Garden Maintenance

Parent Q&A

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  • My Oakland backyard needs cleanout HELP

    (2 replies)

    Hi, my small backyard and driveway are TOTALLY overgrown with a massive blanket of morning glory vines and other weeds, but below this are native plants and a low leggy and very fruitful fig tree that I want to save. There is an unmovable car in the driveway. The weeds are really everywhere, and it is too too much for me to do. I need a cut and slash and haul gang to come and rescue me and my fig tree. Ideally they would cut weeds and vines, remove the plant debris, lay think layers of cardboard (I have tons of boxes but may need more), and mulch with a heavy cover of dark woodchips. A bonus would be an object-junk haul-away as well. My front yard (smaller) could use a tidy, but it is not nearly as critical. This is a small Oakland bungalow with a medium flatland Oakland yard. What might this cost? Any recs? English speaking preferred, I don't speak Spanish or Laotian/Hmong/Vietnamese. Thank you ! 

    Bernardo is really great. He works on my parents yard in Glenview and we've had him to our house in Berkeley several times. His English is fine. 510-715-5265. He is super reasonable and very reliable. 

    Unsure whether this will fit into his scope, but several families in our neighborhood including ourselves worked with Miguel   510  301  6893

  • Electric Mow & Blow services?

    (1 reply)

    We are looking for once- or twice- a month gardeners who do not use gasoline-powered equipment. We have minimal landscaping--we're really just looking for mow and blow services. Any recommendations? Information on rates/cost is much appreciated. Thank you!

    I live in Berkeley where gas blowers are illegal, so for a few years I've been using Joel Garcia every week. He uses an electric blower as well as a rake and broom. My yard is very small so this may not be relevant for what you would pay, but I pay Joel $40 week. It takes 2 guys about 15 minutes to clean up my front and back yard and driveway. I don't ask them to prune or weed because I like to do that myself, but I think they will if you ask for that. He is very easy to communicate with by text and he uses Venmo. Joel's mobile: 925 826-9600


  • I'm looking for someone to due a general yard clean-up, prune trees, weed, etc., as well as fix our sprinkler system and get it up and running. Any recommendations? Hoping for someone who isn't a fortune, but cares about their work and does a great job.

    I like Terra Petra gardens, they do good tree  work and general all purpose garden design and maintenance. 

  • Lawn Care Recommendation Needed

    (1 reply)

    Hi, I'm looking for recommendations for lawn care in Oakland. Eventually we'll replace the lawns but for now we need to care for what we have. I need mow-and-blow, weeding and the ability to troubleshoot lawn issues as they arrive. I'd like someone who uses electric blowers and keeps things organic (no Round-up or other pesticides).Thank you!

    Hi-- We have had Walter and Santos help with our yard monthly for several years. (We are in very south Berkeley, and I know they do some work in Oakland.) We've also had them do occasional additional larger yard projects. They are friendly and meticulous, and I highly recommend them. The best number to reach them is (510) 485-8570. You can say Christina recommended them on Berkeley Parents Network. 

  • Gardener and Lawn Mower

    (1 reply)

    We have a medium to large size garden as well as a lawn-both which care and maintenance twice monthly. Our current gardener is retiring so we would very much like recommendations of some persons or a small company to take over the tasks. The replacement(s) should be knowledgeable about plants, responsible, reliable and friendly. Please let us know if you have any top notch people or companies you think would do a good quality job. Many thanks.

    Hi-- We have had Walter and Santos help with our yard monthly for several years. (We've also had them do occasional additional larger yard projects.) They are friendly and meticulous, and I highly recommend them. The best number to reach them is (510) 485-8570. You can say Christina recommended them on Berkeley Parents Network. 

  • Hello, I’m looking for a gardener who is able to handle a yard that is in need of a lot of love (a lot of weeds) and who can slowly bring it back to life (advising on plants to incorporate). Our budget is tight so not looking for an expensive redesign but do want someone who has a good eye for design. Also someone who knows plants (especially natives/low maintenance) and who uses natural products (not chemicals/pesticides). 
    Thank you!


    Hi-- We have had Walter and Santos help with our yard monthly for several years. We've also had them do occasional additional larger yard projects, so I expect that they could could help slowly bring your yard back to life. They are friendly and meticulous, and I highly recommend them. The best number to reach them is (510) 485-8570. You can say Christina recommended them on Berkeley Parents Network. 

  • Gardener or Landscaper Recommendation?

    (1 reply)

    We are looking for a great gardener / landscaper to help manage our large garden as well as plant a vegetable and flower garden with us. If anyone has any good recommendations they would be appreciated!

    David Feix and his little crew are absolutely amazing! He can work with you on installing any kind of garden you want--mediterranean, low water, shade, etc. David is a longtime landscaper in the area. He's not a regular mow and blow guy at all. But I had David and his team come every other month during high growth seasons and then backed off during winter to economize. It was an approach that worked well. Sometimes David would just drop his 2-3 worker team (very steady folks) off for 3-5 hours, and he would only stay for one to help me stay within my budget as he charges more per hour for his time. Good luck! - Sarah           David Feix: 510-472-2702

    Here are some images from his designs on Flickr.

  • Our gardener doubled his cost so we're looking for someone else to keep our gardens trimmed. Most of the earlier BPN recommendations led to businesses that couldn't take on anyone new. We're hoping this has changed.

    I have a young woman doing garden work for me. She's knowledgeable and has a focus on organic gardening, and native and edible plants. Mostly she's helping me re-landscape our back yard, but she's also done some maintenance and she's quite thorough.  Definitely not mow-and-blow.  Her name is Lovi (low-vee), (510) 630-6333.

  • Seeking help to cut back ivy

    (1 reply)

    We live in a two story house where the ivy has grown up to the second floor on three sides and needs to be trimmed away from the windows. We have a ladder which will reach the areas but my husband is in his 70's now and reluctant to continue to undertake the job anymore. It would be grand if we could have some recommendations of people who might want and be able to undertake this task. My husband usually takes about 3 hours to finish the work. Many thanks.

    Our gardener/landscaper, Javiar, has very fair rates and is looking for more work. He would be great for this task. 510-706-6088.

  • Hi, does anyone have a recommendation for a reliable and not too crazy expensive gardener/landscaper to do once a month maintenance of a medium sized backyard and small front yard? We just need some shrub trimming + de-weeding once a month. I looked on Yelp but had some folks not show up for quotes or quote what seemed excessively expensive (over $500 for maintenance). I have a good friend also looking for the same (and had the same issues with reliability). Thanks!

    I understand the issues with garden maintenance. There is no one-size-fits all solution at a reasonable price, since hand-weeding, arborists, and skilled pruners are expensive. The mow and blow guys are cheap, but best to confine them to grass and weeds.  Here is my budget conscious solution. Every two years I have a professional arborists (M&M in richmond) prune the large trees and shrubs; every month the mow and blow guy comes to cut the grass (kikuyu weed patch) in front of the house and along the driveway (and blow the dirt onto the porches). Last year I put cardboard covered with mulch on most of the flower beds which has kept the weeds down considerably. Every time I step outside i weed or deadhead something, as a matter of habit. This spring I did all the hedge trimming myself armed with hedge trimmer and weed wacker. One could outsource this if cost effective. My neighbor's grandson who does this work well with an AA degree in horticulture charges $35 an hour, so not cost-effective for me.

    I recently hired a young gardener named Juan for tree removal, pruning, planting, and other maintenance, and he was great- friendly and knowledgable, not too costly. His number is 510 565 9673

    I have been extremely happy with our service at inside-out san francisco. See their website at I think they do the entire Bay area. Anyway, David the owner is honest, efficient, and quick to answer questions. We pay $250 for our monthly service but our yard is small to medium. If you set up a consultation, tell him Becky Mitschele in SF referred you :). He has taken good care of us over the last two years (and after another horrible landscaper experience). 

    Hi - I recommend Kevin Westbrooke who installed drip irrigation and weeded and mulched my garden. We also went plant shopping and he recommended perennials which his crew planted. His new email is gandydancer80 [at] A garden is a wonderful refuge in our times of pandemics. Good luck. 

    Try our person - Chea Uch, 510-914-6161. Reasonable prices, and very reliable. Such a kind soul w a calming presence! His assistant Romney is also very kind, and a hard worker. 

    We've been happy with Gold Finch Designs for monthly maintenance -- 

  • Thank you in advance for any recommendations for a gardener to hire, as well as a sense of going rates. 

    I had a large load of mulch delivered, and the person I hired to distribute (he is the friend of someone recommended by a neighbor) wanted $25-30 / hr each for him and a helper, but they were incredibly inefficient, didn't bring any tools or even water, and needed constant directing and reminding of what to do. I'm looking for someone who can efficiently distribute the mulch so I can get it off my driveway, and I'd like to know the range of what people pay for such directed, straight-forward work. I would like to hire someone who works well for various projects that arise; I already know quite a bit about gardening and don't need an expensive expert or plant curator, just someone to do the physical work that we can't always handle. I don't mind providing tools and water if needed, but do want the person or crew to work efficiently, and of course is kind as well. We live in the Oakland hills.

    I hire Joe Bob Gardening for periodic cleanup and specific projects. You just need to schedule a couple weeks in advance. The communication is very good, and the work is done reliably.

    My kid doesn't live near you, but you might be able to find some neighborhood teens through NextDoor.   My 15-year-old and his friends love getting these kinds of jobs through NextDoor, and appreciate the flexibility of lining up a Saturday job.    As a parent of a youngish teen, I appreciate when they are hired as a pair (my kid and his friend together), and when I get to meet the "employer" briefly by dropping them off at the start of the job.  They are strong and hard workers and  have typically earned $15-$30/hour depending on the job.  Sometimes the person offering the job offers minimum wage, but tips them at the end after seeing that they work as efficiently as some adults. They also enjoy working as a team, so often they can recruit an extra friend if needed to get an all-day job done in 2-3 hours.  If you specify that they should bring certain things (mask, gloves, water bottle, their lunch, or a shovel & broom for example), they do.    Typical jobs my teen has done in the past year are: weeding (lots of weeding in spring!), spreading wood chips, getting many boxes of things out of an attic down an attic ladder,  re-attaching insulation in a crawlspace. 

    The upside of hiring neighborhood teens is their energy, lower cost, weekend availability, ability to receive instructions well and knowing you can call on them again if you like their work ethic.  The downside of hiring teens is scheduling around school (they are not available weekdays during the school year) and their relative lack of experience so you should expect to show them how to use a wheelbarrow, how to lift safely, and you should be there to supervise and make sure they are doing what you want, the way that you want it.     

    Hi - you might considering hiring a young person from Enterprise for Youth’s job bank. The nonprofit trains students and places them in internships and about half of them go through the summer gardening program in San Francisco parks have experience with mulch. 

  • gardener?

    (2 replies)

    We were using one of the recommended people from here until he stopped showing/returning calls 6 months ago and now have lot of overgrowth. We are in the berkeley hills, looking for someone to do a deep clean then monthly trimming/weeding of a large lot. would love any recommendations. Thanks!

    I highly recommend Jacobo Torres. You can text/call him at (510) 485-6204 or his daughter, Fernanda, at 510-302-7322. They have done big clean ups, major pruning and now maintenance on our garden in North Berkeley.

    I recommend Kevin Westbrooke, email him at florere [at] He worked on my back yard. He and his crew did some planting, cleared out weeds and cut back bamboo, and put in drip irrigation.he can do garden design and maintenance gardening. Good luck  

  • Hi all, I am looking for someone (or maybe two different people?) that can help me 1) install a little free library post, 2) dig out a plant with lots of roots, and 3) fix my irrigation system. Please send me your recommendations! 

    Hi! I recently had some yardwork done by Al Moore (415-336-9694) and I would highly recommend giving him a call. Al helped us completely redo our front yard including: digging out a ton of weeds, removing a giant juniper bush, removing some medium-sized juniper trees (and stumps), laying commercial-grade landscape fabric, mulch, adding new plants, and installing stepping stones all for a very reasonable price. He also helped repair some of our irrigation system. From start to finish, Al was easy to work with, conscientious, and careful. He spent about a week getting everything done and we appreciated that he didn't rush the project - he definitely has an eye for beauty and is very committed to doing the job right. In addition to all that, he's just a really nice person - there really aren't a lot of people like him who do really superb work for a fair price. I'm sure he could help you with your projects and would recommend giving him a call!

  • Monthly maintenance gardener needed

    (1 reply)

    Looking for a reliable, knowledgeable gardener to maintain our yard in N. Berkeley.   Monthly maintenance is usually enough, but we would love to find someone who can go beyond the basics to improve on or replace elements in our landscaping.  Thanks for any references!

    R&J Landscapers - they do monthly maintenance and also landscaping projects. They recently leveled out a part of our yard, installed a gorgeous stone retaining wall and sod and replanted native plants around the edge. They are honest and fair and friendly. You can call or text Juan +1 (510) 660-5335. 

  • Gardener for design and maintenance

    (2 replies)

    I’m looking for a gardener who will help redesign my 40x40 backyard and 20x20 front yard and who also does monthly garden maintenance. Any suggestions?

    thank you!

    Farallon Gardens / Matt McGrath did our yard and we couldn't be happier. Matt does offer monthly maintenance. We don't utilize that service of his as we tend to like to do it ourselves, however, we do have had him come by annually to check the garden, weed, and prune as needed - and I can report that he does a good job and is generally a delight to work with.

    Highly recommend Judith Irwin, founder of Wonder Women Gardening.

    She comes to our garden monthly with a lovely team of women.  My garden is thriving under her care.  No power tools!  She also redesigned our front streetside space (which was a sad looking lawn used primarily as a bathroom for local dogs) into a beautiful space with rocks, path and drought tolerant plants.  She’s also good with irrigation.

  • Too Old to Garden Anymore

    (1 reply)

    I live in the lower Berkeley Hills. My gardener comes once a month to clean up leaf debris around our house which is on the uphill side of the street. We have two small live oak trees and the house behind has a redwood which is messy. Once a year I ask him to trim dead branches from trees and bushes, trim back ivy, etc. for which I pay extra. But I'm not satisfied for two reasons: (1) Cleanup is incomplete - there is tons of accumulated leaf and redwood debris in the back of my yard that he doesn't touch, especially against the fences; (2) there is a lot of cleanup that I must do following each visit: I must wash down patio furniture, patio sliding doors, exterior stucco walls, window glass and sills, under patio awning, which are covered with dust, debris, leaves, cobwebs, dirt, etc from the blower which can create quite a dust storm. I must also sweep up debris that gets blown in under our back porch door. Can anyone recommend a gardener who does a more thorough garden cleanup and does not leave post-cleanup work for me? I currently pay what he asks - $160 for each monthly cleanup which almost fills our green bin. Annual tree and bush trims costs about 800. I've never bargained - I always just pay what he asks. Am I paying too little? Are my expectations unrealistic? Should I hire someone to supplement his work? Should I ask him to come every two months, spend twice the time and do a more thorough job? Does anyone else have the same complaint?

    I used to have a gardener who sounds quite a bit like the one your post describes. We felt that there was a lot  left to do after visits, and it was frustrating. We love our gardener, Al Moore. He is detail oriented, cleans up every single thing when he comes. What a difference! Al is also creative, cares deeply about his work, has a strong work ethic and he's very responsible. He does everything for us, from replacing, or getting new plants, to large and small clean up jobs (especially in the beginning) and, of course, maintenance. He's reasonably priced, easy to work with and quite kind.  I recommend you give him a call, he can help you decide if you want to supplement the work your current gardener is doing, or just go with him, and start fresh. Al will give you a fair price. And, you'll be supporting a Black owned business. Give him a call: 415-336-9694

    Best of luck,


  • ISO recs for gardeners with an eye for helping to create defensible space for fire prevention purposes. (Surprised this isn't a thread already but didn't see it!) (And yes, I realize I could identify the things that need attention and give specific instructions but I'd prefer someone who knows how to spot and address dangers.)

    Example of defensible space notes -

    Edward works across several cities in the east bay hills area and he's great. He's helped us as well as some other friends in Oakland Hills with responsible tree-trimming, hedge-keeping and defensible space, as well as erosion control. You can message me directly and I'll pass along his phone number.

  • El Cerrito gardener and tree trimmer?

    (1 reply)

    Hi all,

    I am looking to have someone clean up our front, back, and side yards. We have some overgrown bushes, rose bushes, and trees that we want cut back, plus dead growth in the sidewalk cracks near our house and many fallen leaves.

    I’d love to know what the going rate is for getting this kind of yard work done and if folks have anyone they’d recommend.

    It hasn’t worked out for me to keep up with the yard work and childcare while my spouse and I both work other jobs.


    We have an excellent gardener/landscaper (family-run).  They do it all- gardening, brush clearing, tree-trimming, and the finer details.  Leader's name is Luis.  Email is lgardella20 [at]  and phone is 510 847 0411  (  We also both work and will go months without significant maintenance.  They were able to resurrect and now maintain our garden/backyard :)

  • Recs for Oakland vegetation clearing?

    (1 reply)

    Hi everyone! I’m seeking recs for a company or person who clears vegetation, weeds & brush and does basic tree-trimming, especially on a downslope. We need to do regular bi-annual brush clearing to pass wildfire prevention compliance with the Oakland Fire Dept, and I’d love to be able to call on someone who’s familiar with compliance. TIA!

    I had a great experience with Oakland Hills Brush Clearing a couple years ago. Professional, thorough, good communication.

  • Knowledgeable gardener - not mow & blow

    (5 replies)

    Hello - 

    I am NOT looking for a mow and blow person.  I am looking for a true gardner who knows plants, trees, and shrubs; someone who can do landscaping, maintenence, and will go to a nursery to buy new plants when existing ones die.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

    Thank you!!

    I can definitely recommend Donald Tarahonich. His email is donald [at] He has worked for me for some time and is knowledgeable and dependable. His phone is 510-540-1279. Tell him Terri sent you! Good luck.

