Laura Hartman and her firm Fernau & Hartman have worked with San Francisco Botanical Garden over a period of more than 20 years. Initially, Laura led the creation of the Garden’s master plan, and then, turned to implementing it, focusing principally on developing the Garden’s first permanent nursery, the Center for Sustainable Gardening. 

As Executive Director of San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, I had the opportunity to work closely with Laura throughout my tenure, from the spring of 2011 through February 2018. I am pleased to submit this reference in my individual capacity, addressing the nearly seven years we worked together. 

Laura and her team designed a beautiful project that could meet the Garden’s needs and make best use of the site, all within a design aesthetic that emphasized simplicity, functionality, sustainability and alignment with nature. In her role as lead architect, she participated in all phases of the project’s readiness for construction, from design through the environmental review, entitlements, and permitting phases, including the hiring of the general contractor and value engineering. At every step along the way, the documents she produced, the presentations she made, and the advice and answers she gave were of the highest quality. 

Laura was an outstanding partner in advancing the project and serving her client’s best interests. She was accessible to me, to staff and the Society’s board of trustees, and to City officials and donors. She asks the right questions. She is able to listen, understand, balance competing needs, and address design issues creatively, pragmatically and always with integrity. I would happily work with her again. 

— Sue Ann L. Schiff , Former Executive Director of San Francisco Botanical Garden Society