To Whom It May Concern:

It is a pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for Karen Boness. I hired Karen on an hourly basis to provide me a landscape plan for my backyard which is located on a slope. I informed her I had a limited budget. She gave a ball park estimate of the hours needed to provide a design and oversee the two landscape workers I had for the project. She came up with a beautiful design which included a Buddha garden to the side of my house. I took care of some of the details like ordering the soil and shredded back she recommended. She had in excess of 200 plants delivered and spent a minimum amount of time instructing my workers in the placement and planting of the plants. The project was huge success with the cost a little less than her original ballpark estimate.

 Karen is a delight to work with. She has a vast knowledge of plants. She has the eye for sustainable design. The way she arranged the plants, the variety of plants, and the coordination of blooming periods created a landscape work of art that I will enjoy for many years. I give my highest recommendation to Wild Willow and Karen Boness.


 Larry Haenel – Santa Rosa


I am responsible for the grounds at Dominican University of California, in San Rafael. I was looking for a designer to help give a new design to a failed landscape. The area is around a Victorian house built in late1800’s.The house was recently remodeled and professionally landscaped. I was “consulted” but was not listened to.  Almost everything in the garden was eaten by the local deer. After two years I was asked to redo the landscape. I wanted to bring in someone with fresh eyes to see the area and to bring in a fresh vision. I have been working the landscape at Dominican for the past 20 years. I wanted this landscape to stand out from the rest of campus, yet at the same time to complement the surrounding area.

I found Karen when she was giving a presentation on Permaculture Gardening. I liked her process and her person. We started with a consultation, a walk through the grounds of the university and a walk around the house.

Karen heard my ideas and expanded on them. She heard my concerns and we never approached near them again. The process was amazing. When Karen submitted the plant list, I was amazed that I could not find a single plant to take off. Working with Karen got my own creativity moving again. When I suggested a change, she accepted them with a very positive and professional attitude, or she explained why she would rather keep to the original plan. Karen made me feel like we were a team. We worked collaboratively on all aspects of the design. She understood my budget restraints and gave me a product that now I am currently in the process of installing. Karen fulfilled the goals I set out and I am very excited for the community to see this new garden envisioned by an artist, a gardener, a new friend.

I look forward to collaborating with Karen in the future as I continue to rework the beautiful grounds at Dominican.

Michael Henkes – Associate Director Facility Services – Dominican University of California

Click here to see photos of this project.



On the recommendation of a friend/contractor, in 2011 I hired Karen Boness of Wild Willow to help restore and redesign the terraced landscaping of my recently purchased Mediterranean home in San Rafael.  This fairly extensive garden and landscaping has been a neighborhood showpiece since the home, once described in a newspaper article as “The Finest Home in Marin”, was built in the 1930’s. But the garden had been neglected and needed a major facelift. 

Working within the constraints of a limited budget, the need to maintain consistency with the already set style, my own taste and preferences and a variety of soil/shade/water conditions, Karen presented me with a range of options.  Each was carefully thought out and illustrated such that I clearly understood my choices and associated costs.  From her options and recommendations, we picked a landscape plan that fit within my budget, used a wide variety of plants (many native) and seemed to intelligently and artfully restore the garden to its former glory.  She then worked closely with my gardener, as well as an arborist she recommended, to do the work.  The results were fabulous—more than I had envisioned.  She also recommended and helped acquire several gorgeous large pots and a small statue to add a finishing touch.  I am thrilled with the results and so are my neighbors and friends.  I continue to rely on Karen to advise my gardener and monitor the growth of the many beautiful plants, grasses and other features of the landscaping.  It is truly a joy to walk through the garden or even to just look out my window at the beautiful flowers.

The bottom line is that I recommend Karen and Wild Willow without reservation to anyone in need of professional landscape advice and services.  She is an experienced professional with an artist’s sense of color and form, a botanist’s sense of what plants need to flourish and a good friend’s attention to the needs of her clients.  She is organized, works well with others (such as my gardener) and keeps her commitments. 

 Chris E.  – San Rafael, CA


 Karen Boness of Wild Willow designed both front and back garden areas for my home in Redwood City.  My husband and I had taken a permaculture workshop with her and were very impressed with the depth of her knowledge as well as her passion for her work.   I’ve learned a tremendous amount working with her for she teaches freely and gracefully.  Karen spent several hours at our home and in consultation with us, and then submitted a beautiful drawing of her plan with step by step instructions for installing it.  Our backyard had been completely denuded with weed killers and Karen instructed us on how to get the soil tested and then gave us a plan for sheet mulching which we carried out with the help of friends.  In time, the sheet mulching brought the earth back to life, teeming with worms and mushrooms!  I had a local landscape company install the hardscape, the drip irrigation system and put in the fruit trees, and my husband and I did the rest.  We have a mix of edibles and perennials that is beautiful and nourishing.  Everyone who has come to see our garden marvels at the beauty of the design.   It was a pleasure working with Karen and I love the ever-growing “fruits” of her design. 

      Helen – Redwood City, CA

Click here to see photos of this project.


Karen is both an artist and an engineer combining her eye for beauty with careful measurement and planning. Her work is so thorough including identifying the plants I wanted and then helping me to find them. She is truly a joy to learn from and work with.

Jeanne-Marie Manning
Santa Rosa, CA


Karen, I love my permaculture garden. I am new to gardening and your help has been invaluable. It feels like a work of art that not only delights and feeds me, but also other life; worms, birds, bees, butterflies! It is so alive! It is a miniature sanctuary! Your help in the design and in delivering the plants was very generous…and your advice over the phone when I have questions gives me confidence in areas where I have no experience. I appreciate it very much and my delightful garden thrives because of you. Thank you so much!

Sandra Campbell
Santa Rosa, CA


Wild Willow has designed two different sites for me, each with different environments and uses: a small Pacific Heights backyard in San Francisco, and a garden and landscaping for a country home in an oak grove. She also provides ongoing landscape consulting services for a large commercial setting, covering 7 acres. I am delighted with each landscaping effect, not only when it was installed, but also how it has matured. Karen is amenable to suggestions from the client, but holds to her convictions about design elements and appropriate planting. She is imaginative and conscientious, following up on plants which don’t live up to her expectations. I recommend Wild Willow Landscape Design with enthusiasm.

Rachael Balyeat
San Francisco, CA


Karen Boness really knows her stuff. I’ve used her twice to help me choose plants for my acre; once to work on the perimeter and outer regions and the second time to help with new landscaping around the house after a new deck was built. Both times I was simply amazed at her extensive knowledge of what grows well in Sonoma County without a lot of fuss and water, and what grows best in each microclimate. Karen listened well to my dreams and preferences and ran with them, making suggestions that delighted me. She also told me the best places to purchase each tree or shrub and I easily located everything before the weekend was over! What a lot of time she saved me! I didn’t have to pore over catalogs or spend hours in nurseries, agonizing over what to plant. I’m sure I would have made many costly errors on my own and wasted money on plants that couldn’t make it. Karen is warm and caring to work with. I’ve recommended her to many of my friends and wouldn’t hesitate to call on her again!

Carla Hines
Santa Rosa, CA