Richard and Priscilla Johnson, San Luis Obispo, California
"Before Gabriel did his magic, our back yard--established in 1923 and pretty much neglected ever since--was a diamond in the rough (some established fruit trees and shrubs, seasonal weeds, parched earth in the summer). Gabriel visited our property, took photos, and drew up a detailed plan. His vision included gravel walkways, native-stone borders, sandstone boulders, and mounded planting areas -- all designed to accommodate existing trees, planters, and shed structures. The proposed plantings included a beautiful and drought-resistant mix of mostly-native grasses and shrubs (manzanita, yarrow, hummingbird sage, California fuchsia, salvia), all appropriate to a small 1920s bungalow in the middle of San Luis Obispo. Much-impressed by Gabriel's enthusiasm, knowledge of native plants, and attention to detail, we gave him the go-ahead. He and his crew of two helpers, along with his small earth-moving machine, knocked out the job in three days. Throughout the project, Gabriel coordinated the details (selection and delivery of stone, bark, and plant specimens, excavation of topsoil, placement and compacting of gravel, cleanup, etc.) with obvious skill and experience. He even took us along to choose the boulders. The crew never failed to show up and complete the various steps on or ahead of schedule, and the whole project came in on time and under budget. A few weeks later, Gabriel checked back to make sure that we and the plants were happy. Three months later, our garden looks great! With an almost 100% survival rate (replacements quickly and cheerfully provided), our new plants are growing, blooming, and giving us all the visual pleasure we hoped for. We are glad we called this patient, easygoing garden-creator (plan to do so again for a re-do of our side yard), and give him our highest recommendation."