    I am currently working with Katy Bullick.   I have a yard in progress and she is helping me design a larger planting I will do in November with perennial plants and trees and she has worked with the color palette I want, identified places for trees and introduced me to plants, shrubs and trees that I would never have thought of.  Kind, responsible, very smart and on time.  

    Hi. We love our gardener Al Moore. He has given us extraordinary spaces in our small backyard and front yard. 
    What was dead and or dying is now flourishing. He has purchased interesting plants, found inexpensive pots, and reclaimed and painted things we thought were past repair. He is creative and has a real eye for beauty. His wife restores outdoor furniture as well. He is reasonable and truly cares about his work. We couldn’t be happier. 

    I highly recommend Anna Costello who runs her own business, Secor Gardening! She knows every plant species (we moved into a home with a lovely garden that has many exotic plant species), and the proper care and maintenance for everything. She can advise and educate you on planting and maintenance or will do it all for you, whatever you prefer. She is also flexible on whatever interval of services you would like, whether it’s monthly or seasonal or just one big clean up that you then maintain yourself.  Her phone number is (315) 436-2135 and her email is secorgardening [at]


    I have a wonderful, "true" gardener to recommend: Lori Caldwell. She has beautifully and holistically cared for our yard and surrounding gardens for the past 3+ years. Not only is she a knowledgeable gardener who loves what she does, she's a great human being. She has helped feed our rhododendrons, camellias and other shrubs with worm castings. She has stopped weeds in their tracks with horticultural vinegar. She has used other safe for pets and humans products to treat white flies and rust. She trims bushes and vines, removes over-aggressive ferns, encourages our pollinator-friendly plants, and can troubleshoot our sprinkler system. She's the best! Reach Lori at 925-922-3504 

  • Seeking reasonably priced gardener

    (4 replies)

    Hi, my family and I currently live in the Dimond District in Oakland and are looking for recommendations for a reasonably priced gardener. We're not looking for anything fancy, just someone with a basic knowledge of plants and trees (bougainvilleas, fruit trees, camellia trees, etc) to come in and help maintain our front and backyards. The first few days would probably be pretty intensive and involve a lot of tree trimming, weeding and removing some unwanted bushes/plants so we would need someone who can give us a price on the first 'deep cleaning' as well as the once-a-month maintenance fee. There might be some more future work as well as we try and decide what to do with an area of the backyard. Thanks!

    My parents live in Glenview and use Bernardo Castillo, 510-715-5265. He’s great. We used him once to trim back a very large rose bush - we live in Berkeley - and he did a really great job. Hauled everything away and cleaned everything up nicely. Highly recommend. 

    We have a great gardener who comes once a month and is very reasonable and maintains our front and backyards which have tons of trees and plants.  He doesn't speak a ton of english and we don't speak much Spanish, but we seem to get by just fine.  His name is Hector and you can text him: 510-944-9689. You can tell him Angela & Patrick in Redwood Heights referred you. 

    Hi! I can thoroughly recommend Israel Rivas for this kind of work. He is charming and completely trustworthy. He has done all sorts of work for us, from tidying up an overgrown garden, to helping us reinforce a chicken coop, filling the kids sand pit, cleaning windows, and biweekly yard maintenance. His number is (510) 706-2945.

    Hi, I highly recommend our Gardener, Al Moore. He's reasonably priced, kind, honest and does beautiful work. He's able to do just about everything from big cleaning jobs to maintenance. He has given us our back yard and our front yard back to us again. We use them every day to extend our living spaces. I'm happy to send you before and after pictures, the difference is remarkable. He can be reached by phone or text 415-336-9694. 


    Molly Gales

  • Mow and Blow Gardener?

    (2 replies)

    I am looking for a good gardener to clean up my mess of a front and side yard and to at least prepare it for planting. Help planting might also be appreciated, but I don't think I can afford the fancy designers that are generally listed here. So "mow and blow" may be the way to go. I live in Berkeley.

    We love our gardener- Luis. He helped us with a similar project when we got our new place and worked hard to rehab our yard :)

    Gardella Gardening Service

    lgardella20 [at]

    510 847 0411

    I highly recommend Natividad Quintero’s Gardening Services. He has done some light yard work for me and charged me a reasonable price. I have also recommended him a few times and friends have been very satisfied with his work. You can reach him at 510-778-6714

  • Gardener recommendation

    (3 replies)

    Does anyone have a good recommendation for a Berkeley gardener? Thanks!

    Dvora Gordon is our wonderful gardener. Highly recommend!

    Her number: 510-459-1035

    I have used Dinwoodie Landscape Services for twenty-five years. They are terrific -- they have their own assessment of what needs to be done and will also do what you request.


    Hi all, 

    We hired a gardener based on recommendations on this site, Jose Zamora from Zamora Landscaping. Because he is recommended in several posts on this site, we feel like we would be remiss if we did not comment on our experience with his work, since it has caused some fairly expensive problems for us to fix. 

    We hired Jose to build a back deck and completely landscape our yard. Although we really liked Jose as a person, and his team is very hard-working, unfortunately the results of the work was disappointing and far from what was promised. A few of the most important issues are: 

    • The deck was not built to code, despite his assurances it would be. Other contractors who were on site pointed out issues with railing height and cable distance that had to be fixed. 
    • The wood used on the deck (cumaru) was not properly sealed so it is cracking and warping only six months later. The deck is also not plumb
    • Drip irrigation was not installed in the front yard as promised, which we only discovered after many plants were dying from lack of water. 
    • He did not properly install the irrigation in the back yard or provide us with requested information about where emitters are located. 
    • All but two of the trees he planted are sick or dying. 

    We understand mistakes happen, but he has stopped replying to our emails and phone calls asking him for help fixing these issues, despite the fact that we have paid him in full. He has also not provided us with a final invoice noting that we have paid for the work. 

    We are really disappointed because we did like him and thought we had a good working relationship. Unfortunately, we are now in a position of having to redo a number of the things that were done just this year.

  • We have a small condo complex in North Oakland. Looking for someone who can do some basic yard upkeep like weeding, watering, and picking up trash, and also cleaning up common spaces (sweeping the garage, a deck, and common hallway). HOA will have to issue a 1099 for the work.

    I think since you need to issue a 1099 you should look for a service that has a business license, reports its employees' earnings, does taxes and withholdings, etc. A lot of garden maintenance services are very under the radar and may not want to have their earning reported on a 1099. In my experience they often employ workers who are undocumented. Same for individual gardeners.  Also, garden maintenance services do not typically do interior clean-up like sweeping the hallway, or more time-consuming tasks like watering plants and weeding. You might need to be looking at a landscaping firm that offers garden maintenance, and separately, a janitorial service to take care of things like sweeping hallways and picking up trash.

  • My mom has always enjoyed gardening, but now that she's in her mid 70's it's hard for her to keep up. She would like someone who can come once a month to help with weeding, mowing, pruning, yard clean-up. She lives across from El Cerrito High.

    Hello, I also live in El Cerrito and have been very happy with Rogelio Velazquez (Velazquez Gardens). His number is (510) 367-6295. He's been with us for years. Recommended to us by our neighbor. I'm very happy with him. 

  • Yard/Bamboo Maintenance

    (1 reply)


    We had our yards landscaped two years ago, and now we need help with maintenance. Most of it is fine, but some plants need to be replaced or rethought and the bamboo needs to be brought under control. Can anyone recommend a gardener/landscaper that knows what to recommend for the plants that didn't work out, and more importantly how to deal with VERY tall bamboo?

    Thank you!

    Dear Sami - I highly recommend Brian Whyte Design,

    bwdgardens [at]


    Bryan is an intelligent, fair businessman and trained in London re: landscaping.  He's got a great, hardworking crew. He savvy about plants/flowers and gives practical advice. I had him "wall off" bamboo - it's a big, dirty job even for a small stand. It wasn't cheap but they did it right. Bamboo is invasive and notoriously difficult to contain. The sooner the better. He also helped with minor landscaping, put in drip irrigation, moved plants around, etc. Competent and professional. Highly recommend him.

    Good luck with your yard. 

  • Looking for a gardener

    (1 reply)

    We are a very busy family with minimal gardening needs but really need somebody to come once a month to spruce things up and do some weeding, and trimming.  Many of the recommendations are quite old so we are hoping to get some current ones.  We do not speak Spanish and hope to find somebody reasonable.  Thanks for any recommendations.

    I recommend my gardener, his name is Sam Strong, his email is calonllew [at], his phone is 510-228-6447. He's a very conscientiousness person, takes care to get all the weeds and make things nice. You're welcome to contact me if you have questions about his skills.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Need a gardener in Kensington Berkeley area

April 2014

Hello - I'm looking for a reliable, reasonably priced gardener in the Kensington/Berkeley area. We have a large-ish garden that needs regular maintenance, so am looking for someone who could come every other week. Any recommendations welcome! Thanks Ian

Suggest you call Bob Goss at: 510-654-2324. He is a gardener as well as a sprinkler installer/repairman and is honest, reliable, reasonable in his pricing and honest. I use him myself. Roger

Hi Ian, I highly recommend Justine Schwartz of Green Justine's Gardening: 510.684.3793 1justineschwartz [at] She renovated and now maintains our medium-sized garden in Rockridge, and we've been very pleased with her work. She specializes in drought tolerant and native plants. We often get compliments on what a lovely garden we have, and her rates are totally reasonable. I know she also handles some larger gardens in Berkeley and Kensington, so it sounds like she might be a great fit for you. Best of luck! Sarah

Responsive, reasonably priced landscaper?

April 2014

Seeking recommendations for a skilled, and responsive landscaper to work on our small Alameda back yard. The job involves fixing the existing drip sprinkler system, removing dead/ugly plants, and planning/planting new stuff. We have been surprised at the sky-high estimate received from one landscaper, and the lack of responsiveness from two others we met with who never followed up with an estimate or plan, as promised. Thanks in advance. Anon

Dagoberto Garcia (Dago's Gardening) has done numerous jobs for us over the past few years. He has replaced a fence (beautiful work) and repaired another one, skillfully trims our trees yearly, keeps our irrigation system operating, and is generally wonderful at troubleshooting problems we may be having in the yard. He also installs French drains. His rates are fair. He's honest and great to work with. My husband and I highly recommend his work. You can contact him for free estimates at garciaysna [at] or (510) 233-1569 or (510) 604-7555 (cell) lmackenzie

An excellent landscaper and irrigation specialist is Mario Montano: montanogardening [at] and/or He's reasonable and knowledgeable

I need garden advice on the drought!

Feb 2014

I am a sometime gardener who has become really concerned about the impact of the drought on my garden. I have a lawn that I normally don't water in the winter, but I have my irrigation on full blast this winter and the water bills are through the roof. I need some advice on what to do about the lawn, and how to transition my garden into something more drought friendly. I don't have a lot of money to spend, and I'm willing to do most of the work myself. So what I'm looking for is someone to consult and give advice on how I can make changes over time. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated! Ann

I share your concern! My garden has been suffering from the drought as well, and I recommend you try contacting Heidi Tarver ( She came out a few weeks ago for a 1 hour consultation with myself and my husband. We got some great ideas on how to begin transitioning our garden to one that will be more drought friendly but still abundant and beautiful. Heidi is knowledgeable, helpful and very reasonably priced. The consult was exactly what we needed. We are hoping for rain, but taking some steps to make our garden less thirsty for the future. Lonnie

I recommend an independent contractor, Robert Garbisch from American Canyon. I met 'Bob' through the house owner where I am currently residing in El Cerrito. Bob has worked on the trees and bushes along the steep slope of Potrero Street 's back yards as well as the many local yards up on the plateau near Arlington for years. He is very knowledgeable and will do almost anything you ask, from fixing cabinet latches, installing screen doors, and landscaping projects. His phone number is 7075574188. I also recommend the well known gardener Diane Bloom of Richmond. Diane does amazing things. 510-234-5196 Suzanne

I got great advice recently from Heidi Tarver, 510-928-5591. She also has excellent contacts with contractors who can help with lawn removal, irrigation reworking, plant substitution and so forth. Her website is Good luck!

Heidi Tarver is a garden coach who has a wealth of information about creating a drought friendly garden. Consults are reasonably priced and incredibly useful. Her phone number is 510-928-5591. We have followed her advice with excellent results. Annabella

Gardener more than 'mow and blow' for El Cerrito

Feb 2014

We've been working with a 'mow and blow' gardener but are looking for garden maintenance from someone who is more knowledgable about gardening and can maybe even provide some occasional garden coaching to me. Our current gardener has overtime taken all the mulch covering our landscape fabric, and now we have to replace it for the second time. After replacing the mulch, I'd like our yard to maintained 1- 2 times per month, but I don't want to face this same issue again. Mulchless in El Cerrito

I am very happy with my gardener, Vanda Evans-Young. She is very reasonably priced, works fast and thoroughly, and has a great eye for design (she has selected and planted things for me as well as doing maintenance). She does a lot more than mow and blow! Rain

We use Homegrown Gardens for 'beyond mow and blow' but not exorbitantly expensive fine gardening. Sai is great and the crew he works with are all really knowledgable plant people. We're also in El Cerrito. 510-621-7645 Andreana

Garden/yard care & maintenance for native plants

Nov 2013

Hi, we're looking for a yard/garden care company that knows and works with native plants. Can you recommend such a company? What is (or was) your experience of them? We're thinking quarterly or so service, but will also take recommendations on that. Do you have a native plant garden, and a gardener for maintenance that you love? Please share! Thanks. Native garden care needed

Rafaelle 510 682 1656 Great gardener Irrigation Maintains homes You will be thrilled references ethel

Gardener for maintenance-beyond mow

Aug 2013

I am looking for a gardener or team who can come do bi-weekly maintenance on our garden in Kensington. Looking for someone who is reasonably priced, detail oriented, not just a typical mower and blower, although we do have a lawn that needs to be mowed. Looking for a knowledgeable gardener who can weed, prune, mulch, plant new plants, treat plants with organic fertilizer as needed. Is this too much to ask?? Thanks for your help! Miki

Hello: We saw your posting seeking someone to help you with garden maintenance. We too live in Kensington. We would like to recommend Antonio Medrano. We have relied on Antonio for many years to do all of our garden maintenance, as well as all other internal and external home repair and maintenance. Everything that Antonio has ever done for our home has been of the highest quality and attention. In addition to garden work that he has done for us, he has done painting, flooring, fencing, deck repair and construction, stonework, and tilework. We have been Kensington residents since the 1970s and have known Antonio for many years. He is thoughtful, sincere, polite, an excellent hard worker and a person of impeccable integrity. We recommend him without any reservation whatsoever. His number for calls or texting is 510 776 7233. His e-mail address is tonymedrano25 [at] Please feel free to contact us for any questions. jbehrsin

We found our gardener, Sai Duhamel (Homegrown Gardens) here on BPN and have been really happy with him this last year. We're transitioning one side of our Kensington yard to draught tolerant and natives and making an edible orchard and food garden along the other. Sai and his crew did a major install that included irrigation and stone work and they visit our property weekly for maintenance. He sounds like a good fit for what you describe-- he knows and loves plants (not a mow and blow at all) and works with other great gardeners to keep his costs reasonable. saihokulani [at] or 510-621-7645 Allison

Alya Davidman the owner of Berkeley Gardens heads up a team of skilled gardeners who are very reliable, communicative, and able to tailor their services to the details that matter to their clients. Their main service is ongoing fine garden care, however Alya is also extraordinarily knowledgable about native plants and wildlife gardening. Check out her lovely website and then call her 510.395.1670 I promise, she won't disappoint you. laura

Highly Skilled Gardener

June 2013

I had an excellent, highly skilled gardener who performed trimming on fruit and other plants on an 'as needed' basis. I paid him 45$ and hour. I now need to replace him. I've tried others who claim they know what they're doing. They don't. I am grateful in advance for your help. Kiren

We highly recommend our gardeners Carol and DJ of 'yard art'. They are extremely knowledgable, creative women with an eye for detail and a wonderful sense of design. We were burdened with an unruly and unloved landscape when we bought our house in Berkeley three years ago. Carol and DJ did an amazing job of retaining and revitalizing the plants we wanted to keep. They resuscitated a long-neglected rose garden, and after careful pruning and a a bit of patience, the fruit trees that were left for dead have once again begun to fruit. Additionally, they have slowly integrated a number of smaller, native and child- friendly gardens for our entire family to enjoy. We are happy to recommend them to our BPN neighbors. 'yard art' can be reached at 510-292-1512. Camille

Gardener who knows weeds from flowers and speaks English

June 2013

Can anyone recommend a guy/gal who knows weeds from flowers, speaks English and isn't too expensive. My current guy is nice but I don't speak Spanish so communication is difficult. Several times I've tried to get him to stop cutting the flowers off plants that are in full bloom. So I can't say he's actually a gardener. I live in Oakland near Lake Merritt. I'd like someone to come 2x a month on a regular schedule. I have a dog so I have to be home to lock the gate behind them. My dog is an escape artist. Love my garden

We recommend an outstanding person, Antonio Medrano, to help with your garden and lawn work.We have known Antonio for many years. He is an excellent, conscientious and skillful worker and a thoughtful person of impeccable integrity. His main language is Spanish--we do not speak Spanish and have communicated with him in english for many years. His number for calls or texting is 510 776 7233. His e-mail address is tonymedrano25 [at]
jbehrsin [at]

Roselio and his hard-working crew have been caring for my large Berkeley garden for two years. Roselio's English is great. He is conscientious, attentive and knowledgeable and a very lovely person to work with. He understands what needs to be done each season and pays attention to how each plant is doing. If a plant having trouble, he'll research what's going on and find the solution to cure what ails it. This is so different than the usual crews I've tried over the years, who simply clean up fallen leaves.

My garden gets pruned, mulched, and is thriving. If I jump in and do any gardening, I get to limit it to the fun things I enjoy, like picking out plants, rather than having to spend time on gnarly or less fun maintenance-type things like staking plants, tying back the bamboo, giving the climbing vines a heavy pruning, or working in a good natural fertilizer.

