Frequently Asked Questions

Please reach out to if you have further questions.

Are there any other costs for COGdesign’s services?

No, but there are obligations. COGdesign requests in-kind support from clients such as publicity through any traditional press/radio opportunities regarding the project; COG requests proper credit be given when the project is mentioned or promoted in the organization’s newsletters and on social media. We also ask that if the client has a meeting space we be permitted to use it for project/community meetings. If fund-raising is underway, COGdesign encourages clients to include a ‘fee-for-services’ line item in the budget, payable to COGdesign.

What kind of assistance does COGdesign provide for groups and organizations?

COGdesign matches professional landscape design practitioners (and sometimes advanced students), who volunteer their services, with community groups who apply to us. The COGdesign volunteer team facilitates with the community an open and inclusive, three-stage design process. COGdesign services usually include:

    • a site analysis
    • a design plan for the site
    • a plant list
    • maintenance recommendations
    • a cost estimate

COGdesign does not install the design; rather, we provide concept design plans which community groups can use to facilitate fundraising. In some cases, COG provides plans for landscapers (paid and/or volunteer) to use. And in some cases the designers for the project are hired by the client to complete construction drawings and see the project through construction.

Which organizations qualify for COGdesign assistance?

Any community-based group or organization that owns, or is responsible for, an outdoor space in need of design services and lacks the resources to hire landscape architects/designers, is eligible to be a COGdesign client. COGdesign has served community gardens, schools, churches, after school programs, affordable-housing complexes, museums, hospitals, libraries and parks. For private residential projects or organizations with secured funds, COGdesign can make appropriate referrals.

How can my organization obtain services from COGdesign?

Contact COGdesign’s Executive Director via email at and explain your group’s needs. If  COGdesign can help, you’ll be asked to complete an application form. The COGdesign project cycle begins in the Fall each year. COG responds to applications as promptly as possible.

What else does the client group have to do?

COGdesign clients are expected to fulfill certain responsibilities to produce a successful landscape design development process. These may include:

  • Providing the designer as much information as possible about the site, its history and surroundings, and helping the designer make contact with local officials and decision-makers
  • Negotiating a Letter of Agreement with the designer
  • Establishing a meeting schedule with the designer and inviting the neighborhood in for design meetings
  • Identifying a person or small committee to work with the designer throughout the process
  • Setting up a mechanism within the group for making decisions and giving preliminary and final approval of the design
  • Completing a brief evaluation for COGdesign once the design project is completed
  • Fulfilling your in-kind commitment to COGdesign

How long does the design process take?

The time can range from 6 weeks to 6 months or longer. How long it takes depends partly on how big or complex the design project is and partly on how well the client group assists the designer.

What happens after the design is done? Can COGdesign help us get the landscape built?

We encourage community groups to begin fundraising mechanisms like grant applications, crowd-funding or members’ appeals before starting a design project. Patronicity is a crowd granting nonprofit which provides a platform in which to raise funds which they then match up to $25,000. A couple of COGdesign projects have recently received funding through Patronicity: Healy Field/Roslindale, GreenRoots/Chelsea, Peabody Square/Dorchester. COG designers provide a cost estimate for installing the design and can make suggestions for sources of materials and funds, but they rarely take part in actual fundraising. The designer may be willing to contract with the client to help oversee the installation after the design project is complete. Contact the Executive Director about appropriate grant opportunities.