Michelle Comeau is a landscape designer and licensed landscape contractor, who pretty much grew up in the garden and feels most at home there, still. While her training was important, most essential to her work has been her passion, her purpose, her perspective, and her understanding that the environment has the final say. More fully, her landscape designs are driven by the environment, the architecture of the home, and her clients’ needs and expectations. She listens carefully to each.
Comeau Design considers every new project an opportunity and a challenge to design a site-specific landscape that will work best with the environment in terms of topography, soil conditions, exposure, views, access, wind and deer. She endeavors to engage her clients, encouraging you to come out into the garden, inspired to create a lifestyle around the landscape. Carefully planned combinations of plants and landscaping can yield a unique and elegant garden that will provide stability and balance within a natural setting. Michelle wants her work to be beautiful, interesting, inspiring, amusing or whatever aligns with her clients’ sensibilities.
Michelle began her business during the difficult drought years of 1976-1977. She learned the value of water-conserving planting, and that gardens can still have color throughout the year without excessive use of annuals or parched plants. During nearly 40 years since the inception of Comeau Design, Michelle has come to appreciate and specialize in low-maintenance, drought-resistant, yet colorful landscapes with an emphasis on native plantings, as well as designs of a more traditional, classic style.
Michelle’s award-winning work has appeared frequently in Sunset Magazine. She also worked closely with Sunset as a consultant in rewriting the best-selling Completely Revised and Updated Sunset Western Garden Book.
In 2001, Michelle was invited to participate in a Horticultural Delegation to China, and spent three weeks touring the botanical gardens from Beijing and Shanghai to the subtropical jungles of Xiashuanbanna. This further influenced and expanded her sense of design. “The garden has so much to teach us,” she says.
Michelle served five years as vice president and program chair for the Monterey Peninsula Landscape Gardeners Association. Writing a column on Garden Maintenance for Professionals, she was recognized for outstanding service in 1988. She was appointed to the executive Committee for the First Central Coast Garden Show, a successful benefit sponsored by Friends of Hospice. Michelle’s other philanthropic endeavors include overseeing the renovation of the garden at the Old Whaling Station, and organizing a Junior League planting project for Natividad Hospital. She served on the advisory council for the first Pebble Beach Garden Show, co-sponsored by Garden Design Magazine, and the Carmel Garden Show, judging the demonstration gardens as well as designing the layout of those gardens. In 2006 Comeau Design was challenged to design the Median Strips along Ocean Ave in Carmel-by-the-Sea using California native species only. Most recently, Michelle was selected by the Carmel Garden Club to redesign the gardens of City Hall.
“The garden is never done. It is an evolution. Fortunately, so are we.”
‒ Michelle Comeau