He is easy to reach on the phone, while also making it a point to communicate with me and keep me up-to-date on my garden's needs. Roselio and his team go the extra-mile with their hard-work, professionalism and customer service. Roselio has allowed me to enjoy my backyard again and, with his attention, it gets more beautiful all the time. Roselio's Gardening Service: (510) 837-1792 Carin

Looking for someone to do deck and lawn work

May 2013

Hi, I'm looking for someone to do some work in our small backyard. We want to cut our deck to make it smaller, fix the existing irrigation system, fill in a small pond, level out the back yard and install lawn/sod. Ideally we'd find someone who could do all of this, rather than hiring multiple people. If you know someone who is able to do this type of job well, has been responsive to calls/emails, sticks to estimates and timelines and ideally has a bit of an eye for design, please let me know. I couldn't find anything in the archives. Thanks! anon

We recommend an outstanding person, Antonio Medrano, to help with your deck and lawn work.We have known Antonio for many years. He is thoughtful and a person of impeccable integrity. His number for calls or texting is 510 776 7233. His e-mail address is tonymedrano25 [at]

Lawn mowing service in El Cerrito

March 2013

Hi, We are looking for recommendations for twice monthly lawn mowing services in El Cerrito. We have two small lawns and a push mower available to mow the lawns. Any recommendations are appreciated, Thx, Vanessa

I recommend Roselio Samayou for garden cleanup. Reasonable prices and hard working. Our yard was overgrown with weeds. He brought four guys with him and cleaned it up in 3 hours. It's a relief to go out there again. 510.837.1792 Cecil

Monthly Garden Cleanup

March 2013

We live in Dimond District in Oakland and are looking for a 'gardener' to come once a month to weed, cleanup leaves, cut back plants, bushes and trees. We have never had anyone help us with this before and have no idea how much it would cost. We have a small front yard garden as well as a fairly good sized stepped backyard. The backyard has a some plants but it is mostly an empty space but we get lots of weeds and leaves from our neighbors tree. Any recommendations would be great. JC

I highly recommend my Gardner Carlios Vazquez. Carlos and his crew mostly family members will come as often as you need them to. They are hard working, conciderate and very reliable. I pay $45 per visit. They cut, weed, prune, clean and do small repairs like brick edgeing. His number is 510-387-4857 Joanne

Someone to create raised beds or garden area

March 2013

Looking for someone to help me create a manageable garden space in my backyard so my daughter can have the joy of gardening. Would either need someone to rototill a section and ???? (w/o harmful pesticide) so the grass and weeds wouldn't immediately come back, or someone who could set up raised beds. (If there's a pre-fab do-it-yourself raised bed option that is doable for a complete carpentry amateur, I could go that route, but I don't think I'm up to something that requires a lot of design skills.) Because I rent, I do not want spend huge amounts of cash (and I'm also not sure how much these things run). I don't need a cadillac model, but I want something that is functional. I live in San Leandro. -hoping my thumb will turn green

I would like to recommend my long-time gardener. He has created raised beds and vegetable gardens. His name is Luis Ramos. He comes to your house and assesses the work needed. He charges by the job. Some work is more complicated like, drip-irrigation. In that case, the labor and cost of the job would be more expensive. Sometimes, he has to weed and clear the area. Then, he prepares the soil for planting. He has worked on my garden for over ten years. It feel great to walk out in the the spring and see daffodils instead of overgrown weeds taking over everywhere. He is very pleasant. Luis speaks English. He is a Naturalized citizen. He can be reached at (510) 532- 4678, his home or his cell is (510) 967-2246. Happy customer

2011 - 2012 Recommendations

Gardener needed - must be insured

Sept 2012

A couple of months ago I found a landscaper who is licensed bonded and insured. I hired him to maintain my property in Pinole once a month, for $50. Unfortunately, I recently re-checked his profile on the Contractors State License Board website and was shocked to read that 'This license is exempt from having workers compensation insurance; they certified that they have no employees at this time.' That is clearly false, since he has a full crew. Since he is not insuring his employees as required by law, if they get injured at my house while on the job, I am liable, and they could come after me and my homeowners insurance. I can't risk that, so I fired him. Now I am on the search again. I need either someone who works solo and has insurance, or someone licensed who provides workers compensation for his/her employees. I just need a basic service. Keep the weeds down and the yard clean. I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks so much.

Try Sally Jo Dinwoodie. She has an insured crew. She is diamond certified. Nice person and easy to work with. Friendly crew. Based in El Cerrito, but will travel. (510) 233-9336 or Shirley

Green and her team was a pleasure to work with. We were a typical case of champagne dreams and beer budget, and she worked with our budget and ideas to put together a lovely garden full of fruit and flower trees, trailing jasmine and trumpetvines, and gorgeous shrubs to attract butterflies and birds. We are expecting our first baby, and our dream of having a garden to sit with a new born and later, watch as a toddler plays are coming together under Green's able hands. I'd recommend her to anyone who is looking for a lovely yard. I'm sure she must be insured, but I have to say its not what I checked on, just assumed that she would handle that part. Pia

Full service gardener needed

Aug 2012

We have recently moved into a house with an extensive backyard garden in North Berkeley. We need an individual or a service that can maintain the property on a regular basis. Not a mow and blow outfit, please (there's nothing to mow); rather, expertise in hedge trimming, pruning, weeding, plant identification, fertilizing and mulching, and general gardening knowledge is what we're after. Some understanding of a complicated irrigation system would be a plus. A reliable individual(s), pleasant to work with who charges reasonable rates is the dream. Thank you for whomever you can recommend. sandra

I would like to recommend McKay landscape who I was referred to by a highly reputable irrigation specialist. Sherman was able to troubleshoot and fix our broken sprinkler system installed by a mow and blow guy who assured me he knew what he was doing. While he was here, I also had Sherman prune our trees which had not been touched since they were planted because I was concerned it would not be done correctly. They now look fabulous. He also revived our lemon tree which I was convinced was diseased and could not be saved. In short, Sherman is extremely knowledgeable about all things landscape and I look forward to having him come back to maintain our plantings. happy home owner

Reliable affordable gardener

July 2012

I'm looking for a reasonably priced gardener who will come once a month to clean up my yard. I need someone who I don't need to call and will just come. Berkeley Elmwood. Thanks!

Niall Walsh has been working for me and my two neighbors for over a year. He is very reliable, very affordable and very importantly does excellent work. He can be reach via email which he checks often. niall.alfred.walsh [at] Nancy

Garden maintenance - get what you pay for?

June 2012

Hope this is right for BPN Advice and not Recommendations -- we're biting the bullet on bringing in a service to help keep our garden in good shape and free of weeds, plants trimmed and pruned, irrigation properly managed, etc. But I have no idea how much to expect to pay and am wondering if this is a case of getting what you pay for. We definitely need more than a mow-and-blow service -- we don't actually have any lawn anyway. We also do a fair amount of regular weeding whenever we can. It's finicky because our garden is fairly small and has lots of different plants, and I'm wondering if a service would be interested in that sort of work. I'd love to find someone/a company that has some knowledge of how to care for plants, including natives, can carefully weeds like oxalis and 'onion plant,' etc when necessary, and knows when the right season is to trim and prune plants/trees. Does this exist?! The company that installed the garden charges $50/hour for maintenance, which seems *really* high. Or is that actually the norm, or close to it? Thanks! Weedy garden

As a garden designer and landscaper, it is an ongoing frustration to me that clients will spend thousands on a garden and then skimp on their maintenance budgets- no garden, even one intended to ultimately be low maintenance, can tolerate neglect, most especially during the establishment period.

$50./hour does not seem high to me at all for skilled maintenance. The mow and blow guys make at least that much by rushing through gardens with little real attention, and they rarely are legal businesses with expenses like licensing and insurance, and they pay their helpers very low wages.

The landscaping company that installed your garden will have an understanding of all aspects of it that will be difficult to find in someone else. Assuming that you are pleased with their work and have enjoyed working with them, I'd suggest that you hire them for the maintenance and look at it as protecting the investment you've already made. Cece

I hired a landscape firm for garden maintenance at about $50/hour. They had done some hardscape and irrigation for me, and designed the garden that I then planted myself and maintained for a few years. I wanted someone with expertise that I could trust to not mess up my garden, so I hired them, at twice the rate of a mow and blow crew. Mistake. The high-priced guys were great at sweeping, blowing, and raking, but they did not know much about plants. They pruned everything back too hard, including one plant that was just about to bloom. It took them weeks to fix an irrigation problem, and they frequently failed to return calls when I had a problem. I like the idea of using a landscape company that pays fairly and provides benefits to its crew, so I'm willing to pay more, but paying more is no guarantee you'll get better gardening.

Erick Ramos of Erick Landscaping recently weeded our entire front and back yards, which were pretty overgrown. I called him based on another review on BPN and we were very pleased. He charged a flat fee, but I am pretty sure it would amount to less than $50/hour. He and his assistant did great work. Erick is knowledgeable about plants, is very thorough, and was very careful around our existing plants (including natives). Erick's number is 510-759-4660. I am sure he would be happy to work out a regular maintenance schedule with you. pleased garden owner

An affordable gardener or 'coach' in training

May 2012

I am looking for a gardener/coach in training who would be willing to work with me to create a safe and inviting backyard space/garden for our family on a small budget- especially for my 4.5 year old daughter. We rent, but have a backyard, and multiple empty containers that can be worked with. Also willing to spend some money on supplies. I am a new widow who is trying to come up with solutions to make life a little easier with working full-time, a baby, and my daughter. I hate to have to turn on the TV so much for her when cooking dinner, bath and naps for baby, etc. I thought that maybe with a nice & magical backyard space- I can teach her to take care of a garden and play outside during those busy times... Looking for someone to help with this- ideally someone who needs more recommendations or is just starting out so would be willing to work with a small budget. Thanks! Out of the Ashes

I didn't even know there was such a thing as a garden coach until my neighbor, after listening to me bemoan the state of my front yard, pointed me in the direction of Heidi Tarver. I couldn't afford a whole landscaping project but between Heidi's practical advice, a truckload of good soil dumped in my driveway, and one day's sweat on the part of me and my daughter, we made something to be proud of. Check her out: Who Knew?

A backyard garden sounds like a very nice idea for you and your children. You might contact a man named Laurence (don't know his last name) who organizes community garden work parties in the East Bay. He's a very nice guy and may be able to help you. His e-mail is Laurenceofberk [at] Best of luck to you. Kate

Reasonably priced gardener needed for maintenance

May 2012

I'm looking for a person to do bi-weekly garden/yard maintenance that is more than 'mow & blow' but not necessarily a full-service, high-priced landscape service. We want someone who knows how to prune effectively and has an eye for aesthetics. Someone with experience in irrigation systems would be ideal. We have a modest house in Oakland with a great yard that needs love. We love to garden but with 2 infants - we can't find the time! We've hired a couple 'gardeners' recently who have hacked away some beautiful vines and trees and nearly ruined them. I've called a few people listed on BPN site but either they seem to turn their noses up at the idea of working in our modest yard in our modest neighborhood or they have been incredibly overpriced and have turned it into a bigger landscape job than it really is. We are willing to pay more than we currently do for 'mow & blow' but can't seem to find the right people for the job! lost in weeds

I know just the person for you: Sai Duhamel (, (310) 428-8092). He is definitely more than a 'mow and blow' guy, but is nowhere near as overpriced as the landscape gardeners who want to tear everything out and start from scratch. Just as you specified, he has a good eye for esthetics, prunes effectively, and knows a lot about irrigation (he has been helping to fix our irrigation system). He has helped me choose plants that will work well in our shady yard and steered me away from choices that were too high-maintenance. Additionally, he's a nice guy and easy to talk to. Give him a call! N.H. in Berkeley

I recommend Wonder Women Gardening, Paqnerette Clark & judith Irwin They are artists too - & good with Japanese maples. They are in the East bay. junk @ 510-499-1300 or 510-847-5307 Best of luck. Sharyl G

Call Chuck. I don't know if he mows lawns, but he does pruning and he knows alot about gardening. He charges around $25 or $30 per hour depending on what you want done. His phone is 510-383-0836. kg

Hi, I have used Yuki Garden Service for over 5 years. Tan is courteous and does a great job! He comes 1 x month and always calls me 1 day prior to arrival. If I have a special request (like trim a bush back or clear some nasturtiums, he always does it without a fuss or extra charge. Tan Nguyen - 510-326-5702 Cheers, Keri

Garden Clean Up

May 2012

Hi- We're looking for someone to clean up our garden - it's gotten rather over grown - the bushes need to be trimed, weeds pulled, etc. Any suggestions for someone with reasonable rates? Thanks! stephanie

Dagoberto Garcia (Dago's Gardening) has done numerous jobs for us over the past few years. He has replaced a fence (beautiful work) and repaired another one, skillfully trims our trees yearly, keeps our irrigation system operating, and is generally wonderful at troubleshooting problems we may be having in the yard. He also installs French drains. His rates are fair. He's honest and great to work with. My husband and I highly recommend his work. You can contact him for free estimates at garciaysna [at] or 510 233-1569 or 510 604-7555 (cell) lmackenzie

I have had so much help from spring cleaning to garden clean up, planting, whatever, from the Hispanic Referral Service in Oakland. Louis, the person who sets things up, takes careful notes on what you need and picks people for you. Its all totally legit. prices per hour are fixed, so no awkward moments. It is *so* reasonable you won't believe you're in the Bay area. They also have referrals to painters, deckers, everything. taken care of

Gardener who weeds

May 2012

Help! I need a gardener to actually WEED. Not just use a weedwhacker. Someone who knows weeds from flowers, at least when told which is which. I have a large yard and can't manage it alone. I need some mowing, some raking (or blowing) nothing complicated. I'm in Oakland. I looked thru the archives and didn't find any recent recommendations. Thanks. Dawn

I know a team of 'super-weeders'. They were recommended to me by a professional gardener who specializes in native plant restoration, which is mainly about selective weeding. This team of three guys is currently pulling thistle (awful job!) from a pretty nice size swatch of my land and charging $250 for 4.5 hours of work. They are focused, doing a great job, and really pleasant to work with. They are not gardeners, you need to show them what you want pulled, the more specific the better, but once you clearly explain they'll go at it. They can also weed wack and I'm not sure what else they do. Call Roselio Samayoa 510-837-1792 and you can tell him Reva recommended him. Reva

Small job updating front yard

April 2012

We really need to update a fairly small front yard which at some point was finished with lava rocks but is now overgrown with weeds (we've really let it go). So this will be a very basic job, nothing intricate - just pull all the weeds out, level the ground, cover it with the plastic that prevents weed re-growth and finish it off with a new layer of lava rocks (to match the other half of the yard that my husband updated himself last year). I am looking for recommendations for a competent and responsible contractor for this fairly small job. One of the very important requirements - we need this to be done quickly and on time. Almost all of our previous experiences with contractors were bad in that regard - something is promised to be done in a few days and then it stretches for weeks. The worst example was a promised two-week job that took 4.5 months for no other reason than a person just not showing up. So we would really like to avoid that this time. Thank you. anon

Alejandro Ortega Gutierrez- he has done fast work for me for a resonable price and a free estimate/consultation. His number is 510 517 0329 (he speaks english/spanish)and he even has a website angel

I'd like to recommend Arthur Brito, owner of Arboralis, who is working with us on a small backyard update. He is timely, and happy to small or large projects, or even do part of a project with an optional plan to do more in the future. You can see his more elaborate projects here, but he does also work 'small'. Pat

I highly recommend Brad Goya from San Francisco Greenspaces. He has recently completed a number of jobs in the east bay and San Francisco (see pictures: He updated my front yard and backyard. I can't tell you how pleased I was with his work. He's professional and intelligent (UCB grad); on time and on budget; and has amazing ideas. I have recommended him to a number of friends and colleagues and everyone is happy with his work. Tell him Rebecca sent you! Rebecca

I recommend Luis Ramos, at (510) 967-2246. We got his name from BPN, and he has done a great job with plantings, weeding, mulching, and general yard maintenance for us. He also does irrigation. He is extremely reliable, which we appreciated after dealing with some really flakey gardeners. His prices are very competitive. We are so pleased with the work he's done that we recently hired him to maintain our yard monthly. Good luck! Marnie

Lara at Bountiful Botanicals did both our front and back yard. We had NO idea what to do and by asking the right questions she made us feel comfortable in choosing from many different educated choices. I really think one of the most important things in working with someone is communication. The process was at first overwhelming and she made it simple. I am thankful that Lara took all the time that she did as we made changes and had many questions. Our yard is a great reflection on what we had hoped for. Be sure to meet with her! laura in albany

Need Affordable Yard Maintenance Person

April 2012

Does anyone have an affordable yard maintenance person who they would recommend? We live in South Berkeley close to Ashby Bart. We have a couple of projects that we need help with and regular on going weeding and mowing around the whole property. The main project we need done first is installing sod in the backyard. The space is not that big, probably about 50 feet by 30 feet. My husband has done the majority of heavy lifting getting the area prepped, but we need someone who is knowledgeable about soil prep for weed prevention. Thank you for any suggestions! No green thumb

I would like to highly recommend Marcelino Rodriguez. He has been weeding and mowing our yard for a few years and is extremely affordable, dependable, and a really nice person. He can also do other types of yard work and haul away. Marcelino Rodriguez 510-206-8109 lark

Yard/lawn maintenance/cleanup

April 2012

We need someone to clean up our yard, weed it, and come on a regular basis to keep it looking good. Someone affordable. tired of pulling weeds

I highly recommend Seun Son. He's done general clean-up, brick laying, tree removal and upkeep of garden for us over the past 10 years. He's fast and his pricing is reasonable. He gives estimates per job - don't know if he works hourly. However, he is able to get done in a few hours what I consider to be day long jobs! For example we had to have a medium size tree removed - got estimates of $250 -$800. He and an associate did the job in 2 hours! $250 for two hours isn't bad. $250 to remove medium acacia - pretty darn good. Win, win. His English isn't great, but Seun is a good communicator. Seun Son 510- 610-4168 Andrea

I highly recommend Marcelino Rodriguez. We first hired him and his crew a couple of years ago to clean up and pull all the weeds. It was just a chore for us and we weren't enjoying our yard. He has been coming ever since, 2x a month and we love our yard now. He is VERY affordable, less than others I've heard of and has a few openings. His English is quite good and he is a really good guy. Marcelino Rodriguez 510-206-8109 larkst

Recommendations for someone who can trim bushes

March 2012

Hi, We have some really tall bushes, 10-12 feet, and we need to find someone who can trim them. Any recommendations? Thank you! Lauri

I found a great company that did a fantastic job on my really high bushes, trimmed a large oak for me, and has been doing a neighbor's high hedge for years. He has a lot of work in the area for regular gardening and landscaping as well. Jesse Glez can be reached at 707-315-9657 cell and 707-644-4313 home. He is in Vallejo but works in Oakland and Berkeley as well. I was really impressed by him and his crew and he'll be doing my hedge soon. He will come by and give you a free estimate first. On my oak tree his price was really low and it turned out to be a lot more work than he thought even with me helping. Nevertheless he honored his price at closing time. I paid him extra. He's a good guy! Trimmed

Landscape clean up in Orinda

March 2012

Does anyone have a recommendation for someone who can clean up our property? The previous owner littered a hillside with plastic garden pots, etc. We also have another hillside with branches, logs and some trash that we want cleaned up. We also have a shed built on a hillside that the previous owners stored a bunch of old metal chairs and tables in and underneath - we'd like that cleaned up and hauled away. roger

Dagoberto Garcia (Dago's Gardening) has done numerous jobs for us over the past few years. He has replaced a fence (beautiful work) and repaired another one, skillfully trims our trees yearly, keeps our irrigation system operating, and is generally wonderful at troubleshooting problems we may be having in the yard. He also installs French drains. His rates are fair. He's honest and great to work with. My husband and I highly recommend his work. You can contact him for free estimates at garciaysna [at] or 510 233-1569 or 510 604-7555 (cell) lmackenzie

Gardener needed - mow and blow is OK

Feb 2012

Looking for a gardner or a team of gardeners. Mow and blow is fine. I'm in a rental and need someone to come mow and blow at a low cost. I don't want anything fancy or any gardening 'coaching'. I just want the lawn and a few bushes cut. I'm not worried about plant care. I just need someone who will show up when they say the will and cut the lawn!

