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Growing with Gardenette

custom garden design

There’s something rather special about creating a garden at home. From the first buds of spring to the reds and golds of autumn, a garden is an important extension of one’s home. Like most things worthwhile, they require care, planning, dedication, and according to Nora Saintz, a willingness to try something new.

Nora is the owner of Gardenette, a personalized landscape design company that gives homeowners a new way to create their outdoor oasis. Gardenette offers custom garden designs for those who want to improve their landscaping but are not sure where to start. With on-site consultations available in Western NY and virtual consultations in most areas across the country (Gardenette has clients in over 28 states), Nora and her team work closely with each homeowner to design a layout that makes each garden feel like a peaceful retreat


a learning process

“No one knows everything about gardening,” Nora clarifies. That being said, she certainly knows a lot. Before starting Gardenette in late 2019, Nora graduated with a Certificate in Landscape Design from Cornell University and is a Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional. She is a wealth of knowledge and can design down to Growing Zone 8, which is home to states like the Carolinas and Georgia.

There are obvious differences between a garden design in Western New York and somewhere outside of Atlanta, GA, but Nora points out that there may also be significant differences between your garden and your neighbor’s. “People have to be really honest with themselves,” says Nora.

From soil to sunlight to the neighborhood deer that seem ever present, Nora considers every garden design project unique with its own specific rulebook for success. Fortunately, Nora creates that rulebook for you.

“We have very little gardening experience - and Nora was able to tell us a lot about what could/should be kept, relocated or removed.” - Kate C.

garden with confidence

Nora started Gardenette so that anyone – whether a seasoned gardener or a novice with a shovel – can plant a home garden that will thrive in their space. “My entire process is set up so clients can do the installation themselves, which they love because they save money and plant with confidence.”

For her customers in Western New York, Nora starts the design journey with a home visit. She gets to know each customers’ requirements and aspirations for their garden; she examines the soil and evaluates the space as a whole. Following the home visit, Nora designs a custom garden layout, taking everything discussed into consideration.

Within two weeks, she delivers the client with an extremely detailed design packet. Each packet contains a rendering of the garden with photos of the selected plants, shrubs, and trees superimposed onto the layout, allowing the customer to visualize the garden’s future. Nora also provides a scaled blueprint for ease of installation, an illustrated plant shopping guide that includes pictures of the plants, their varieties, size, and when they bloom, and a guide for installation and maintenance. That guide covers how to plant, how often to water, and any specific pruning or maintenance instructions. With such specific plans and instructions, Gardenette designs are cost-effective, good for the environment, and importantly, attainable.

For clients living outside the Western New York region, Nora offers the same level of care and detail for garden design in a virtual setting. Her pricing is always based on the space size, which ensures consistency across the board for every client. Homeowners in any state can also go to her website,, to order a “Pick and Plant,” ready-made designs for front yards, fencing borders and even containers.

When asked what she feels most proud of in her business, Nora shares, “I believe I am bringing a really great design and landscape to people that probably wouldn’t have them otherwise, because there wasn’t an avenue to achieve that.”

planting kindness

In addition to offering custom designs for homeowners around the country, Nora and her team focus on a pro-bono project every year for businesses and organizations. Recently, she designed a very personalized, unique garden for the Ronald McDonald House in Buffalo. This year, she’s extending her reach to local bakeries and restaurants interested in beautifying their outdoor seating spaces.

Above all else, Nora loves creating opportunities for gardeners to get their hands a little dirty and create something beautiful that lasts. Her goal is to help each client’s vision become a reality. “I don’t sell plants or offer installations,” explains Nora. “My only motivation is my client’s success.” Certainly, with Gardenette, success in the garden is not far away.

tips for success

With years of experience and education in landscape and design, Nora has come to appreciate that gardening is a process of trial and error. There are many factors and variables to consider, and it is okay to make mistakes. “No one has a 100% success rate, but you can do it. You just need the right plant for the right place,” she explains. In her view, gardening is an iterative process that requires making changes along the way.

Even though some mishaps are part of the process, Nora certainly has tips that are useful for any gardener. First, she believes it is important to be realistic about what’s going on in the yard. Factors like the amount of sunlight and the presence of deer greatly impact a garden’s day-to-day health. Next, consider putting native plants in the garden, as they have few pest problems and thrive with little care. If the goal is to attract honey bees and other pollinators, pick flowers like purple coneflowers and liatris.

Nora also recommends putting plants and flowers with the longest blooming periods in beds next to high-traffic areas. This way, you are greeted with vibrant blooms on a regular basis. Gardenette’s custom designs always include something that is blooming or will produce stunning foliage. Thanks to Nora’s choice in perennial recommendations only, the beauty that grows one season will reappear in a year’s time.

Two of Nora’s staples in her own garden are hardy geranium and coreopsis, both of which bloom from the end of spring all the way through the beginning of November. Hardy geranium and coreopsis are perennial, low maintenance, and deer proof. The bright purples and pinks of the hardy geraniums compliment the sunshine yellows and stunning reds of the coreopsis – a sight to behold for months out of the year.

If you want a beautiful yard and don't mind getting a little dirt on your hands, Gardenette is the perfect solution for you.

716.508.0852 //

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