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Second Nature Design’s goal is growing your vision into the landscape of your dreams. To do so we work collaboratively, draw from strong horticultural and art backgrounds. We become familiar enough with your site to understand what it can support. Whenever appropriate, we restore native plant communities, introduce home micro-farms, encourage best management practices, and suggest repurposed/up- re -cycled materials.

  • Why restore native plant communities?

Remember, the City was once the open space. Restoring urban pockets of land with native and climate appropriate plants helps ensure growing success, low maintenance, and free entertainment from flying friends. Are you located in sand or clay soil? Below are examples of plants suited for either condition, note how some are adapted to both.

Sandy Soil Plants: Catalina ironwood tree, lemonade berry, toyons, coyote brushes, salvias, many fescues, sticky monkey flowers, beach strawberries, buckwheats, California poppies.

Heavier Soil Plants: coast silk tassels, holly leaf cherries, toyons, flowering currants, coffee berries, many fescues, Dutchman’s pipe vines, irises, deer ferns, yarrows.

  • What is a Home Micro-farm?

You can't get more local than picking fruit and vegetables from your own garden. It’s a great way to interest kids in healthy eating, to meet your neighbors and tune in to the seasons. We offer design ideas for raised beds in all shapes and materials for filling with organic soils, seeds and starts. We even harvest and cook them for you if you wish. Alma was a chef for many years…

  • What are best management practices?

Best Management Practices (BMPs) help prevent or reduce the transfer of sediment, pesticides, and other pollutants from the land to surface or ground water. Examples of BMPs include protecting trees, removing storing, and reusing topsoil during construction projects. When painting wash brushes into a drain where toxins are sorted by the sewer plant and not in the garden.

  • Why repurpose/upcycle/recycle materials?

Reusing materials from your site lends an established look, lightens the landfill load, and provides a link with the property's history, plus it is fun and adds a personal touch. When a rotten deck needs replacing, transform the good boards into a potting table or storage box. If your concrete patio is cracked, break it into chunks and reuse the pieces for a patio or pathway. Turn an old colander into a feature in your home micro-farm.

ABOUT Alma Hecht, APLD

Alma founded Second Nature Design—sustainable landscapes in 1997 to create ecologically sound and artful gardens. Her background in fine arts, master’s degree in sustainable design and years as a Certified Arborist with ISA infuse her designs every step of the way.

Alma’s love of working with clients on private gardens is equal to her joy with community- based projects whether an estate or postage stamp property, school pocket park garden or woodland restoration. Examples of her projects, talks, and publications are detailed in the “press” section.

“I love what I do: cultivating dreams, upcycling, fabricating art, reintroducing native plants and welcoming appropriate immigrant horticultures. I find the details are as essential as the big pictures, so whenever possible I stay hands-on while the gardens evolve, pruning the trees, harvesting the fruits/flowers, adding flourishes. Making sure everything is healthy, beautiful and staying in touch with my clients.” -- Alma


I am honored to have many publications and concerned parties writing about and photographing Second Nature Design's gardens. Occasionally the information is imprecise. For example, we only provide conceptual designs for hardscape elements, acting as liaison to the licensed service providers who do the actual work according to all legal specifications. References to our actually building hardscape elements are incorrect. And most importantly as was pointed out by the Landscape Architects Technical Committee (LATC), the San Francisco Chronicle in its article "Green and Easy" in "On the Tour: Earthquake bungalow redo" referred to me as "Landscape architect Alma Hecht" which of course I am not. I am a Landscape Designer. You can read about the distinctions between a Landscape Architect, Landscape Designer and many other important differentiations in Services. Enjoy the articles and I look forward to making your garden the next to grace a newsstand or book collection.

2010 Diverse Elements Bring Vision to Life, Brigid Gaffikin
Special to The Examiner
April 8, 2010 2009 Home Outside:Creating the Garden you Love
Julie Moir Messervy, Tauton Press
April 17, 2009 Ditching your Lawn? Plan Replacement Carefully
Mary Ellen Hunt, Special to the Chronicle
2009 New Garden Design, Creating Private Paradises
Zahid Saradr and Marion Brenner
September 22, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle,
Home/Garden Section, “Green & Easy”
April/May 2008 Natural Home Magazine
"A Small Renaissance"
"A Conversation in the Garden with Alma Hecht"


2010 – 2006 Articles in APLD California Chapter Monthly Newsletters
Fall 2009 In the Canyon: Our Urban Forest + EcoNotes,
Glen Park News

Summer 2009 In the Canyon: The Butterflies and Eco notes
Glen Park News

Spring 2009 In the Canyon: Walks/Talks+ Our Two Buckeyes and Eco Notes
Glen Park News

Winter 2009 In The Canyon:The Oaks and Eco Notes,
Glen Park News

Fall 2008 In the Canyon: Trail Improvements and Eco Notes,
Glen Park News


2007 Best Environmental Renovation-small Home/Garden, Build It Green Tour
2007 People’s Choice Award, Runner-up, Build It Green Tour
2006 American Horticultural Society's Environmental Award,
San Francisco Flower and Garden Show
2006 Gold Medal Garden Creator's, San Francisco Flower and Garden Show
2004 Bronze Medal, Garden Creator’s Award, San Francisco Flower and Garden Show


2009 Gardening by the Square Inch
San Francisco Flower Garden Show
2009 Cool Ideas for Warming Times
San Francicso Flower Garden Show
2007 Sustainability Panel,
National Conference, Association of Professional Designers
2007 Green Is More Than a Color,
National Conference, Association of Professional Designers
2006 Environmental Design, City College of San Francisco
2006 Selling Sustainability to Clients,
Association of Professional Designers San Francisco District