I have used Enrique Sanchez for many years and am very happy with him. Two workers come every other Wednesday like clockwork, cut the lawn, edge the lawn, blow the leaves, rake up the cuttings, and do some minimal cutting. They are VERY reasonable and have not raised their rates ever and I have used them 10-12 years. I used to use them every week but cut back and it was fine with him. I also stopped him once when I went with a full service gardener who didn't work out, and when I hired back Enrique and crew the rates stayed the same. His wife sends out a bill every month. Call Enrique at (510) 812-4353. Kay S

Dagoberto Garcia (Dago's Gardening) has done numerous jobs for us over the past few years. He has replaced a fence (beautiful work) and repaired another one, skillfully trims our trees yearly, keeps our irrigation system operating, and is generally wonderful at troubleshooting problems we may be having in the yard. He also installs French drains. His rates are fair. He's honest and great to work with. My husband and I highly recommend his work. You can contact him for free estimates at garciaysna [at] or 510 233-1569 or 510 604-7555 (cell) lmackenzie

I recommend you contact Heidi Tarver (aka Berkeley Garden Coach). She has terrific design sense, is easy to work with and her pricing is extremely reasonable. I have worked with her and wouldn't work with anyone else. Her website is, and you can contact her from there. Good luck with your project! Maxine

Seeking energetic gardener for general clean-up

Oct 2011

I'm seeking a good, energetic gardener/yard maintenance person who can take direction for general cleanup, trimming, pruning, etc. Anyone have a recommendation? keith

Hi there - I recommend my landscape guy, Pat Hannan of H Landscaping ( His team does everything - and they are both experts and super reasonably priced. As you can see on the website, they do hardscapes, lawns, irrigation, and can help you with landscape design - and they also do standard yard maintenance and upkeep. He has huge jobs with schools and office buildings, mansions in Piedmont and the like - and also is a great resource for impoverished single moms like me, living in a tiny cottage. I have found him and his team consistently responsive, resourceful, hardworking, inexpensive, and just very pleasant and helpful. Sarah

I recommend Fermin Diaz. He came to me through a recommendation from a co worker. I have a fairly simple front and back garden so mostly just mowing, edging and seasonal hedge trimming. He comes every two weeks and charges $50 per visit. Money well spent to have the place look nice and neat. 510-260-5880. kathryn cocosar

If you're looking for reliable yard maintenance that won't break your pocketbook, I highly recommend my gardener Luis Ramos for yard and lawn care and general landscaping. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens for about 8 years. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees according to my specifications. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably price. He is a lovely person and speaks English very well. I have recommended him to many happy customers. His phone number is (510) 967-2246. Call him for other references and to come to your house for a free quote. ljf

Need a good gardener in Richmond Hills

Sept 2011

I am looking for recommendation of a good gardener. Our great gardener recently took a full time job elsewhere so I am looking for some recommendation to replace him. We live in Richmond Hill and have a fairly low maintenance yard. I am looking for someone who can come on demand (we don't need someone regularly on monthly or bi-weekly base) to trim, clean, and fix. It will be great if it's someone who is proactive (in terms of giving me advice on what to do instead of just ''taking orders''). If you know someone that's honest, flexible, and knows his/her stuff, please let me know. Jane

I'd like to recommend Peter Gradjansky as a garden designer and maintainer. He is very tuned in to the Bay area habitat and works with the flow of the spaces, weather and plants with much skill and creativity. You can have him take a look at your garden/yard first and he'll give you a sense of what he'd recommend based on your needs and desires. You can reach him at 415.699.5441. Francesca

I would like to recommend a unique and amazing designer and gardener, Michelle Bayba. I have never had a gardener like her. She is knowledgeable about all aspects of gardening, and she designs gardens as if they were her own. SheC,bs full of energy and natural creativity. She is personable and fun to work with, does amazing work, and has very reasonable rates given her skill level. A Berkeley native, Michelle knows the local plants and takes into account the practicality of a garden and how you use it. She knows how to design a garden from scratch, or as in my case, take a straggly garden and properly prune it, fill it in with new plants, nourish them organically, and upgrade the irrigation system. Since I hired Michelle, she now has four clients just on my neighborhood block. She has individualized to each of our needs-- and we are all thrilled. Elizabeth

Basic yard maintenance - mow lawn, remove weeds

July 2011

I am looking for someone to come and do basic yard maintenance every 2 weeks -- mow the lawn, remove weeds, general yard clean up, and some occasional hedge trimming. My lawn is not big, but the yard is a good size. There aren't a lot of weeds right now, so there won't be much weeding up front. I am not looking for anything fancy like garden design or landscaping service. I just need someone who's reliable and reasonably priced who can do basic yard maintenance. Thank you in advance for your recommendations! - Looking for yard help

Hi, I recommend Erick Ramos of Erick Landscaping for just what you are looking for. He's done admirable yard clean-up for my yards front and back, and also for my neighbor's yards, for more than three years. He has a friendly, efficient crew that has worked with him over a long time. Gardener: Erick Ramos at (510) 759-4660 Clean Yards

I am using Alejandro Gutierrez for all my backyard maintenance and building these days. I originally saw a review about him and his company on BPN and I've been so pleased with his work. He first did lots of yard cleaning and now he's building stone walls and planting. He is very competent, has lots of ideas, and is extremely reasonably priced. His contact info is: Aoglandscaping [at];, or 510-517-0329. jeri

I highly recommend Chiam Saechao 510-504-3893. He's been doing garden maintenance for me for many years now, and you couldn't ask for a better man for the job. He's extremely competent, has a sweet manner, is completely honest, reasonable prices, etc. etc. He is also available for garden projects and has helped me with many across the years. Everyone I've recommended him to feels the same way. Christie

One Time Yard Clean Up in El Cerrito

June 2011

We are looking for a reliable crew to come and clean up a lot of vegetation on our fence. This will include the removal of a big blackberry bush in our neighbors yard. I want this job done efficiently and to have all the debris hauled away. Looking for a good price.

I have had one time moving and cleaning help from Gerardo Calderon 860-6800. Hope he can help you. Good luck, Evelyn

Hello, I wanted to recommend Erick Ramos for your one time yard clean-up. We used him for what we thought would be just a one time thing, but we liked his work so much that we are having him come once a month now. He is reasonable priced and easy to work with. And, he was quick with the job. His number is: 510-759-4660 Heather

Gardener who can trim plants on roofs/walls

April 2011

Hi - I'm looking for a recommendation for someone who can cut back the plants that are growing on our house as well as cut back the trees and ivy in our yard. They'd need to be insured, and have experience working at heights. buried under jasmine

my gardener is incredibly hard working and impeccable. he is super resourceful, and is a california native plant expert, organic rose care expert (IPM), riparian (creek) restoration & permaculture consultant to boot--AND, he isn't afraid of digging into super challenging hard labor and basic gardening projects. he gets it done right and is incredibly meticulous. I don't know about insurance but I do know that he works on heights and roofs, etc. without hesitation and has tons of experience. Michael Hogan 650-679-4631. good luck! yogi

Winter gardening advice

Jan 2011

Hi everyone. Happy New Year. My #1 resolution for 2011 is to get my garden into shape, and instead of waiting until spring I would like to get started now. The problem is, I'm really not sure where to start (I have quite a large lot and it has been 'let go' for quite some time). So I need some help, with design and also implementation. Any suggestions on where I might get some reasonably priced consultation? I'm looking for someone who can take a look at my yard and give me suggestions on where to begin, what to plant and when, etc. Also, any suggestions on what I can do in the winter months to jump start my garden for spring? Would love any suggestions you might have. Thank you so much for your help! Amy

I knew nothing about gardening when we bought our house and we couldn't afford a whole landscaping project (although we did get a couple of estimates that were way beyond our budget). I really wanted to learn about my own little backyard ecosystem and what would grow in various places and how to take care of everything myself. I found a woman who lives in North Berkeley, Heidi Tarver, who came over and surveyed my yard, listened to what I wanted, and helped me create a step by step plan. I called her when things were at their most dismal and dormant in November but she was able to see what I already had and make suggestions about how to rehabilitate plants I could keep and figure out what I could do to create new beds around them. We spent time in a nursery together and she showed me what would work in various locations. I've learned a lot from her, I feel like it's MY little evolving garden, and I haven't spent a fortune! Here's her number: 510-928-5591. Have fun! - Light Green Thumb

We loved our garden consultant, Sai Duhamel 510-495-9500. He does edible landscaping and garden planning. We worked with him as a 'coach' and are now doing it all ourselves & eating a lot of food from our yards. Andrea

Call Andy at Acorn Landscaping. 915-3720. Great guy, great crew, reasonable, etc. Tell him I sent you! Ellen

Last winter we contacted Heidi Tarver; . She created a wonderful garden plan for us with with recommendations for our yard based on our light and soil. She went with us to the nursery to help pick out the plants and was available through the entire process. We did a lot of the work ourselves and hired some laborers to help enrich the soil and move dirt around. With all the rain in the beginning, the plants really took off and our garden now looks great. The whole thing was a lot simpler than we thought it would be. Clinton

check out Heidi is a great coach and can help you plan your garden, brainstorm ideas, figure out what to do when, help with shopping for plants, help keep you on track, help you find specialized or general labor as needed...she's fabulous at helping figure out what you want or works with your space and then making a plan for how to get there. She has a blog on her website that has included winter gardening ideas lately, but i encourage you to talk to her directly - you wont be disappointed! love the garden

I just finished working with Heidi Tarver on a garden plan. I just couldn't stand looking at the patch of dirt that was my front yard, so i decided to call her to see if there was anything that could be done this time of year. She came up with a great design combining perennials that can be planted now and plants that will be planted in spring. I highly recommend her. Her number is: 510-928- 5591. She's great! dawn m.

Hi. Because we live in such a temperate climate, there is much gardening that can happen in the winter months. Besides the usual tasks such as pruning roses and repotting container plants, cleaning tools and keeping on top of the weeds, quite a lot of planting can take place this time of year, and perennials planted now will have a better chance to take root before bloom season arrives. There are lots of bareroot fruit trees and roses available at local nurseries, as well as a wide selection of perennial shrubs and flowering plants that can be put in the ground now. Its a great time to plant California natives like Ceanothus or Arctostaphylos, or how about a blueberry bush? It's also a good time to map out changes you would like to make to your garden - a paved area, new path or fence - and get a jump on these projects before spring.

2009 - 2010 Recommendations

I need a garden coach!

Sept 2010

Hello list members. I have just moved to a new home in Berkeley, and I have a small lot that I would like to transform into a beautiful private garden. I have never had outdoor space before, and I'm not sure where to start. I want to do the work myself (and I can't afford to hire a landscaper anyway), but I need help with designing, planning and creating my garden. Mostly I have questions like: what plants will do well in my garden, when should I plant, do I need to irrigate, etc.. I hear there are ''garden coaches'' out there that can help me become a gardener... anyone have experience with one of these coaches that you could recommend? Thank you so much for your help! Keith

We are having a great experience with Sai Duhamel (510) 495- 9500. He specializes in drought tolerant, native, exotic and edibles and really knows his stuff. Over the last year, my husband and I have transformed our small backyard into an edible landscape and our front yard into a beautiful native and drought tolerant paradise. Sai worked with us to develop a plan and comes to visit every few weeks for a few hours or a whole day (depending on what season and what we're doing). In between his visits, we do regular maintenance and the things on the ''to-do'' list Sai gives us for the month. It has been so much fun and really empowering to learn how to do it ourselves well. Christine

I have the PERFECT garden coach. Claudia Vieira (510.653.6535 or CVGardenDesign [at] Claudia has helped me tremendously on a shoestring! Last year we got rid of my lawn via healthy, ground-enriching sheet- mulching and planted wonderful native, drought-resistant plants and trees. I love my garden and best of all I spend TONS less time doing maintenance and save lots of water - good for my budget and the environment! I learned a lot from her and highly recommend her. Pat

I highly recommend Michelle Bayba as a garden coach. I have been working with her off and on for years and I love her work. She is great at coaching me with all parts of my garden, and she helps me with aspects that I want to do on my own. Michelle has a great ability to see the bigger picture and create a garden plan design that is really personal. She really helped me figure out how I wanted to integrate my garden into my everyday life. Michelle has done landscape design and installation for me and many of my friends, and we all loved what she did. She even taught me how to maintain my garden myself. Michelle is very reasonable with her fees, too. I was really happy not to have to spend landscape architectural prices, and to have a wonderful garden that I can maintain. Her contact info: Michelle Bayba, 510-385-6535, mbayba [at] anon

i would highly recommend heidi tarver. not only is she an amazing gardner, she has a vision of what your garden can look like based on your preferences. i had a backyard full of dirt and weeds because i have a brown thumb and she helped design a beautiful, low care garden that has made the deck outside our house feel like a new room. she is very low key, easy to work with, does not push her own ideas but really wants to give YOU what you want. she can also recommend workers she has used before to implement the plan. her rate is very reasonable and well worth it. her number is: 510-928-5591 kaseybrenner397 [at]

I just completed a major re-landscaping project in my backyard. It went from neglected weed-patch to gorgeous bamboo grove. I knew very little about what plants would do well in my yard and also have a lot of pest problems (deer, gophers, squirrels, etc). I wanted to get someone who was really knowledgeable about the local microclimates and who could hold my hand through the process. I found a great match in Sharon Silverman of Dans Le Jardin (510-851-2203) after reading several glowing reviews of her work in past BPN newsletters. She does garden coaching and also full landscaping installation and everything in between. She lives in the Albany/Kensington area. As I learned more about what I did and didn't want, she was extremely responsive to my changing level of needed help. She kept the vision ''mine'' but advised me on things that would not work for my yard. I think she would be a great person to call about your Berkeley yard. Suko T

I was in your shoes exactly: I wanted to install a California native, drought- tolerant garden myself, but lacked the know-how regarding irrigation, plants, and composition. I admired a friend's garden that had been designed by Alexandra Davidman, of Berkeley Gardens, and I contacted her directly asking if she would coach me. For her hourly fee, she advised me as to a plant list, taught me how to lay drip irrigation, showed me where to put the plants, taught me how to improve my soil - it was great. She did as much or as little hand holding as I wanted, with the overall goal of launching a confident Berkeley gardener. I encourage you to call her: 510-612-1817 or alya [at] Katherine

I'd recommend Jenny Craik, an Albany gardener. I was in your shoes last year and Jenny helped redesign my front yard, gave me plant advice (she's excellent with research) and pruned shrubs that were overgrown. I, too, felt a bit overwhelmed, yet wanted to do some of the work myself and Jenny was the perfect compliment to my needs. I get loads of compliments on her design and the plants she recommended from people walking by. She's pleasant to work with, knowledgeable, and has a very reasonable rate. Needless to say, I couldn't ask for any better and highly recommend her.'' Tracey

I enthusiastically recommend Heidi Tarver as a garden coach. I had never heard of garden coaching until a friend told me about Heidi, but I'm so glad I found her. She came to my house and helped me identify my goals for redesigning my garden, then wrote up a step by step plan that I could follow in order to implement my plan. One of the most useful aspects was her availability to trouble shoot over the phone. She also made several return trips to my home to evaluate my progress and help me adjust my plans for the next step. All in all it was a very positive experience, and I went from knowing almost nothing about gardening to developing the skills and confidence I need to take my garden to the next level. Her rates are really reasonable, and she is extremely supportive. So if you want to learn how to create a garden, or have some skills but want to take it to the next level, I'd give her a call. You can find out more on her website: Good luck with your garden! Maxine

Take a look at the website for Berkeley Garden Coach ( Getting a garden coach is a terrific idea! Heidi Tarver is an experienced and knowledgeable east bay gardener who can assist you with every aspect of creating a beautiful garden space. She will assess your microclimate, trouble shoot an existing garden, take you on a plant shopping trip, teach you how to plant, weed, prune, etc. She has a blog with seasonal gardening suggestions appropriate to the east bay, and her prices are really reasonable. Just check it out, and you will be glad you did. Raleigh

One way to tell how great a gardener and garden designer Heidi is, is to see her own garden. It's fluid, and a little wild, and breath-takingly colorful, and full of surprises everywhere you turn. Layers and levels and combinations of colors and textures and unusual materials and an artist, she's conscious of all the interactions. She has inspired big-picture vision, a great eye, and a very green thumb. She's also cost conscious, listens to what her clients want, and helps them create beautiful outdoor spaces. Lesley

Heidi Tarver ( would be a good choice. I needed someone to walk me through a redesign of the garden at my new house, and she did a great job. We planned the redesign together, selected plants, and then she showed me how to plant and maintain them. She also helped me set up my composting, and even a worm bin so i can feed my plants and keep them happy! What I really liked about working with Heidi is that she was available as much or as little as I needed, but always supportive and full of excellent ideas. She's an artist - you should see her own garden, it's magical - and brings a marvelous sense of form and color to the process. Take a look at her website - you can subscribe to her blog - and give her a call. 510-928-5591. Angela

Heidi Tarver is a fabulous garden coach. She can help design your garden the way YOU want it, help you lay out a plan for planting and maintenance, teach you how to plant, prune, etc. even go shopping for plants with you if you want. whatever you need. She has great ideas, but doesn't try and force them on you. And her own garden is one of the most beautiful in the east bay. I highly recommend her! check out her website at or call her @ 510-928-5591 beautiful garden

Can you recommend a good gardener for Albany?

