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Red Bird Story & Approach

Why the Red Bird?

art work by Samuel D. Kirk
Red Bird drawing by Samuel D. Kirk

I have always done things a little differently than my peers.

In 1997, I was in graduate school for Landscape Architecture (Uni of Arizona). Actually, I had arrived at the doorstep of the grad school following a series of grief-born personal discoveries about nature:land:people:health:soul:healing, enrolled within a week of learning of the program, and was working late into the night on one of the first assigned design projects of the first semester. And I was struggling. Again. Short on confidence, I sat there wondering what I had gotten myself into.

It wasn’t just the project.

What was I going to do with a degree in landscape architecture, anyway? What connection did it have to my degree in social work and my biomedical research and development experience? What was I doing with my life? My path didn’t look anything like my friends back home or any of my design school peers.

In the midst of my all-nighter induced existential crisis, I was suddenly blessed with a memory I hadn’t thought about in years: one of my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lapin.

I had arrived to class late, while the other kids were outside for recess. Mrs. Lapin sat me down and handed me a bird to color in to catch up on the morning’s lesson. The class would be showing their pictures after recess. I colored my bird and joined my classmates outside.

After recess was over, we all stood in a circle for show and tell. The entire class held up their pictures at the same time, and everyone began to point and laugh at mine. I looked around the room, and I realized I was surrounded by blue birds.

I had colored my bird red.

I began to cry, because mine was different from the rest. And I will never forget the way Mrs. Lapin leaned over, squeezed my shoulder in reassurance, and sweetly whispered in my ear, “It’s okay, Annie. There are red birds, too.”

It took me 25 years to learn my teacher’s lesson, but I suddenly understood. Each of us is unique. We arrive at solutions and ideas in our own way. We don’t all have to be blue birds. And design solutions to that grad school project flowed…

The world needs red birds, too.

The Red Bird has become a symbol that represents so much more now. Red Bird sits perched in my soul here at Red Bird Restorative Gardens as our harbinger of hope and guide as we honor the uniqueness of you and the special solutions that satisfy and soothe your soul in your own way. This is the key to our design practice.

If you’re ready to release your inner Red Bird and soothe your senses through your natural surroundings please, sign up for my newsletter for tips and inspiration to transform your outdoor space into an inspired, meaningful space intent on boosting your health, peace & happiness.

Let’s be in touch. I love connecting and collaborating with fellow Red Birds, and purple, orange, blue, polkadot, zebra striped.


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Red Bird Space-Making Design Approach

RedBirdRestorativeGardens_Sanctuary Sketch_2015 all rights reservedI believe that a thoughtful, meaningful, purposeful planning process yields a satisfying future and that a restorative design is the manifestation of a good design process.

Listening closely to clients to learn subtleties, underlying “stories” and instincts, sets the course for Red Bird’s design work. My job: respect your intentions, understand the unique needs of you and your family and escort you safely and joyfully from beginning to end through what can be at times, a tricky and confusing road of landscape remodel. I give your needs and instinct a voice and a life in your landscape; artistically, practically and cooperatively, blended with the natural “intelligence” of your site.

As a boutique landscape design & consulting firm, Red Bird services are customized to reflect a continuum – selecting that which is perfect for you, whether a part DIYer or the “hire it all out-get a contractor in here”. Variables such as project size and complexity determine our fees and your investment.


Red Bird’s Beauty & the Benefit Blueprint

My design-ly different approach to beautiful landscapes worthy of living, thriving & delighting in – Red Bird’s Beauty & the Benefit Blueprint – evolved out of practice, study and personal experience because our outdoor living areas need to be more than just another pretty space. They need to be restorative – both attractive and provide a tangible return on investment because of their use and presence in your day-to-day living.

This is where the “2-fer” comes in. When you invest precious time, energy, money and share your deepest wishes & wants for a landscape you need to both delight in the beauty of a landscape AND experience the multiple benefits deliberately designed for you – your family, your clients, your employees, your customers, your tenants. My blueprint combines one part art, one part heart & soul, one part science to bring you that 2-fer.

As I see it, restorative gardens – large spaces & small, intimate vignettes – need to be the universal condition – the standard – to which we all design. After all, good design manifests through thoughtful and meaningful process of choices. And we know how good it feels when we’ve made a choice that is aligned with our better self, our higher good, our heart’s desire. We feel good.

RedBirdRestorativeGardens_Wishing Tree RibbonsWhat I “Sell” and don’t sell

Because I collaborate with you to craft lifestyle, wellbeing, peace, health, statements, connections, delight, reverence, memories, stylishness, confidence, happiness, play, joy, and healing, Red Bird does not  sell a design drawing nor construction crew.

I don’t sell landscapes like others sell lampshades.

Red Bird sells a design process that results in a treasured, personalized space that is meant for your living, thriving & delighting. When you hire Red Bird, you hire expertise, creativity, conviction, commitment, compassion, goofiness, spontaneous and soulful dances of joy and command of industry resources. (And my outrageous love & respect of plant material, plant “outfits”, and playing plant dress up.) I run with a band of practical idealists which makes for a potent combination, I find.

My practice is deeply rooted (pun intended) in visionary thinking, intuitive guidance and an implementation of practice that is anything but ordinary. It is Red Bird. I am both humbled and elated to be of service to you, offering a different approach than what is the “norm” that honors your unique manner and way of expressing yourself on the planet at this time.

What’s Red Bird’s Superpower?

You may be wondering what makes my design studio different and whether my services & products really help create a space to fall in love with and feel good in. I invite you to read the kind words shared by my clients because they are the best testament to my work and passion. 

Clientele & project profiles range:

  • in realm (commercial, residential, healthcare)
  • in scope (from master planning to refreshing of a balcony)
  • in garden skills (from the green thumb to the novice)
  • in budgets and time (phasing or immediate installation);
  • in age groups (single-ready-to-mingle, family, older adult wishing to age-in-place, property owners, investment developers, HOA’s);
  • in ability (accommodating for all needs).

Shall we create something beautiful and beneficial?

Let’s get started!

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