Design Process

Our landscape architectural services are organized around the process of understanding the client’s wishes and needs, overlaid with an inclusive analysis of the site conditions, architecture, design parameters and the end goals for the project. We approach each project with fresh eyes and open ears, allowing for a deep, foundational understanding of the influencing factors. With each step in the process, we are building on an accumulated knowledge base, inspired by a deep understanding of the site and open communication with the owner, design team and builders.

We engage a design process rooted in a thorough understanding of the site and active collaboration with the owner and design team. The process begins by exploring and documenting the natural and contextual influences that will lay the foundation for the landscape design to come. While each site is unique, the primary influences typically include views, climate and aspect, site hydrology (stormwater), soil, existing vegetation, topography, and historical influences. We interpret all of these factors, along with the owner’s program and architecture, to inform innovative and sustainable design solutions.

Experience + Vision

Michael Bliss is the owner and principal designer of B|LA. With over 20 years of professional experience designing award winning landscapes, Michael brings a well-rounded and intuitive design understanding to every project. A California native, Michael studied at the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he received the Award of Merit for excellence in the study of Landscape Architecture.

Michael enjoyed his tenure while with some of the Bay Area’s most notable design firms. As Senior Designer and Principal with renown landscape designer Bernard Trainor, he directed all aspects of design, management and construction administration for award winning and published estate landscapes for over 10 years. During years of collaboration with Chris Jacobson, a fourth-generation California horticulturist, Michael honed his skills in planting design and theories of the “New California Garden”, a movement that combines environmentalism, naturalization and art.

As a California licensed Landscape Architect, Michael prides himself on being a well balanced collaborator, practicing impeccable communication with project teams and exceeding client expectations with the delivery of excellent service and innovative design solutions.


Studio Manager

Owen began his professional practice with KMCM and FRC design studio, where he focused on high-end residential landscape and public landscape projects.


Lily joined B|LA in 2018 as a landscape designer after completing a masters degrees in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin.

Administrative Coordinator and Project Field Manager

Cassie grew up in the hills of Carmel Valley, cultivating a love of the outdoors from an early age. She also learned about fine craftsmanship from her father who built homes in the Monterey area for over 30 years.