Sept 2010

Can anyone recommend a gardener for Albany? We need a major yard clean-up followed by setting up regular maintenance. Thanks!

For the person looking for a gardener in Albany, I highly recommend my gardener Luis Ramos. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens in Albany for about 6 years. In fact, he now maintains some of my neighbors' yards because they were impressed with his work at my house. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees according to my specifications. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably priced. He is a lovely person and speaks English very well. I have recommended him to many happy customers. His phone number is (510) 967-2246. Call him for other references and to come to your house for a free quote. lj

Someone to install garden based on my plan

June 2010

I would like some recommendations for landscape installers to help us fix up our backyard. I have a garden plan already, but need someone (or perhaps a team of different folks) to do the following:
- remove an old hot tub
- remove a few bushes
- install an irrigation system
- add a lawn
- bring in topsoil
- create some flower and veggie beds I'd rather avoid a pricey design/install firm and go with someone who can do what I need with a little bit of direction who can also make some recommendations on low maintenance plants that can thrive in the area. Most of the landscape installer recommendations seem a bit outdated. Thanks in advance Redoing the backyard on a budget

We just had our yard redone by Lara at Bountiful Botanicals ( She listened to what we wanted, made a bunch of great suggestions and went well out of her way to keep within the tight budget we set. Our yard now draws raves from everybody who sees it. Jason

I work for a nonprofit in Concord which helps low income residents start their own businesses. we recently started a landscaping cooperative. the guys are quite knowledgeable about lawn and bed installations as well as irrigation design and install. The great thing about their work, is that as a cooperative, all the workers share in profits and decision making and have a vested interest in doing good work. you can contact me if you have any questions. dave [at]

Hi - We've had 2 wonderful experiences with Chris Carper, who did our front yard (following a plan from a designer) and then also did our back and side yard, which he came up with the ideas for himself. His prices are reasonable for the quality of the work he does, and he's been very helpful with follow-up questions from us. Work he did for us included putting in a stone decorative wall, flagstone walkways, irrigation system and lawn, removing trees, leveling the land and bringing in topsoil, building gorgeous rock veggie planters, picking out plants and trees that will do well in our climate and with our drainage, and basically giving us outdoor living space that we love. Our yard is TINY, but now everyone who comes over is amazed with how much usable space we actually have, since Chris did such a good job and had such good ideas. Contact info for Chris: Chris Carper, C Landscaping, phone: 925-451-5282, email: crlandscaping3 [at], Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Good luck! Laura

We had Miguel Torres install drip irrigation in our backyard and liked his work and price so much we hired him again to redo our front yard completely. He did all the work on a fixed estimate (very reasonable estimate I might add). He did it all in the time he said. He cleaned up everyday, was friendly and professional. I had a garden designer who already chose all the plants and layout so we bought and had all the plants, soil and mulch delivered. Miguel handled getting all the drip irrigation stuff. You can also check out Yelp for reviews - I put one up there. (925) 727-6729 Cris

We just had our front yard done by Lara Wilson at Bountiful Botanicals. Everyone in the neighborhood loves it, especially us! She's easy to work with, responsive and is flexible with working within your budget. She'll tell you your options and is very reasonable with her prices. She has great ideas too. 510-891-9163. LL

Hi, Pablo Cepero from California Landscape Service can do all the things on your list. His prices are very reasonable and you will find him honest, direct, and very kind to boot. I really recommend him. His phone number is 510-635-7017. Good luck, Kathy

Tim and Lisa Goodman of Goodman Landscape Design originally designed and installed our garden years ago, but they have frequently and recently helped us keep the original design gorgeous as the yard has evolved over time. Their aesthetic is unparalleled, and people stop to admire our garden all the time. It's a real oasis. They have helped us with everything from soup to nuts -- irrigation, plantings, lighting, stone work, beautiful paths, a stunning deck, and even a hot tub. Tim and Lisa have always been receptive and responsive to the way we want to live in our yard, and have helped us create a garden beyond our wildest dreams. Betsy

Crew landscape maintenance needed

May 2010

Hi, We have a small front area of our apt building that needs periodic weeding, trimming, and general landscape maintenance every 4-6 weeks. We're looking for someone reliable and inexpensive and hoping to find more recent recommendations. The location is in the Lake Merritt area. Thanks! jt

I would like to enthusiastically recommend my gardener Luis Ramos and his crew for yard and lawn maintenance and general landscaping. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens for about 7 years. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees artfully. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably priced and I couldn't be happier with his work. His phone number is (510) 967-2246 lj

I cannot say enough good things about my gardener/landscaper Isai Zavala of Zavala Gardens. He and his crew have helped us out for over 5 years. He has done landscape design, irrigation, fence work and regular garden maintenance all at very reasonable rates. They are outstanding. He can be reached at (510)508-7962. Laurel

Consultation needed: how to care for garden

May 2010

We recently have moved to El Cerrito, after buying a lovely home with a landscaped backyard. I am looking for someone to come and help me with a consultation: I would like to plant some fruit trees and learn how to care for the yard the previous owners planted and cared for. Any ideas? Thanks! anon

You definitely should take the landscape gardening class at the Building Education Center, and then hire the instructor for a few hours to walk through your yard and discuss the existing plants, what stays, what goes, and how to care for the existing plants. Come to think of it, after thirty years in my ''newly' rehabbed house, perhaps I will take my own advice and do the same. Lynn

Garden installer

March 2010

We have a plan for a new front yard and am looking for recommendations on reliable and reasonably priced installers who could remove the lawn, redo existing irrigation, remove a small retaining wall, and landscape the area. Thanks

Check out James Bronson at Nature's Creations, he's great! His thoughts about the long term life and health of your garden is crucial in the plan and execution of any work that is done in your garden. 510-544-9729 Alyson

We hired Mariposa Gardening and Design to install our front garden in rockridge last year and were very pleased. Andrea the owner was fun and easy to work with-- her crew got the work done quickly. Our front yard is vastly improved, with irrigation, constantly flowering plants and a set of sweeping flagstone steps. Mariposa was a nice small berkeley company to work with and affordable. I can recommend them! The website: ali

I can recommend Romeo Avila for all the work that needs doing. He really knows his stuff. His rates are reasonable. Ask him to give you a fixed price ahead of time. If anything else comes up, get another quote for this before any extra work takes place. 510.501.0423

Michelle Bayba (385-6535) designed both my front and backyards. She does it all beautifully: design, installation, & irrigation. She listens and communicates why something will or won't work (after nixing many trees I've lusted after). She is hands on and works with organic materials. She is straight forward, honest, reliable and a joy to work with...therefore I highly recommend her. nancy

Someone to maintain both yard and garden

August 2009

Hi, About 2 years ago we hired a landscaper/gardener who came and gave recommendations on plants and flowers for our garden, and went and bought all the items we selected and planted them for us. We had an ongoing gardening service that comes twice a month so we continued to use this gardener for maintenance. The garden that was planted two years ago is now in disarray. Our gardener seems to be good at lawn maintenance and not so good at garden maintenance. Does anybody have a recommendation for a gardening service that can maintain both lawn and garden, and if so, can you also tell me what an approximate going rate might be for this service? Also, does anybody have a good recommendation for a landscaping service to help replan a garden? Thanks! Lin

For maintenance and installation, I would strongly recommend New Growth Landscaping. They mainly do maintenance, but are also skilled at installations. They are also a certified Green Business. Contact Nate Silin at 510-434-1329. Sue

For garden advice and recommendation as well as maintenance, I highly recommend Michelle Bayba. I would like to recommend a unique and amazing designer and gardener, Michelle Bayba, 385-6535. I have never had a gardener like her. She is knowledgeable about all aspects of gardening, and she designs gardens as if they were her own. She's full of energy and natural creativity. She is personable and fun to work with, does amazing work, and has very reasonable rates given her skill level.

A Berkeley native, Michelle knows the local plants and takes into account the practicality of a garden and how you use it. She knows how to design a garden from scratch, or as in my case, take a straggly garden and properly prune it, fill it in with new plants, nourish them organically, and upgrade the irrigation system. Since I hired Michelle, she now has four clients just on my neighborhood block. She has individualized to each of our needs-- and we are all thrilled. Elizabeth

Reasonable gardener who does more than mow and blow

August 2009

We are looking for a new gardener and would appreciate some referrals. We are looking for someone who is reasonable priced and reliable, but will do more than mow and blow. We are looking for someone who can help us with light hardscaping, tree maintenance, irrigation, planting etc. Please let us know if you have someone good to recommend. Thanks! Rebecca

Sally Dinwoodie of Dinwoodie Landscaping is an organic gardener who does thoughtful maintenance, not your mow-and-blow operation. She's a kind of person who will really want to talk to you about what you want for your garden. You can see her website at She can be reached at 510.219.4591. Sue

Hi Rebecca. I highly recommend David Flores as a skilled, reliable, hardworking gardener. He really knows plants and trees and has an aesthetic eye for pruning and planting. He can also install irrigation systems, support structures, etc. He just turned our overgrown jungle of a yard into a manicured garden in a matter of hours! His cell number is 510-520-6462 Suzanne J

I would like to recommend our gardeners for your project. Their business is called Yard Art. They have helped us with design and new plantings as well as upkeep and maintenance and they are very knowledgeable and care about what they do. We talked with several landscaping companies before hiring them and their prices seemed reasonable. Plus both (mother and daughter team) have always been extremely pleasant to deal with. We trust them completely and are very happy with our gardens. Their email is djliveshere [at] Pat

Gardener for one-time cleanup?

June 2009

We're looking for a gardening company who can do a one-time cleanup of our front and back yards (pruning trees, shrubs, vines, and weeding). Anyone have any recommendations for N. Berkeley? Anyone tried Bloom Gardens? Overtaken By Greenery

I highly recommend Sally Jo Dinwoodie of Dinwoodie Landscape Services. She's a local small business that focuses her work on garden maintenance in a sustainable way. She prefers organic methods to control pests and is constantly educating herself to learn about new methods and trends. She has a well-trained crew that can do a one-time clean up, work quarterly or monthly. She can be reached at 510-527-5916,, sallydinwoodie [at]

I recommend ERICK LANDSCAPING with gardener Erick Ramos. Erick is my regular gardener--I originally hired him to do one-time clean-up and then asked him to stay on because I was so impressed. He just did a huge clean-up job for my neighbor and she was extremely satisfied. He is an understated fellow with a gigantic gift for plants. He is efficient, well priced, knowledgeable and has a terrific eye, as well. You can reach him at (510) 759-4660. Very Pleased Customer

Jorge Zavala is a fabulous gardener. He started out doing a one-time clean up in our garden over five years ago. I liked his work so much that I asked him to come back regularly since then. He is very knowledgeable about many types of plants and trees - blooming or otherwise, has a great eye for proportion and shape, and does what is necessary to get the job done. In addition, he is pleasant, fair, reliable and honest. He covers: Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Albany, Orinda and Lafayette and can be reached at: (510) 459-6359. -- Nina nina

Simple yard maintenance

March 2009

Hello. I'm looking for recommendations for a gardener to do simple yard maintenance -- mowing the lawn and raking, some hedge trimming, fertilization, maybe some weeding -- in Lafayette. Looking for someone who is reliable, honest, and low cost. Thanks very much in advance! jaia

Doreen Frost is a Master gardener with a delightful personality. She did my Vegetable garden last year and I was really happy with her work. She can help with all aspects of gardening including designing a flower garden Doreen Frost 510-206-3802

Need a Great Mow and Blow Crew

Feb 2009

I am looking for a great mow and blow crew, not too expensive, but understands what a weed is and what a flower looks like. My current crew seems to delight in slaughtering anything that blooms... Thanks! Desperate Garden

I would like to recommend an excellent gardener, Luis Perez Gardella. We have know and worked with Luis for 8 years. He is honest, responsible, attentive to detail, and he takes great pride in his work. He can be contacted at: H) 528-7063, C)847-0411. Brett

We have used Ramon Martinez for almost a year and he does a GREAT job. He and his crew know what flowers look like and even work to help get them blooming if they are lackluster. They have even trimmed trees for us. Ramon's cell is 510-506- 1083... good luck! happy in oakland

This guy is great. Very reasonable, and knows what's a weed and what's not. He lives in Vallejo, but does most of his work here in the Berkeley area. Call Jesse Gleez at 707-315-9657. Sue Oda sue

Need some yard help for several months

Feb 2009

I've never hired a gardener before and have a question - in addition to lawn mowing, will a gardening/landscaping service do some light weeding as part of a once per month service? Does anyone have any recommendations for gardeners who do this? I just had a baby and can see that I'll need some yard help for several months! Thanks! Too busy to mow and weed in Berkeley

Hi Doreen Frost is a Master gardener that has a delightful personality. She did my home vegetable garden and enjoys all aspects of gardening including weeding. 20-25 dollars an hour. She is a hard worker and worth it! her number is 206-3802 anon

We've been thrilled with our gardener Kimberly Thoma. She does everything from the glamorous design work to the not-so-glamorous maintenance by herself for a reasonable fee. She not only helped us rework our front and back yards but also continues to care for these landscapes with an attention to detail that includes pulling weeds! Contact her at 510-407-9504. Christa

Our wonderful gardener, Jennifer Putzer, just told me she is taking on a few new clients and I'd like to recommend her to the list. Jen is a talented gardener with a vast knowledge of plants (both native and non-native) and trees and a keen eye for shaping -- she's incredible with roses. She has helped us with our gardens for over 4 years and has always been hard working, timely, patient and just a joy to work with. Our garden has never looked better! We've recommended her to friends who are now also thrilled with her work. Please feel free to contact her directly at plant_chic [at] or by tel. at 510-663-2988.

I would like to recommend our gardener, Michelle Bayba, who, over the past two years, has transformed what seemed like a hopelessly barren garden (front and back) into a lovely, welcoming space. She has succeeded where others have failed, and yes: she and her wonderful assistant, Rogelio, do take care to weed. Her number is 510-385-6535

2007 - 2008 Recommendations

Need help cleaning and organizing our garden

Sept 2008

Hello, My husband and I have started to work on our backyard, and are realizing it's more than we can handle right now. Clearly the yard hadn't been taken care of in many years before we moved here a few years ago, and we've just been doing one house project at a time. The yard is made private by laurel hedges, which have become choked and mostly killed off with ivy. The terraced area is a pile of dirt, and the two strips of grass within the terrace have been destroyed by our dog -- peeing and scratching at it. The archives on BPN are a few years old, and I know there were some postings within the last year about landscaping but I didn't take note of them at the time. We are not looking for this to be an award-winning garden area! Just something private, child- and dog-friendly, hopefully with native drought-resistant plants, easy to maintain, and, of course, as inexpensive as possible. The labor looks difficult -- removing the dead laurel and ivy -- and we thought about hiring day laborers to help us with that. Has anyone tried Co-Creations at Magic Gardens? Or do you have someone in mind who could deal with the hedges + plantings + irrigation + dealing with dog issues? We've never hired anyone for projects like this as we're such do-it-yourselfers, and it's hard to think of spending a large chunk of money on it. But I'm 8 months pregnant and this seems beyond us right now. Thanks so much! -longing for *inexpensive* backyard beauty

I recommend Jen Smith for design and install. She has a small, hardworking crew and does a great job. She's got a degree in horticulture and lots of practical experience. I've subcontracted her for my pruning clients and always been happy. Her # is 301-1852. Molly

Need an individual, not a mow and blow crew

Sept 2008

I am looking for a gardener--prefer an individual, rather than a crew--just to do hands-on weeding and watering. I need someone pleasant, with reasonable rates, and definitely not a mow and blow crew. Any recommendations? Diana

We have a terrific gardener/landscaper, Michelle Bayba. She has done wonders for our garden. The maintenance work is great and she also has great ideas for adding and taking out plants from our garden. Our garden has never looked better. I highly recommend her. You can reach her at 510-385-6535.

