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Style, Function Are Focus Of Terrain Designs Firm
WIB - landscape
Sitting on the patio in a yard she designed on Campbell Road in Escalon, Heather Vaughn Quaschnick shows a color exhibit for a landscape design plan she has prepared for a client in the Lodi area. A 1999 Escalon High School graduate, she now focuses on landscape architecture and ornamental horticulture through her firm, Terrain Designs. - photo by Photo By Marg Jackson

Making the most of the space you have – helping you create your own personal oasis – is the goal for Heather Vaughn Quaschnick.

The 1999 Escalon High School graduate is principal designer for Terrain Designs and studied landscape architecture and ornamental horticulture in college, graduating from Modesto Junior College in 2002. Now, she is staying busy with projects from San Jose to the Bay Area to the Central Valley.

She worked for Green Thumb Landscape in Escalon under the tutelage of Dave Kisst for many years before branching out on her own to form Terrain Designs in 2010.

“He taught me a lot of my beginning skills in design and installation,” Quaschnick said of Kisst.

Always one with an artistic ability, Quaschnick said she enjoys taking ideas and forming them into a plan that can help transform a simple backyard into a garden showpiece or add some dramatic flair with a gazebo or fountains, focusing on “style and function.” She also keeps in mind the relationship between the inside and outside, formulating a landscaping plan to co-exist peacefully with the architecture of the home it complements.

One of her first major projects was on Campbell Road outside Escalon, with colorful plants, flowers, a pool and patio seating area combining to provide a true ‘garden spot’ respite from the Central Valley heat. She handled the design layout of the project.

“For the landscape planting plan, we used some unique plants, we also utilized some special lighting,” she explained.

She also offers color presentations, as part of a more formal approach in working with some clients on large scale projects.

“I also do the drawings to build the landscape,” she said. “I do a full building plan and that enables the people to install it.”

Quaschnick said she enjoys staying involved with the process, working cooperatively with the actual landscapers and construction companies to bring the project to fruition, including taking part in the walk-throughs as the project progresses.

“I like bringing them to life,” she said of her plans. “It’s really fun and not a lot of people know the extent of what I do.”

From color exhibits to preliminary designs, landscape design drawings to site consultations and preparation of construction documents, Quaschnick’s Terrain Designs covers multiple bases.

Currently, she is working cooperatively with Spring Creek Pool and Spa in Ripon on a number of projects.

“I work a lot with the pool renovations and new pools,” she explained. “I’ve got quite a few jobs going on with them.”

Quaschnick also said she is seeing a trend toward utilizing ‘pocket places,’ smaller areas of property that people are looking to transform. Not everyone can afford an ornate patio or a new pool and spa in their backyard but many want to freshen up their property and that can be done with a new landscape layout and some ornamental touches. Helping each client decide what is right for them – aesthetically and financially – is part of what makes Quaschnick’s work both challenging and rewarding.

She is also continuing her education, going through additional training and testing with the ultimate goal of becoming a licensed landscape architect.

“I’m definitely trying to achieve it,” she said.

The Campbell Road project still ranks among one of her favorites, owned by local real estate professionals Al and Carol Caton.

“They have one of my oldest established yards, about 10 years old now, and it was one of my first larger projects,” Quaschnick said. “They love their yard; they keep it up so well, I love coming back.”

She added that having repeat clientele is also a bonus, since that means they were happy with the initial work and want her to do more with their available space.

“I’ve had jobs up into the hills, around San Andreas and a major project over in Carmel,” she said, but added she is looking to expand her service area and is actively seeking referrals and leads in the East Bay and Peninsula.

Overall, Quaschnick said, she enjoys the creativity of helping people make the most of their space and feel comfortable in it, as it brings a sense of accomplishment as well.

The company, Terrain Designs, can be found at and Quaschnick can be reached at 209-988-3137.