Sense of Place

When I was growing up throughout small towns in Northern California, my favorite place to play was ‘outside.’ The neighbor kids and I spent many hours poking around in creeks, creating hideouts in the woods, and grazing in the garden. I grew up in a community of people who valued beautiful hand-built houses, grew their own food, and slept under the stars. I learned early on the value of being fully engaged and appreciative of my physical environment.

As an adult, I worked and studied around the world – Nepal, Peru, Spain, Ireland, and the remote South Atlantic Island of St Helena. In all these places, the interplay between culture and nature – how people inhabit the landscape and identify with their place has deeply influenced me and my work.

I want to share that deep sense of place I inherited from my childhood and was drawn to as an adult – a sense of possibility, ease and joy in the landscape – and help clients create their own connected and functional relationship with their own outdoor environment.

By integrating nature into everyday human spaces we are better able to enjoy our surroundings, we experience a heightened sense of connection to our place, and we support survival of the plant and animal communities around us.


I earned a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked for the nationally recognized firm Walker Macy before starting my own landscape design company. I have worked on projects from rural homesteads to university campuses and enjoy the challenges of marrying individual needs with ecological caretaking. When not obsessing over other people’s landscapes, you can find me making art, playing music, or working on my mini-homestead in Northeast Portland.

Please contact me to talk about your project.

Registration and Certification

  • Registered Landscape Architect, State of Oregon
  • Certified Women Business Enterprise and Emerging Small Business, State of Oregon
  • Certified Permaculture Designer

Matt and Anna Norman

“We absolutely loved working with Caitilin for our yard. We were truly at a loss about what to do as it isn’t that large but has a lot of changes in elevation. She was great at listening to things we liked and desired for our space and then creating a great design that was feasible and went above and beyond what we thought could be done with our little yard. We get so many compliments on how our home is looking from passing neighbors to long time friends. It has come a long way from when we bought it and we are thankful Caitilin helped create the vision to frame our home. ”

Matt and Anna Norman, homeowners

Django Amerson

“Having Caitilin on board with the Alberta St Pub patio renovation expanded my conception of what was even possible, and brought to life ideas that have now become reality. She carefully listened to what I was wanted and then gently brought me around to new ways of looking at the big picture. She understands how a space can work for a variety of gatherings and seasons, and how a landscape and its structures will grow, change, and weather over time. It was incredibly valuable to have her technical expertise in dealing with mundane issues like roof runoff and permit requirements – items that were way off my radar and could have been very frustrating otherwise. I am very glad that she was part of our team.”

Django Amerson, owner Alberta St Pub

Liana Corliss

“We worked closely with Caitilin in designing and executing a long term, complex landscape project for our backyard in the Hawthorne District. After meeting and sharing ideas and photos, she designed an incredibly thoughtful, detailed, and creative plan for our backyard. I immediately knew that she understood exactly what we wanted. We love our new space and we look forward to working with her in the next phase of our project. I recommend her for any landscaping project; she is exceptional.”

Liana Corliss, homeowner

Norina Beck

“We worked with Caitilin to design a landscape for our new preschool. She is terrifically good at stepping back and seeing the big picture, and then creatively and logically turning that into beautiful and functional spaces. Working with her we really gained an understanding of the way a landscape can work as a whole, and of the parts and pieces that complement that vision. She was always a thoughtful listener, but didn’t hesitate to share her point of view. In the end we felt like our ideas were an important part of the design, but the design itself gave our thoughts order and unity that was uniquely hers.

We were also very impressed by her attention to detail. She was always reliable and prepared, meetings were productive and to the point. We’ve loved having the lists of plants, images and drawings to share with parents, and to pore over in our own time.

We often reflect on how fortunate we were to have worked with her, and the feedback we’ve gotten from visitors and parents on the landscape design has reinforced this feeling. ”

Norina Beck, teacher and cofounder at Rising Song Preschool

Lisa Cannon

“When we decided to completely redo our yard, we had some vague ideas but we weren’t sure exactly what we wanted. Caitilin did a fantastic job of translating our general concepts into a beautiful landscape—one that suits us perfectly. She also provided excellent advice when it came to finding drought-resistant plants that look great but don’t require a lot of maintenance. We get compliments from people walking by our front yard every day. I recommend her work highly. ”

Lisa Cannon, Homeowner