For the 2 people posting that needed a gardener: I have been using Zavala's Garden and Landscaping Service. These guys know how to take care of your gardening needs. You can call them at 510-508-7962. e-mail me if you have further questions.

wonderful gardeners (mother/daughter team) to do creative landscape installs as well as yard and garden maintenance. we've worked with them for two years and are happy to recommend them. their prices are reasonable, their work is excellent and they are a joy to be around. you can contact me for more info or them directly at djliveshere at

Recommendation for excellent gardener who also has done the following for me: irrigation, retaining walls, fences, decorative pond, fertilizing, tree removal/trimming, sod, and natural insect and disease control. He is very reliable and is a nice person and has been doing my gardening for 10 years. What is great is that he works with me to design and plant my gardenshe is open to what I would like. I have over 50 rose bushes 20 flowering trees, and he has done a great job maintaining them! You can reach Mr. Zavala at cell phone 510 508-7962.

I highly recommend my gardener Luis Ramos for yard and lawn maintenance and general landscaping. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens for about 5 years. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees artfully. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably priced and I couldn't be happier with his work. His phone number is (510) 967-2246

Sherman McKay Landscaping (Oakland- east bay area) has done a great job for us and I want to recommend them to others seeking a quality landscaper/gardener. WE had hired another landscaper that did an awful job, was not professional and never on time. Sherman and crew restored our faith in landscapers! He was on time, professional, easy to work with, and did high quality work within our budget and timeline. Sherman McKay: 510-502-4825 shermanmckay at Areas of service include East Bay, San Francisco and Marin County

Hi, I saw your request for a gardener and I have a very high recommendation for you. We've been using a garden service, Green Garden Alchemy, and they've completely transformed both our front and back yards as well as helping us with our indoor plants. The work is top notch, completely professional and reasonably priced. Give Mark Correa a call. Mark Correa, Green Garden Alchemy (510) 910-0427

We have been using a gardener/landscaper for the past six months who does a marvelous job. His name is Mark Correa. We have a very large sloping backyard which is not easy to negotiate. Mark has done a remarkable job helping us to clean, clear, prune, plan and plant, in addition to maintenance. We plan to continue to use his service throughout the year. We've had other gardeners in the past, and Mark's work and work ethic stand out above the rest. We highly recommend his services. Mark Correa (510) 910-0427

Hi, we have a wonderful gardener who maintains our front/back yards. He's wonderful to work with, very professional and a very nice person. Mark Correa (510) 910-0427
Sam and Diane

June - August 2008

I'm trying again to find a recommendation for a sole individual to help maintain my garden. I would like to find someone who could come to my garden once a week for 3-4 hours on a regular basis to do simple maintenance, like weeding, cleaning up debris, deadheading, and putting in plants from time to time. I don't want a crew, but rather one person who can get to know my garden spaces, care for them, and help me keep them under control.

hi, i would like to recommend my gardener of four years adrian de jong, who is wonderful. he's done maintenance, plantings including baby trees that are thriving and an edible garden, tree trimming, you name it... he works on his own for $40. you would get the benefit of advice from his colleague jack should you need it (30 years' experience; normally 75 an hour for the team). he does a great job and is very friendly and knowledgeable. he can be reached at 415-774-6279 (a 415 cell but based in the east bay on the oakland/berkeley border). tabatha

Michael Lang is an excellent maintenance gardener/tree pruner. He has a lot of experience with trees. When he pruned my walnut tree, it was like a really great haircut - all the excess gone, but no signs of having been ''chopped'' - and it grew out beautifully! straka

I have used the company ''Go With Nature''. They do garden design and aesthetic pruning. Elizabeth designed my small garden a year and a half ago. It was nice to work with her in the design process because she explored lots of possibilities according to my taste and budget. She also did the whole installation, which was very nice. She has reasonable prices and listens to your needs. Now she takes care of pruning my maple, fruit trees and small shrubs. She is responsible and reliable and I love her artistic touch. I highly recommend her! 415 368 8875 (she is Berkeley local) kasia

May 2008

Can anyone recommend a reliable gardener for our Berkeley Hills home? We previously paid $55.00 every two weeks($110 a month). thanks lauren

Your best bet is to look through Sunset Western Garden book, visit Orchard Nursery in Lafayette (925-284-4474) and chat with the experts there who will recommend plants for various soils, light/shade areas, etc; buy those and hire someone to simply plant them under your direction. Billie in Kensington

I am using Mark C., his business is called Green Garden Alchemy, you can call him at (510) 910-0427. I needed someone to maintain our backyard which is on a slope, it contains fruit trees and other plantings, I also needed someone to redo my water fountain,repair the irrigation system, weed and maintain the trees. Mark was on time, worked non-stop, suggested some plantings that would do well in the area, had other suggestion about how to improve the growing situations for some of the fruit trees that were neglected and he is priced very reasonably. val

We use Francisco's Gardening, and have used Francisco several times over the last few years. He comes promptly, & is reasonably priced (I think we paid about $450 for a huge front-and-back yard, all-day cleanup the last couple times.) We don't have him come monthly, though I know he's available for that type of service. He generally comes once in the spring and again in the fall, when everything needs weeding, cutting back, turning over, trimming, etc. He mows, trims, blows, cuts back tree limbs, etc. The place looks fabulous when he and his assistant(s) are done. Francisco Vasquez 725-9039. He speaks mostly Spanish, but plenty of English to understand and communicate back. heidi

I too had a tangle of weeds for a yard. I was ready to give up on it. A friend recommended a gardener who did an excellent job. His name is Mark Correa. He completely transformed my tangled mess into a lovely little oasis. The transformation was quite remarkable. He was helpful in choosing plants and helped us to organize the location of everything. I highly recommend his services. Mark Correa (510) 910-0427

For yard cleanup and irrigation installation, I can wholeheartedly recommend Denis Contreras at 510.534.7176 or 510.491.5038 (cell). He and a small crew just cleared a huge truckload of weeds and overgrowth from my front and back yards, using no herbicides. According to his flyer he also can perform a number of handyman-type jobs such as painting, fence building, tile, etc. Since he responded so quickly and did such a nice job for such a reasonable price, I also hired him to install drip irrigation throughout, which he was able to do over the next two days. I was impressed by his eagerness to save me money using some of the equipment and hoses already in place, and when he encountered unforeseen problems (my old pipe had cracked in the concrete footing, several old timers and wires were faulty, etc), he and the crew discussed the best way to solve each problem and then carried through until it was fixed. I really appreciate such a professional attitude. I have to add that his price for the irrigation work was *less than ten percent* of a quote I obtained last year! tiff

I would like to recommend an excellent gardener, Luis Perez Gardella. We have know and worked with Luis for over 6 years. He is honest, responsible, attentive to detail, and he takes great pride in his work. He can be contacted at: H) 528-7063, C)847-0411. Melissa

Bonjour, I have a recommendation for you for a gardener. Our gardener's name is Mark Correa. His work is excellent. He does gardening, maintenance and landscaping for you. His rates are very reasonable and his work is very efficient. Mark Correa: (510) 910-0427 Simone

May 2008

Re: Searching for a wonderful gardener/landscaper
Hi there. Myself and a couple of my neighbors hired a gardener recently who did a super job. His business is called Green Garden Alchemy, and his name is Mark Correa. He cleaned up all the weeds in no time flat and helped us change the plants in our front yard. He also put some flagstone stepping stones. He's was great at arranging everything. Up the street, he helped my neighbor plant a vegetable/flower garden. I was amazed at the transformation of their back yard. It was an utter mess the last time I saw it. He's good. I've recommended him to other neighbors, and we'll be using his services again for upkeep. Green Garden Alchemy (510) 910-0427 He also can be reached by email at: ialchemist at Erinn

May 2008

Re: Relationship Help - With My Garden
Hi,I can give a strong recommendation for my gardener, Pat Stoll. I know she spends a lot of time talking to my wife about our garden, not just working in the garden and ignoring us. Sometimes Pat even accompanies my wife to Berkeley Hort. to help her shop for new plants. She can be reached at 510/652-2352 or at PatStoll at Dave

Dec 2007

hi, I'm looking for a new gardener to do the basics: mow and edge the lawn a couple times a month (maybe some occasional weeding). any one like their person? thanks. sarah

I have used Alisa Rose Seidlitz & Loving Gardens Design for a couple projects and I know no one else who meets their work with the same level of integrity. She is one of the original mother's of sustainability (having been a ''green'' and ''local'' activist for decades) and she also brings Feng Shui consulting to your space. Oh yeah, she is a great landscape designer as well. Give her a call - 510-525-5290

We have a fantastic gardner for you. Luis Perez Gardella has performed regular gardening work and yard maintenance for about a year at our house in Rockridge. He came highly recommended and he has not disappointed.

Our lives became very busy with the arrival of our daughter, now 18-months old. We had let our plants and bushes either die off or get out of control, and the whole yard desperately needed to be weeded. Luis beautified our yard with new plants that he helped us pick out, new wood chips, and lots of weeding. He now keeps it looking good with a visit every other week.

The appearance of our house has really improved. It is so nice to come home to a house with a well-kept attractive yard versus the messy situation that we had previously. And best of all we can spend more of our precious free-time with our daughter and each other rather than working on the yard.

Luis does a great job for us and we highly recommend him. He works hard, he is polite and he charges reasonable fees. Luis speaks limited English, but his wife translates. Please contact Luis directly via email at lgardella20 at or by telephone at 510-528-7063 or 510-847-0411.


Oct 2007

Edwin Mossop has over 15 years gardening experience, over 6 of those in the Bay Area. He is great to work with and does full service garden design/build/maintenance, whatever your needs are. He specializes in drought-tolerant garden planting/installation. We recently redid our back yard (went from concrete to vegetation) and Edwin did an excellent job consulting and assisting with our yard & garden renovations. He works all over the bay area and can be contacted at 415.680.8053. Chris

Oct 2007

Luis Ramos, (510)967-2246, who I hired based on reviews in BPN, did some work for me a few years ago and then again a few months ago. The most recent experience was very unprofessional on his part. We agreed on a price for once-monthly yard clean-up, after which he twice tried to bill me for more than the agreed monthly rate. Then, in May, after 5 months of coming, he just didn't show up. I called several times, but he never even called me back. -Jean

Sept 2007

I have a great gardener and I just wanted to recommend him to anyone looking for a high quality gardener. His name is Javier Casanova. My wife and I bought a house in north Berkeley last year, and it came with extensive and elaborate gardening that we had no idea how to care for. Javier had been recommended by the previous owner, and I have to say he is an excellent gardener and a very conscientious person. He is probably not going to be the cheapest person you can find, but he does a very high quality job and really knows how to care for each type of plant. We learned the hard way by trying to hire someone cheaper and save a few dollars, and I'm not sure our plants have forgiven us yet. Javier came in and saved the day and he has done such a good job I really felt compelled to write this recommendation for him. You can reach me (Jim) with any questions at jimelutz at, or you can contact Javier directly at 510 375 5125. Javier lives in Richmond but works all over the East Bay. He speaks Spanish and English.

July 2007

I highly recommend Luis Gardella for gardening projects big and small. He has done several major projects for us, as well as routine maintenance, and his work is impeccable. He speaks Spanish; his wife Ibis speaks fluent English and is very helpful in setting up consultations and estimates. She was our babysitter and they are a wonderful family. Luis does landscaping and fire prevention clean-up, including pruning, trimming, weeding, fertilization, and hauling. I have known him for 5 years and can vouch for his character, work ethic, and professionalism. LUIS PEREZ GARDELLA lgardella20 at (510) 847.0411 cell (510) 528.7063

July 2007

hello! i wanted to recommend our gardener, luis cruzado, to tame your garden jungle or to make it look like a jungle! luis has performed multiple projects for us including putting in a few lawns and sprinkler systems. he takes his time to do the job right. best of all, he will knock on our door to ask if our toddler is sleeping or when he will be sleeping! WOW! limited english but he seems to understand my enthusiastic cherade/miming efforts. luis cruzado: 510-215-2073. did i mention extremely reasonable? aaron

June 2007

HI there, I am looking for recommendations for a gardener, all the recs posted are about a year old. We have a small back yard in El Cerrito that is completely overgrown in weeds., and there is some old wood to haul away as well. Anyone know a good- cheap- gardener that would come give us an estimate. Thanks! Weedy. aimee

I would like to recommend my gardener, Jose, for your job. He always does an excellent job on our yard and has also put in some beautiful sod and sprinklers. He's very reliable and has very reasonable prices. You can reach him at 510.233.9261 -L

I have really liked our gardener, Gwenna Banfield at 559-9203. She has worked within our budget (small) and keeps our back and front yard looking presentable. She is always very nice and has good ideas for improvements. Happy with garden

June 2007

I would like to recommend a unique and amazing gardener, Michelle Bayba. I have never had a gardener like her. She is knowledgeable about all aspects of gardening, and she plants and designs gardens as if they were her own. She's full of energy and natural creativity. She is personable and fun to work with, does amazing work, and has very reasonable rates given her skill level. A Berkeley native, Michelle knows the local plants and takes into account the practicality of a garden and how you use it. She knows how to design a garden from scratch, or as in my case, take a straggly garden and properly prune it, fill it in with new plants, nourish them organically, and upgrade the irrigation system. She provides full service, from design, all irrigation, to maintenance. If you hire Michelle, never again will you have that mow and blow treatment, or your raspberry or groundcover accidentally be removed. Since I hired Michelle, she now has four clients just on my neighborhood block. She has individualized to each of our needs-- from designing from scratch to maintenance of big gardens, and we are all thrilled.

June 2007

I would like to recommend an excellent gardener, Luis Perez Gardella. We have know and worked with Luis for over 6 years. He is hardworking, honest, responsible, attentive to detail, and he takes great pride in his work. He can be contacted at: H) 528-7063, C)847-0411, or by email at lgardella20 at Melissa

June 2007

I highly recommend my gardener Luis Ramos for yard and lawn maintenance and general landscaping. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens for about 4 years. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees artfully. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably priced and I couldn't be happier with his work. His phone number is (510) 967-2246

May 2007

Re: getting a tree trimmed
I would like to recommend my landscaper-handyman, Robert, for your tree trimming. He does excellent work, to a high-degree of quality, usually completes the job within a few days of our intial meeting and at an excellent price. He has trimmed my trees, built a retaining wall, put in sprinklers and sod and even built a fence for me. I highly recommend him for any job, especially pruning and trimming trees. --Happy with my landscaper

May 2007

I'm pleased to recommend Sandy Morrill, Garden Consultation and Design, phone 510.841.6337. Her knowledge of plants is encyclopedic, and she is especially good with California natives and drought-tolerant species. Sandy can provide consultations, species identification, recommendations, garden design, and she can also do garden cleanup and landscaping.

When we moved to our current house last year, the garden of native flowering plants was outstanding, but due to our ignorance the garden has somewhat suffered over the winter. Sandy came to the rescue, and after three visits in the last few weeks, the place is in full bloom and looks tidy and beautiful. Her rates are very competitive and she is a pleasure to work with. Give her a call! Tiffany

May 2007

When I bought my duplex in Oakland, I tore out a concrete back yard, and needed help conceiving and creating an organic garden. Christopher from Get Dirty Gardening turned a slab of rock and weeds into a flourishing, healthy organic garden cornucopia surrounded by a rich sea of flowers.

In one year, I have harvested strawberries, lemons, kale, chard, lettuces, arugula, spinach, beans, peas, cucumbers, beets, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, potatos, tomatillos, peppers, and more!

Christopher is knowledgeable and passionate about about soil remediation, what grows well in different seasons and regions, when to plant, how to nurture the soil, and he loves to educate would-be food gardeners to become self-sufficient in growing their own veggies.

He made a green thumb out of this city-girl. I cannot say enough how thankful I am for his wise, warm and humble guidance creating both sustenance and beauty here in my Oakland hood. Even the bees and butterflies are coming back! Feel free to call him anytime for one hour of consultation or ongoing support. 510-860-5134. Tell him Alli sent you.

April 2007

Looking for a person who could transform our overgrown sloping front yard into a colorful garden with irrigation system and a stone path. Creative gardener needed. No building involved. Ideas and planting skills only. All previous listed are too big for our small project. Thank you.

