design and landscape design in Portland/Vancouver and now in South Puget Sound, garden design and interior design. Vanessa:

-has gardened for over 55 years

-knows her materials and plants

-has taught interior and landscape design at Portland area colleges

-wrote two years of interior design columns for The Columbian in Vancouver, WA,

-wrote two garden design books (see more about her books and read her blog),

-speaks about gardening challenges and design at a variety of venues (including webinars), from the West Coast to the East Coast, and Michigan to Texas.

She is also a consulting expert to assorted journalists who write about plants, gardens, interiors and design and a sought-after design judge for shows and design award competitions.


Vanessa Gardner Nagel

Certifications and Memberships

  • APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers), 2020 APLD Award of Distinction’, became a fellow in 2018; certified member*, former APLD’s International Board member for 5 years, Oregon Chapter’s 2009 President and current member
  • NCIDQ-certified (National Council of Interior Design Qualification)
  • IIDA (International Interior Design Association); past professional member & Oregon chapter president

What People Are Saying

“…artistic ambiance…”

“She not only provided a very functional design but was able, within very tight time frames and budgetary constraints, to incorporate an artistic ambience which has received many complimentary remarks from staff and clients”

—Michael Brown, Branch Manager, Scotiabank, Portland, Oregon


“We couldn’t be happier!”

We couldn’t be happier and still enjoy our beautiful French boxwood garden – complete with boxwood birds and a giant Fleur-de-Lis. Rarely does a day go by that someone doesn’t rave about the stunning masterpiece that Vanessa created. We have also had Vanessa design landscapes for our businesses. They are just as stunning and each unique. We are truly grateful to have met Vanessa. She has always been respectful of our deadlines and budget and always exceeded our expectations!
—Bernice Skoro, Portland, OR

French front garden


We are honored for the awards we’ve received, by the publications who have found value in our design contributions, and the distinction of providing our expertise in design competitions.


  • 2020, recipient of APLD Award of Distinction, click here for more info
  • 2019, APLD International Design Awards, for the Nagel Garden
  • 2018, APLD confers Fellow status to Vanessa
  • 2017, APLD Harry Schuster Service Award
  • 2013, APLD International Design Awards Competition for the Swirls! project
  • 2010, Grand Prize award from WALP (Washington Association of Landscape Professionals) for our Riverside Arts & Crafts Garden;
    The award was through submitting contractor: Woody’s Custom Landscaping.
  • 2004, Sunset Magazine, Award of Excellence, Landscape Design Competition for the Pebble Mosaic Garden


Over the past 20 years, Vanessa has judged projects for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Seattle’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show, and Portland’s Yard, Garden, and Patio Show.

Give us a jingle. Drop us a line.



“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

-Walt Disney