Our Story

About Lucinda O’Halloran

My love for gardening just might be genetic—my maternal grandfather had an organic farm, and my father had a beautiful garden of his own. And because spending time in the garden meant I got to hang out with my dad, as a little girl I helped with everything from planting to building ponds to painting fences.

Once I had my own yard, I drove the neighbors crazy with my planting and tending! I designed gardens for my family and friends. And in 1985, while standing in my back yard, I dreamed about doing this for a living.


Lucinda in a Hat

Then, reality hit me: I was living in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the growing season is about three months long. I’d probably have to drive a snow plow during the winter months! That wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

Then I moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where the change of scenery (and climate) inspired me to finally make my professional leap in 1993. I enrolled in an “Introduction to Horticulture” class at the local community college—and I knew I had made the right choice, because I was absolutely enthralled by one of the first lectures on soil science.

“If I’m this interested in a lecture on dirt,” I thought, “I think this is it!” I transitioned out of my job in human resources, sold my little house and went to school full-time while working various part-time gigs in the green industry.

After about a year of study, the Pacific Northwest beckoned. I packed up my Australian Shepard, Merlin, and drove with a friend to Whidbey Island, where I lived while earning my degree in Landscape Design at Edmonds Community College and working for a commercial landscape design/build firm.

That’s also when I started Spirit Garden Design, although I continued to work for residential design/build firms for several years, because I wanted to gain more knowledge and experience before going out on my own. Besides, it was a lot of fun!

Today, 20 years after creating my company, Spirit Garden Design is thriving—and my love for gardens is stronger than ever. I’ve designed portions of Bradner Gardens Park in south Seattle and six different gardens for the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat Program. I even became a certified horticulturalist through the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association so I could share my love of gardening with others through coaching.

I love being involved in the community, too: I’ve served on the boards for Seattle Tilth and the Seattle Japanese Garden, and I support various nonprofits in the Seattle area. When I’m not gardening or designing, I enjoy visiting museums and galleries, cooking and baking with my niece and reading.

I firmly believe that designing beautiful outdoor places and showing people how to care for them is more than just a job—it’s what I was born to do.

Seward Park bench