Brian Mesirow is a great gardener and sounds like your person he's no '' blow and go'' gardener he actually uses a rake & broom he communicates well and will work with you on your ideas. he has lived in the berkeley area for many years and understands what plants work here and what don't. give him a call I think you'll be pleasantly supprised. brians # 510-381-0420 or email gardensbybrian at Lauren

I highly recommend Alejandro Hayes, our landscaper, gardener extraordinaire. Alejandro is recreating our front and back garden,which were such a mess for these last few neglected years, that the clean up alone was daunting. What makes Alejandro unique is his extraodinary knowledge and love of plants. He's been around here for 2 or more decades and brings me plants that are unique and beautiful, while working with me to help me imagine what our family needs and wants. He even built a zip-line for my son in our back yard (which is too small for a play structure) and our boy loves it! Soft spoken and unobtrusive, Alejandro will stop by and keep up the maintenance of our garden. His prices are very reasonable ($30 an hour for labor) and his plants are not only unique, but very well priced. He is also an arborist! He can be reached on his cell phone: 510-685-8774. Please let him know that I recommended him, and best of luck with your gardens! Molly

April 2007

I'd like to recommend Luis Gardella for gardening and yard work. I've known him and his wife for six years and can strongly vouch for Luis' character. He's very serious about his work, responsible, honest, and hard-working. His English is limited, but communication can be conducted through his wife, Ibis, who speaks fluent English and is quiet helpful. Luis is moderately priced and is offering his services in: pruning, trimming, weeding, fertilization, and hauling. He also has experience in fire prevention clean-up and landscaping in preparation for real estate sales or rentals. Melissa

Contact Ibis H) 528-7063 C) 847-0411

March 2007

I would like to recommend Luis Gardella to anyone in need of a reliable, thorough, and knowledgeable gardener. Luis has cared for our yard for the past three years, and has recently returned from time spent out of the country. He carefully prunes plants, weeds, and spends the time necessary to tend to a yard - not just the ''mow and blow'' type of garden care. Luis speaks mostly Spanish, but you can easily communicate through his wife, Ibis. They can be reached at 510 847-0411 (cell) or 528-7063. Alissa

Feb 2007

I have had the good fortune of having my extensive yard cared for by Luis Gardella over the past years. His name has been posted here before (which is how I orginally found him). He was out of the country for some months but he's back now and has openings for yard maintenance and upkeep. Others gardeners have worked on my yard before but the services provided by Luis stand above the others. He's reliable, thorough, and efficient. He will fertilize if you request it, he weeds, shapes your plants, trims, and if you have other yard projects in mind he can tackle those as well if you give his wife, Ibis, detailed instructions. Luis speaks mainly Spanish but all communication can be relayed easily to his wife Ibis. If you are in need of help with your yard, I can give a rousing thumbs up for Luis. You'll come home to a gorgeously tended yard! To contact Luis call 847-0411 (cell) or 528-7063. Or email him at lgardella20 at Robin

Feb 2007

Our neighbor's son, Paul Harkness, recently began his own gardening/landscaping business and I wanted to recommend his work. This summer he built three beautiful veggie boxes (4X8 raised beds) for us, which we love. Paul has a keen eye for detail and a quick mind for problem solving. He's warm, honest and patient with children. My four-year-old son cried when the job was done and Paul had to leave! Call Paul Harkness and tell him Hilary recommended him. (510)504-0453

Feb 2007

I must regretfully post a negative review of Luis Gardella. I found him to be unreliable, and he attempted to overcharge me as well. In fact, he wanted to be paid in full for all work before it was finished, and after i gave him 75% of the $, he vanished and had to be called repeatedly before he finished his poor quality work. My husband & I speak fluent spanish, so this wasn't a communication issue. Dont use him! butchered garden

2005 - 2006 Recommendations

Oct 2006

Hi, we want to put sod in part of our small back yard. It's a very small job - only about 200-250 square feet. Ideally we would like someone who will do it all - order and deliver the sod and put it in, but we could also take care of purchasing it ourselves and just pay someone hourly or a flat rate to put it in. We'd prefer to use something that is reasonably drought-tolerant and could put up with a lot of foot traffic of two small kids. Reasonable, reliable, etc. desired. We live in N. Oakland. Any recommendations?

Vince's Landscaping put in about 500 square feet of sod for us in spring 2006 for $1200, which included all prep work. It was a good price and they did a good job. I recommend them.

Fidel Lopez - reasonable and dependable and knows what types of sod work best in what conditions. He is also very good with irrigation. Would recommend him for maintenance as well if you need that - he has worked for us for 9-years. His number is 510-812-7436
Fidel Fan

Oct 2006

Looking for a gardener who can do everything? Tashi Lama is one such gardener. He has acquired his skills working in gardens in Berkeley, Albany, Oakland and San Francisco for the past 7 years. He worked for 2 years for a Berkeley garden maintenance company. He worked for a Berkeley landscape company for the next 4 years, including 6 months at the Golden Gate Botanical Garden. His company is called the Lama Gardening Service. He can be hired for landscaping (making paths, walls, irrigation, sealing or painting a deck, etc.), monthly maintenance (including lawn mowing), one-time clean-up, planting, pruning, weeding, and poison oak removal. He is knowledgeable of plants not only from his work, but also from classes at Merritt College. He strives to be an organic gardener. He's a nice guy, too! Tashi's email address is pasam71 at His cell phone number is 510-393-2462. His home number is 510-525-7578. Nori

Sept 2006

I live in Kensington and am looking for a gardener that is more than a mow and blow maintenance person. Besides a small lawn, my yard has rhododendron, grasses, bamboo and other shrubs that need ongoing care. I am interested in finding someone with knowledge and experience in horticulture for about 4 - 8 hours per month depending on the season. Thanks, Claudia

Francisco Mayo, 510-527-1355, just installed a lawn for us and is currently working on a patio. He's honest, reliable and really knows his stuff. He and his crew are not the mow and blow type guys but work on yards as a whole which sounds like what you need. Good luck with your search - Rachael

June 2006

I would like to enthusiastically recommend my gardener Luis Ramos for yard and lawn maintenance and general landscaping. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens for about 3 years. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees artfully. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably priced and I couldn't be happier with his work. His phone number is (510) 967-2246 ljf

May 2006

It's about that time of year again--the long rainy season has left us all with overgrown yards. I want to recommend Jose to do clean-up jobs, tree removal, sprinklers, laying sod, gardening and anything else yard-related. He is reliable, charges modestly and does a great job. You can reach him at 510-685-3018. lexie Feb 2006

I have the most wonderful gardener that has a few slots available. Herman has done all my gardening for my 3 Oakland properties for 5 years. He is very quick and thorough. He never needs to be told what do and fertalizes, weeds, and trims before I can tell him I want it done. I have a very large front and back yard and I have not spent a day doing yardwork since we have lived here. He is reliable and reasonable and also does special landscaping and irrigation projects. I have refered him to many of my friends who are also extreamely happy with him. If you'd like to see his work, e-mail me privately. His # is Herman Dubon 510-541-8758

I HIGHLY recommend my gardener (and the gardener for many of my friends) Chiam Saechao. He is great at maintenance, coming once, twice a month. He's also helped me with planting and various garden projects across the years. Reasonable, reliable, responsible, very knowledgeable, a sweet guy to boot. Will meet with you and give you a price for what you want. Oh, he also cleans gutters! Chiam's Gardening Service: cell: 510-504-3893, home: 510- crigg

Oct 2005

I would like to enthusiastically recommend my gardener Luis Ramos for yard and lawn maintenance and general landscaping. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens for about 3 years. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees artfully. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably priced. I know there was a negative post about him last month, but I believe that opinion was based on very limited knowledge and a simple misunderstanding. I have never had a problem with Luis and I couldn't be happier with his work. His phone number is (510) 967-2246. Lisa

I highly recommend Luis Ramos for your household gardening. He know plants, irrigation, general maintenance, is dependable and is totally trustworthy. He has been working for me for three years. He can be reached at: (510) 532-4678; (510) 967-2246 cell. Danny

Sept 2005

I highly recommend Chiam Saechao, tel: 510-504-3893. Does it all, has a truck for taking stuff to the dump, very knowledgeable, reliable, gentle guy, hard worker, reasonable fees. Has done work for me for many years. I'm picky and I have a gorgeous garden he very much helped to create which he now maintains. Also cleans gutters! Free estimates. Call him!
satisfied customer

June 2005

I recommend Dierdre Davis of Glimmering Gardens for garden cleanup like this. She specilizes in just this sort of project. She is very thorough and careful, and uses safe techniques that respect the plants. Her prices are quite reasonable. You can call her at 510 708-7248 or email her at ditdavis at Karen

We recently hired Jasus Cano to do some weed-whacking and cleanup in our Oakland yard and he did a great job. Called me right back, came out just a couple days later, gave a fair quote, completed the work within a week of my initial call. Without raising his price, he not only did the work we agreed on, he also tidied some other areas of the yard as well and left everything neat and tidy. Most importantly, he left alone the actual landscaping plants while clearing the weeds all around them - something past cleanup guys haven't managed to do. He even found a couple plants I didn't know were under the weeds and saved them, too. Nice guy, decent English. His number is 510-527-3201, based in Albany. JP

I highly recommend Luis Perez Gardella for garden work and cleanup. We love working in the garden, but this year we had a cleanup job that was too big to tackle on our own. Luis and his team did an amazing job, and it was $200-300 cheaper than the other bids. Since we were on a budget, I went through and prioritized the different parts of the job, and Luis did one at a time, keeping me posted as to my current bill. In the end, he did everything I'd hoped to get done, and it looks fantastic.

My friend who referred me to Luis uses him to do bi-weekly maintenance, and she's been very happy with his work. He also does sprinkler installations, new lawns, and other gardening-related tasks.

Luis speaks Spanish, but is wife, Ibis, speaks fluent English. She came along for the initial estimate, and I spoke with her on the phone to see how my bill was adding up. She was easy to communicate with.

Their contact information is 526.1894, or 847.0411. Email is lgardella20 AT R Whitaker

I would like to recommend our landscaper/gardener. Her name is Elizabeth Dougherty and she is a fantastic gardener, has a great sense of design and is an excellent listener. Elizabeth knows a thousand plants and how / where to grow them best and is a hard, fast worker. She happens to also be an amazing sculptor - she has made some wonderful fountains and statues in her studio. You can contact her by email at edougher AT or feel free to call me if you have any questions. amerrill

I DO NOT recommend Luis Ramos (510-53-4678 home, 510-967-2246 cell) for your gardening needs based on my limited contact with him. He came over this morning to give me a quote for some basic yard work. He was 25 minutes late and didn't even call (I was trying to do this before I left for work for the morning.) He wanted $800 to do my front and back yards (and very limited work on the side which is very narrow) which included pruning, cutting some branches back to the fence line, weed pulling, and raking leaves out of tanbark. The other estimate I received was for $220 from a gardener who was highly recommended (Jesus Cano 510-527-3201) from all three of his references so I hired him immediately after that!! Julie

May 2005

I'm writing to recommend my gardener, Jennifer Putzer. She is very experienced, knowledgeable, honest, communicative, and a pleasure to work with. She maintains our rather large garden on an ongoing basis and helps me understand what I should be doing in the garden as well. She is great at recommending plants for various situations, and also does landscape design (she is in the landscape design program at Merritt but has many years experience with plants already, so I think she is a bit ahead). She can be reached at plant_chic AT or 510 663 2988. Jennifer

March 2005

I had a very unsatisfactory experience with Marco Rosen with Lawns Plus based in Walnut Creek. He charged $450 to weed and spread mulch on our fairly small lot. He did preliminary weeding and then covered up the rest with mulch...when I pointed this out, he said he would fix it. He did not. He also failed to mulch beds after they were pointed out to him and did not listen to my concerns, some of which I raised twice while he was at the house. In a nutshell, he overcharged for inadequate work and was not responsive to my concerns. We also agreed upon pruning, some of which he could not do because of the rain. This is understandable, but he did not reduce his charges. It was not complicated work I was asking and he spent less than 5 hours there with a helper, which totalled to almost $100 an hour ....for poor weeding and mulching. We spent the weekend finishing the job he sloppily started. Find someone else...I will next time. Mallory

Feb 2005

I wholeheartedly recommend my gardener for anyone who is looking for lawn and garden care. Right now, Luis is installing an irrigation system, cleaning up winter weeds, and planting spring blooms for us and we couldn't be happier with his work. Luis is very well priced and easy to work with. His English is limited, but he works with his wife Ibis who speaks fluent English and is very helpful. Contact lgardella20 AT or call Ibis: 847-0411

I'm sorry to say that I had a disastrous experience with Luis (wife, Ibis, translates), who was recommended here as as a gardener. He was hired to remove weeds. But he mauled my garden, removing beautiful plantings and left all the weeds. Then he refused to actually go back and weed. At least some of it will grow back.

Jan 2005

Lizzie Bridge is a skilled organic gardener looking for new gardens to beautify in Berkeley. She is adept at pruning, planting, weeding and all aspects of garden work. She can do maintenance work and design, if you need help to create low-maintenance and lovely garden beds. She has a degree in horticulture and has worked for nurseries in the Bay Area for the past 6 years. Her services are $20/hour. Please contact her at Liz55 AT Nori

I'd like to recommend Manuel Guttierez (and his crew) for just about any yard work. (I know that he has been recommended on this website before, but I was not able to find that recommendation, and thought I should post as he has a new phone number). His cell is 510-501-8252 and his home is 510-237-9461. Manuel and his crew have done a wonderful job for us on several projects. We totally redid our front yard in 2001 -- he replaced our sloping lawn of weeds and grass with beautifully built rock wall terraces, planted trees and beautiful drought resistant plants, built a wood fence for roses to grow on, etc. Quality work, artistically done, very reasonably priced. He also installed french drains on the front and side of our home. Other more recent projects included more rock walls, flagstone landings, and irrigation. He has also done work for several of our friends and everyone's been very happy with him. Dan

Jan 2005

I am looking for a company that can tear out the weeds in our backyard and install a very basic lawn. I don't want to spend a lot of money to remodel my yard. Any recommendations for reasonable contractors would be greatly appreciated. Desperately in need of lawn

In response to Cheap Lawn Istallation Needed - Herman Dubon 925- 755-9059 will do a great job for you. He's our general gardener, and last year he installed a new lawn for us using Home Depot sod for a modest price. It included digging out the old grass, layering new soil and humus, then the sod. The lawn grew well, and the only problem we now have is a mole that is undoing all his good work!

2004 and Earlier

Dec 2004

I highly recommend Stylosus, owned by Martie Steele, for landscape design, installation and garden maintenance. We used her to fully design and install our new backyard, and she currently maintains her/our creation. She was the most reasonable, both in times of money and attitude, of all the people we interviewed. Martie is a great person to work with: she knows her stuff, has high energy, is creative, enthusiastic, extremely friendly and both flexible and accommodating. Specifically, she guided us in the design of our yard, the removal of the old matter and unwanted trees and plants, the construction of a redwood deck and patio and a stone walkway, the choosing and placement of plants and trees to meet our needs and wants and the installation of an irrigation system. During the long process there were many decisions to be made, so we spoke often. Martie was always charming, understanding and most of all helpful and productive. Her work - from the drafting table to the soil - was outstanding. She is great at balancing being the expert and allowing you to develop and express your own ideas of what you really want the end product to look and feel like. She is well worth her reasonable rates. 510- 665-5529. Joe

Sept 2004

I highly recommend Chan Saepan for your yardwork maintenance/gardening needs. He's very reliable and detailed in his work. He has his own equipment and is flexible with his schedule. You can reach him directly at 510-851-2588. howie

August 2004

Hello, I would like to recommend Miguel and his team for gardening services. They are responsible, hard working and affordable. Miguel is available monday-sunday. Their work includes gardening, lawn, cement, fences, sprinklers, trees and maintenence. If you are interested they can be reached at (510) 776-1090 ask for Miguel Ramirez for a free estimate. Lizet

July 2004

We are moving to El Cerrito August 3rd to a house with a huge backyard and large front yard. We'll need maintenance work done twice a month and are looking for people who bring their own equipment. Will need to prune trumpetvine that's taken over garage roof and part of fence, do some grading for drainage, battle back a big stand of bamboo and lots more. Thanks. Advice on how to proceed, when to hire a landscape gardener, etc. would be appreciated, as we are new to home ownership and garden stewardship. Thanks. hedy

I would like to recommend a wonderful landscaper. She does everything, including planting, maintenance, pruning, weed removal and anything else you need done. She can also do irrigation systems, tree pruning and removal, clean-ups and other larger jobs. She has over 15 years of landscaping experience. You can call Lupe directly at (510)666-9971. Lexie

We found a great gardener who is reasonably priced, knowledgeable, and all-around great to work with. I think she would be very helpful with the challenges you described. She's been a gardener for several years and is working on her landscape design degree at Merritt. She's comfortable just doing what you tell her to do or advising you on how to proceed, whichever you're looking for. Her name is Jennifer Putzer and she's at (510) 663-2988 or plant_chic AT Good luck! Jennifer

Mucky Pups are their name. Cheryle and Foster are the garden team. They prefer working and maintaining native scapes, and use no gas powered equipment. call: 510-965-9512 lpj

For those looking for a local landscaper/gardener, look into Amber Menzies (219-9863). She does planning & design, plant selection, and a great job at installation. She did our entire property last year (you can check out at 2821 College Ave), and we saw some others before she did ours. We are extremely happy with the results. And she was very reasonably priced. Dara

Reasonable gardener in Alameda
We like our gardener very much, Jose Garay at 523-1930. He does good work, shows up when he says he will, and has reasonable rates. We originally hired him because when we wanted a major yard cleanup done, he was the only one who thought we should pull the weeds instead of poisoning them. Since then, we've had him come back twice per month for general yard maintenance. My only disclaimer is that we haven't had him install flower beds or anything like that, so I can't speak to that specifically. But I think he would be great for just about any project. Tori

May 2004

I've recently been quoted $140 per month for a gardener to come twice per month and maintain my yard (which is on the largeish side). I'm talking about weeding, pruning, trimming, and cleaning up. That seems like a lot to me. I'd like to hear what others pay for this kind of service. Thanks. Denise

Hmmm...I wonder if we are speaking of the same gardener....Highly recommended on this listserve? Anyway, yes, I was quoted $150 per month for exactly what you described. I expressed concern that our grass grew too quickly to be cut every other week rather than every week so he included a weekly lawn mowing into the price. So I agree to this price because I figure, hey, he's highly recommended on the listserve...he must do a good job and is worth every penny. Well...he came for one visit, asked me for $70 ''for compost and fertilizer for the side of your house'' and disappeared only to never return. ''My truck broke down and I don't know when I'll have it fixed...but I'll call you'', he explained to my Spanish speaking husband who called *him* (nothing lost in translation there). Um, no, apparently it did not as he continued to service other yards, I've since learned from my email communications with some folks who recommended him. Meanwhile, we had to frantically find someone else to do our yard since we were expecting 30+ guests for our daughter's *backyard* birthday party held the following weekend. Parents, please learn from my stupidity -- do not easily trust (much less hand over your good money to) people just because they were highly recommended on this listserve. I'm sure most of these individuals do perfectly wonderful work for the clients they decide to work for. But they may decide that they don't want to work for you (which is also fine and their choice) yet they do not have the simple skills to communicate this choice and, instead, may leave you in a bad position (and out of some money as well). Lesson learned

May 2004

I would like to recommend Mr. Yuki at 510 708-0999. He is an older Japanese gentleman with somewhat limited English so his son came along on the first visit to interpret. He worked like a fiend to do a massive clean-up for us and everything looks wonderful. Now he comes twice a month for a very reasonable $170 per month. kathryn

April 2004

My experienced gardener has openings. He has worked for me for four years and he's terrific. * Hardworking * Honest * Reliable * Willing to do all jobs, large and small. He has all his own equipment, and truck for hauling. His services range from lawn mowing, planting, and weeding to pruning and hardscape like irrigation and amazing stone walls! He's a nice guy and he's reasonable too. Call him directly Erick 685-0556 (or reply to this ad for references) bweller

I would like to update the 2002 recommendation for Ruben Camacho (510-237-6153 home) for landscaping, yard-work, and gardening. He and two of his family members just cleared and landscaped our very steep front yard. This project entailed building two retaining walls. We couldn't be HAPPIER with both the process and final product. Ruben was incredibly professional, communicative (!), responsive, reliable and surprisingly affordable. And our yard looks wonderful (people on our street haven't stopped commenting on the improvement). Call or email if you'd like more info. Christy and Jim

My great gardener is looking for more lucky clients! Luis is talented, honest, and takes great pride in his work. He can do everything from basic yard work to complete renovation of your landscaping. He is moderately priced and, although his English is limited, communication can be conducted through his wife who is fluent and always very helpful. Contact Luis' wife, Ibis for more information. 526-1894 847-0411 ibisb AT

March 2004

As the weather warms up and we look at our gardens, I would like to recommend my gardener, Luis Ramos. He will do anything, from basic landscaping to spring clean-up. He is available for monthly maintenance, and fencing work, too. I have hired him for two years and found that he is punctual and industrious. At first, I thought his rates were a bit high but when he and his crew cleaned up my substantial yard, it was IMMACULATE. I was able to host a few summer parties and have people over without cringing. This year, I will use him again after the rains stop. He and his wife have decided to try to save for a down payment on a house so he needs more work. I would be happy to answer any questions. He speaks English but communicates best in Spanish. His home telephone number is (510) 532- 4678. His cell phone number is (510) 967-2246. He works in Berkeley, Oakland, Layfayette and Alameda. Please feel free to contact me. locke

Nov. 2003

If you're in need of yard work and gardening I recommend Chan Saepans' service. They can do anything from basic yard upkeep and maintenance, to heavy weeding, pruning/trimming, hauling and clean-up. For a reasonable, free estimate call 510-290-8865. Services are also available on monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly basis. K. Kennedy

Sept. 2003

I highly recommend Jesus Abrego and Omar for Landscaping and Home Improvement. Jesus and Omar have established our backyard; from laying down concrete, mosaic tiling, putting up lattice, building an arbor, laying sod, planting plants and clean up. We provided the; design and plans, as well as purchased all goods and products needed for yard. All goods were delivered to our home before Jesus and Omar began working on our backyard. Jesus and Omar were compensated for the labour only. They are available to work on weekends only (both Saturdays and Sundays). Jesus and Omar have been hardworking, honest, reliable and a pleasure to work with.

