COGdesign provides many services to community groups in eastern Massachusetts that do not have the funds to pay for professional landscape design.
When you contact COGdesign about your project, the Executive Director will call you to review your project. If it meets COGdesign’s project criteria, the Executive Director will schedule an initial site consultation. COGdesign’s Project Chair, the Executive Director, and a COGdesign board member will visit the site with you to discuss your ideas, potential challenges, and a reasonable timeline.
If your site is selected as a COGdesign project, COGdesign will provide a “Project Shepherd” to manage your relationship with volunteer designers. Project Shepherds are essentially project managers, but they also manage the volunteer designers’ relationship with community clients—both ensuring that the community is fully engaged in the design process, and that the designers get the information and support they need to complete the design. Project Shepherds ask questions about budgets, check to make sure that community meetings are scheduled, and do many, many other tasks to make sure the experience is successful for clients and designers alike.
COGdesign advertises new projects in social media, on the COGdesign web site, and in special mailings to COGdesign supporters, designers, design firms, and colleges and universities offering landscape design degrees. The COGdesign board and Executive Director review applications to select designers who have the experience and enthusiasm for a clients’ project.
COGdesign assigns a team of 2-3 designers to a project. We typically pair an experienced designer with one or more recent graduates. Clients get to access senior designers’ deep knowledge of landscape work—including construction issues and cost estimates—and the new designers’ fresh ideas and energy. The young designers gain experience working with community clients, and the experienced designers meet potential professional partners. Everyone wins.
Once designers are selected, they come to the project site to see the landscape and to meet the community. COGdesign volunteer designers commonly visit a site at least four times: once to view the site, and three times to hear the community’s ideas for the project, hear reactions to initial design concepts, and to present final plans for the site.
In addition to the community meetings, COGdesign volunteers present their work at one of COGdesign’s periodic Design Reviews. Professional designers who are not involved with the project critique the plans before the final version is presented to the community.
At the end of the process, clients receive a landscape design plan including planting lists, like this plan for the Codman Academy playground, or this plan for the Natick Housing Authority. These plans show how the site will be used, and give supporters a concrete image of what can be done with the land. Clients use COGdesign plans for fundraising, grant applications, and recruit volunteers. They are the spark which bring landscape projects to life.
Download an application
COGdesign clients include schools, neighborhood parks, Friends groups, churches, municipal and housing agencies, historic sites, community gardens, and other community groups. See our Projects page for past projects
Benefits of working with COGdesign include:
- Quality design by highly motivated designers
- Low costs for public/community projects with limited budgets
- A design process that fosters design awareness and encourages community participation
- Individualized problem solving and design development
- Networking with COGdesign’s design professionals and green industry colleagues
To become a COGdesign client, contact us directly by phone or email.
You will be asked to complete a brief client application and submit photos and any other material about the site such as maps and survey plans.
If your project satisfies COGdesign’s requirements (see the Client FAQ), you will be asked to sign a Waiver & Release and pay an application fee of $250 to cover administrative procedures.
Please note that COGdesign does not provide services to individual residential clients. For private residential design services, please visit the New England Landscape Design and History Association.