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“We open your doors to endless possibilities”

That’s what it says on our website, and it is true for more than our clients.

While there is no “standard day” at Susan Friedman Landscape Architecture, that seems to be part of the reason our team members stick around.

Audrey has been with SFLA for 5 years and she says “It’s wonderful working for a small firm where you get to be involved in all aspects of the design process. From site analysis and concept design to construction documents that bring your designs to life! In addition to that, the team is awesome, and I have a boss who is always encouraging and understanding. I’m so thankful for this job.”

Quinn adds “I enjoy the flexibility and autonomy I have in my work and daily life while being part of a collaborative and encouraging team. A huge plus for me is the opportunity to use my creativity. Getting to lead on designs from the beginning has been an exciting and rewarding challenge as a new designer. In school, I heard stories about work in larger offices where you would only be drafting other people’s designs for a long time. At SFLA I have had the opportunity to engage with the whole process of landscape design from start to finish.

“From site visits and sketching concept designs, to drafting and construction details, I’m learning by doing in a way that feels sustainably paced and fun.

Most of the Team: Quinn, Lorraine, Susan, Ian, and Audrey.

“The ’bird’s-nest‘ office is also a really pleasant work environment with plenty of space, friendly colleagues, and views of large oak trees frequently visited by hawks, wild turkeys, deer, and other wildlife.”

Jessica works part-time and reflects that, “At SFLA you own your project from start to finish so you are able to gain experience in all the phases of the design process. Susan and the team are all very knowledgeable and kind and the design studio is a very welcoming environment. I have really appreciated the flexibility that this job offers and Susan’s commitment to having a healthy work/life balance.”

Ian is the Director of Design and Business Development as well as the IT Department. Wearing many hats, Ian balances design work with sales, supports the team members hone skills such as drafting techniques and plant selection, and is pursuing his own Landscape Architect certification.

Lorraine works in the front office, handling communications, scheduling, and logistics of all kinds. She joined SFLA five years after Susan and the team transformed her San Ramon property into a native plant and wildlife sanctuary evoking the feel of a national park. Now she tells prospective clients about her own experience with the hope of opening their doors to possibilities they never could have imagined on their own.

Leading the Team

All of this because Susan provides the vision and support to keep everything in balance for clients, staff, and associated professionals.

At the helm, Susan loves every aspect of her company. The joy and satisfaction she gets by developing the unique talents of each designer as they each bring something special to the (drafting) table; seeing their professional growth take place – especially when their ideas come together for a new design, or they are working through a particular detail challenge – are immeasurable.

Of course, SFLA would not exist without the variety of amazing clients that choose to work with them. Susan and team specialize in getting to know the individual needs of each client in order to represent who they are in their outdoor spaces. In the end, there is nothing better than our happy clients telling us, “I love spending time in my new backyard and enjoy every detail. I spend more time outdoors now than ever before.”

How does it work with SFLA?

Our process begins when Lorraine talks to a prospective client about their landscape project, timelines, and expectations. Then Susan or Ian has an in-depth meeting with the future client to find out more about the project, discuss general design ideas, and start the budget conversation.

Then the design fun begins! With a thorough site analysis of the project area, we gather site information to study the specific guidelines. We create a beautiful landscape concept showing a preferred layout solution for their project along with other images and information to support their design. Ultimately, SFLA produces a complete plan package that includes all the details of the project that a contractor would need to bid from and build from. “We love bidding Susan’s detailed plans,” says one contractor. “They’re very complete, eliminating our guesswork during the bidding and the construction, thereby keeping project costs predictable and on target.”

After construction, our happy clients have a beautiful new outdoor space that they never would have imagined. That makes all of us at SFLA very happy – and it’s why we do what we do!

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Kalich - Boulder fountain, Japanese maple tree, native planting, stamped concrete

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