Jesus does not speak English; however Omar has a good command of the English language. The best way to reach Omar is in the evenings after 8pm or on weekends on Tel#: Hme 707-642-0825, Cell: 707-334-2972. Again I highly recommend working with Jesus and Omar. 510.849.2325. Sainabou

Sept. 2003

I would highly recomend GOOD EARTH LANDSCAPING 510-506- 0508 for any projects or even maintenece you need done. They are fantastic. Call then at 510-506-0508 Anon

Sept. 2003

David Ward is a landscaper with a great asthetic, an ability to follow through with plans, and he's honest. His number is 510 658-5863. Sticks and Stones is the name of his company. Sincerely, Susan

Aug 2003

Greetings, I have a reccomendation for a wonderful gardener. They are a husband and wife team and do everything from mowing to landscaping. Their company is called Breene's Greens and they can be reached at 510-543-8686. Jackie

Aug 2003

I'd like to HIGHLY recommend Luis Ramos for any yard projects you have, large or small. I submitted a recommendation here at the beginning of the summer but Luis is still looking for new projects so I'm putting this out again. Luis runs his own company and is available for maintenance as well as one-time clean-ups or irrigation projects. I found him on this email list and ended up hiring him in the spring to do extensive yard work, which included installing new sod and an irrigation system (both drip irrigation and sprinklers), breaking up and removing a concrete walkway, and putting down flagstone. Hems done a fantastic job q he pays a great attention to detail and gives good advice while still listening to our ideas. For example, he transplanted a tree that we had planned to keep in our new lawn because it would have gotten too much water, and hems given us good advice on everything from moving plants around to what kind of wood chips to use, to where to put our kidsm swing set. Wemre pretty price conscious right now so hems been very obliging about breaking down his price estimates to make sure we understand exactly what wemre paying for, and if it makes sense for us to do some of the work ourselves. (It doesnmt.) Luis is also just really nice to work with, and was very patient when we changed our mind about different parts of the plan. You can reach Luis at home 510/532-4678 or on his cell 510/967-2246. His wife, Herlinda, is also available for housecleaning services. Katrina

Aug 2003

Re: great mow and blow guys
I will recomend Nir Hadari 510-506-0508 with Good Earth Landscaping (not to be confused with Rare Earth) for mow and blow jobs. They do the bigger jobs, but simple maintanence they do well too. They are a small licenced co. so their prices seem reasonable to me. And they are sweet. Anon

Aug 2003

nir Hadari (510-506-0508) with Good Earth Landscaping (not to be confused with rare earth landscaping) Is fantastic! They have transformed our ugly bumpy, rocky, dirt backyard into a paradise. They did our lawn, irrigation, deck and flagstones. They broke everything down and hauled it away. I do know they are licenced. but because they are small, they are well priced (believe me we checked around!) now that our yard is done they maintain it too! satisfied customer!

June 2003

Can you recommend a gardener who has experience cutting back WISTERIA and general PRUNING of small trees and bushes? Thank you so much

I can recommend Diane Bloomberg as an excellent resource for pruning the various plants around your yard. She has completed most of her coursework in a specialized Landscape Horticultural Therapy program, so she's not only an excellent landscaper, she's also extremely nice and easy to talk with. Her email is: dianebloomberg at

May 2003

We found our gardener through a posting on this newletter and we'd like to recommend him again. Luis G. Perez is an honest, hardworking man. He brings his english speaking wife, Ibis, to the first meeting and they walk around the garden with you as you discuss what you'd like him to do. It is obvious from the get go that he is very knowledgeable regarding plants, trees, etc. and he is very proactive in his approach to our landscaping needs. Rarely have I had to ask him to tend to something that he hasn't already seen and taken care of first. His pricing is very good and he is on time, reliable and a hard worker. I am thrilled to have found him and would be very happy to discuss him in more detail to anyone interested. His numbers are: 526- 1894 Cell: 847-0411 He's terrific! karen

May 2003

I have used Luis Perez' (he also goes by Luis Garella) services and agree that while he does good work, I have had to pin him down, in print, finally, to commit to a consistent price regarding the identical work he did for me from week to week. The price he charged me was sometimes 30-50% more than the week before; when I called him on this, he either backed down or said that the job entailed more than the week before. Finally, I put down the duties in writing, in Spanish, and that seems to have resolved the ''ambiguities.'' I think that a firm commitment in writing, which both homeowner and gardener sign, is important, esp. in light of big projects. anonymous for my gard No Green Thumb

Sept. 2003

I'd like to recommend Luis Gardella for gardening and yard work. I know him and his wife and can strongly vouch for Luis' character. He's very serious about his work, responsible, honest, and hard-working. His English is limited, but communication can be conducted through his wife, Ibis, who speaks fluent English and is quiet helpful.

Luis is moderately priced and is offering his services in: pruning, trimming, weeding, fertilization, and hauling. He also has experience in fire prevention clean-up and landscaping in preparation for real estate sales or rentals. Contact Ibis 526-1894 847-0411 ibisb at Stacy

May 2003

I'd like to recommend Alfredo (Al) Ramos (510) 928-0779. We hired him after getting several bids 2 years ago to level our front and back yards, install an irrigation system, and put in sod. His price was FAR lower than his competitors, and he showed up when he said he would. We kept him on for 6 months after, to make sure the grass survived...and we've kept him ever since because he and his team do such a nice job. He comes twice a month (or once, or whatever you prefer) and charges us $70 a month (though of course it's different for everyone based on size & difficulty of job). They mow, edge, and blow the patio & steps, leaving everything neat. We've had them do seasonal ''big'' garden clean-ups, and some tree trimming too. Al is a decent, honest man. Good luck! Heidi

May 2003

I can highly recommend Suzanne Steffansen (919-6950). She is reliable and self-directed. She has also made some excellent new planting choices (she also does some landscape design). mac

April 2003

I recommend Jean-Marie Letellier as a gardening contractor for steep slopes. His e-mail is Letelliers at He is French, and has done wonderful work with steep slopes that reminds me of the Provence region in France. joelle

April 2003

I posted a message some time ago but thought I'd post again because my gardener still has several openings and is very reasonable and quite good. I highly recommend him for anything from a one time clean up to regular maintenance to other major jobs (e.g. irrigation installation, fencing, flagstone patios). His name is Luis Ramos and can be reached at 510 532 4678.

April 2003

Hi, I'd like to HIGHLY recommend Luis Ramos for any yard projects you have, large or small. He runs his own company and is available for maintenance as well as one-time clean- ups or irrigation projects. I found him on this email list a couple months ago and ended up hiring him to do extensive yard work, which included installing new sod and an irrigation system (both drip irrigation and sprinklers), breaking up and removing a concrete walkway, and putting down flagstone. He's done a fantastic job q he pays a great attention to detail and gives good advice while still listening to our ideas. For example, he transplanted a tree that we had planned to keep in our new lawn because it would have gotten too much water, and he's given us good advice on everything from moving plants around to what kind of wood chips to use, to where to put our kids' swing set. We're pretty price conscious right now so he's been very obliging about breaking down his price estimates to make sure we understand exactly what we're paying for, and if it makes sense for us to do some of the work ourselves. (It doesn't.) Luis is also just really nice to work with, and very patient when we change our mind about different parts of the plan. You can reach Luis at home 510/532-4678 or on his cell 510/967-2246. His wife, Herlinda, is also available for housecleaning services. Katrina

Feb 2003

I want to recommend Mr. Choy Pham to do yard work - he is a very honest and hard-working man with very reasonable rates. please call 510 233-7912 Megan

Feb 2003

My gardener has recently decided to start his own business which is good news for anyone looking for a very hard working and reasonably priced gardener. He can do anything from irrigation installation to building a fence; from regular plant maintenance to installing a flagstone patio. He is a wonderfully sweet man from Guatamala and truly does exceptional work. (As an aside, his wife cleans houses and I would also highly recommend her). My gardener's name is Luis Ramos and his number is 510 532 4678. His wife's name is Herlinda. Ortal

Jan. 2003

We are very happy with our gardener/landscaper, who was recommended to us by our neighbor, who also uses him. Our homeowners association now uses him as well. His name is Dan Rochin Jr. of Tierra Ajena Landscape Service in Martinez. His workers come every other week to our home to do maintenance. Dan also did some other things for us such as replacing a broken trellis and tearing things out and putting down woodchips to make a kid-friendly play area. He can be reached at (925) 229-0434. Please mention I referred you (no, I don't get a kickback, but we are just very pleased with his work). Lori

I highly recommend Pablo Cepero at California Landscaping. He's knowledgable, reasonably priced, and is good about working with your ideas and preferences while offering his experience and expertise. They do maintenance as well as design, installation, tree service etc. Pablo's number is 510-635-7017. -- Ilana

our babysitter's husband, jorge perez, does our mowing plus hedge trimming and basic misc garden maintenance (we live up fruitvale ave). for that it's $40/month for bi-monthly visits, though we may be getting a break from the usual price. not sure what it would be for just mowing and trimming, but he's a great guy, very reliable, and worth calling. he can be reached at 568-9379. let him know i suggested you call. Diana

Norlang Bounthauy 215-1903. He is fast, friendly, knows plants, hauls away trash, and does a thorough job. merryselk (see other recommendations below for Norlang Bounthauy)

Has anyone worked with Lee's Gardening Service, from which I received a flyer (flier?). I know I will need to ask for references if I call for an estimate, but would appreciate hearing from anyone on the list who has had experience with this service. -Lorraine

I just signed them up to a landscaping job -- they've been very professional, giving me a written estimate, etc. I have not started the job yet -- but so far, I've been pleased with their service. mr. lee's son, Anthony, does the landscaping consultation. Christine

I was not very satisfied with them; I paid for full service yet they ignored weeds developing in my lawn that they were supposed to deal with and did not even sweep well. Worse yet the mowing job was very poor quality. I explained my dissatisfaction to them and nothing changed so I stopped the service. Kathy

I use Lees Gardening Service. They are fine. A whole group/family comes and stays about 20 or 30 minutes and cuts lawn,prunes, cleans up etc. They are not knowledgeable gardeners in the old time sense but more maintenance gardeners. For example, they do not plug the grass or feed plants. I suppose they would if I asked and paid more. They increased the price only once from $50 permonth to $60. I think after I got a dog who I am not good about cleaning after. I have had them for years. They also did some major projects for me--i.e. brought in soil and replanted an area that I had purchased the plants for. Their English skills are minimal but we rarely interact as I am at work.

I have used Lee's Gardening Service in the past and was not satisfied. They really only mowed the lawn, and they didn't do that very well. I live in Berkeley and would love some recommendations. -Carole


Call Laurah Hanson at 327-7673. She and her husband Wally Johnson have done our garden for years and are great! Tim

I'm a gardener not taking any new jobs right now but here's a bunch of my friends who are very competant and can do all the things you listed. Martha Becker 652-0398 Jane Sylvester 237-9957 Tamar Carson 654-8242 Hannah Sours-Davis 654-7991 If none of those people pan out, call the Merritt College Horticulture Department in Oakland. They have a great referral network there. June


Amigos Gardening & Landscaping has done good work for us at a very reasonable price. We've had them install irrigation and a lawn, do major clearing of weeds and old tree stumps, bring in new soil and rototill, do pruning, and do twice-monthly maintenance. The owner, Mario Siguas, speaks good English; the other people in the business don't, but I haven't had any trouble working with them. They tend to run a little behind the schedule they give, and Mario can be hard to reach by phone sometimes, but they do good work, are fast once they get started, are honest, and are much less expensive than other people I've found. Mario also works at Monterey Market so I've always been able to find him when I do my shopping there if I don't reach him by phone. Their number is (510) 245-3825 or (510) 524-9190. Alexandra

I hired a very efficient and hard-working young woman who put in a raised-bed vegetable garden for me last spring. She charged $10.00 per hour and she hauled compost and mulch by the ton. Her name is Ann Radeloff at 654-1061. Her friend Nathan also helped out with tree trimming. You can tell her Barbara Shayesteh recommended her.

I'd like to highly recommend a very good friend of mine who does excellent garden work for $10-$12/hour. He's a graduate student (gardening jobs are one way he helps make ends meet!), and is currently finishing his comprehensive exams, but is available after Nov. 12. He specializes in work with California natives, but has helped people clear out their backyards, plant, and do other gardening tasks (he's done wonders with my postage stamp backyard!). He's very reliable, efficient, and tidy, and loves working with plants. If you'd like to talk to him, call (510) 665-8911 and ask to speak to Timothy


From: Netsy

Maintenance gardener:
Roger Alphonso 408-226-4892
Does maintenance work on a monthly basis however we are using him for a one-time major weeding project. Comes highly recommended from this list. Though we have not used him yet. Will know more in about a week after he does our work.

From: Heather

I would like to recommend the services of Roger Alphonso and his I and I Landscaping crew. Roger and his crew are former Jamaicans, very hard workers and very competitive in fees and estimates. Their moto is keeping the land healthy.

- $50 monthly service to do regular landscaping upkeep
- competitive estimates for fire safety clearing
- competitive estimates for any other landscaping job

Phone (408)226-4892


Kahli Waters has some gardening experience, and is a delight to have helping around the yard. Her rate is $10-12/ hour. Her number is 526-2570.

May 1999

I have seen many requests and recommendations for gardeners and landscapers on the list and web site, but our needs are a little less refined. We're looking for someone to tear out an old, rotten wooden fence along with ivy and miscellaneous vegetation, and haul it all away. In addition, we'd also like to have the yard cleaned up: blackberry and morning glory removed.

I doubt if this is the kind of thing a gardener normally does. It's heavier work than that. Do you have any recommendations? John

Suggestions for:
Heavy Yard Cleanup Painting House Cleaning Moving Manual Labor Projects Carpentry
HISPANIC REFERRAL (previously named MANOS), is a referral service through the Oakland Catholic Diocese, that refers workers (heavy yard workers, painters, housec cleaners, movers, carpenters, general construction workers, etc.) for jobs that can be done without specific expertise. The workers are Spanish speaking but will come with a list of translated terms so the conversation can go smoothly. They are very self reliant and will work very hard. The rate is $10/hr., with a four hour minimum, for general help. Skilled painters and carpenters get up to $13/hr (four hour minimum still applies). They can be scheduled seven days a week and can start as early as 7:30 am (depending on their mode of transporation and where you live). HISPANIC REFERRAL - phone 534-8780

Merry 7/99

I highly recommend gardener Norlang Bounthauy, 215-1903. He will estimate your job at very very reasonable rates, do the work quickly and cheerfuly, and carry away the clippings and branches. We used him for a massive backyard cleanup and were very pleased. Please tell him that Merry Selk suggested you call!


This is to wholeheartedly second Merry's recommendation. I called Norlang Bounthauy (I believe his last name is pronounced Boon-THAW-Way), who is based in Richmond, for the first time last Thursday evening (1999-10-07). He came out the next morning to perform a walk-through and to give us an estimate on our own massive yard cleanup, and the Saturday morning took on this daunting job.

Norlang and his crew of two other gardeners did thorough and professional work. All of the tree and bush trimming and removal was done with care, especially when trimming portions of neighbors' trees overhanging our yard and in preserving several plants, as requested. He and his team even noticed and did some extra, needed work (one example: blowing debris off a shed roof and a deck) that we hadn't specifically asked for, all for the originally estimated price.