Mullein Designs is a full service design studio, working with a broad range of design styles, plant palettes, and hardscape features. Since 2006, Mullein Designs has worked closely with clients to create enduring outdoor spaces that meet their unique needs and desires. We pay careful attention to the specifics of each site, to create the most impactful design possible for your budget. In 2019, Mullein Designs was awarded the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Gold Medal Award for Landscape Design.


Nina Mullen is a Landscape Designer and the Principal of Mullein Designs. She brings her own highly developed sense of aesthetics and extensive international travel experience to each project and enjoys working with space, hardscape materials such as stone and metal, and an extensive palette of plants, lighting, and garden art. Nina earned a degree in Landscape Architecture from Merritt College as well as certificates in Horticulture, Landscape Design, and Construction. She is a member of the APLD and is a Bay Friendly Qualified Landscape Professional.

Prior to her career as a landscape designer, Nina co-founded the Center for Digital Storytelling, and now incorporates this passion for storytelling into her work, integrating concepts of narrative, theme, and impactful emotions into her designs. She has also studied mosaic art and brings her background in fine arts, education, and social change to the interdisciplinary art of Landscape Design.

Leslie Gray is a Project Manager at Mullein Designs. After an earlier career in public health, Leslie decided to pursue her interest in garden design by taking courses at Merritt College and UC Berkeley Extension. Additionally, Leslie has lived and traveled in Thailand and rural New Mexico which has contributed to her knowledge and love of plants from tropical to desert climates.

Julia Herring is an Associate Designer at Mullein Designs. Julia brings a background specializing in permaculture design and is passionate about incorporating edible and native plants into the landscape in creative ways. She is a Bay Friendly Qualified Maintenance Professional, and received her Associate Degree in Landscape Design and Construction from Merritt College in 2022. 

Eve Wheatley is an Associate Designer at Mullein Designs. She completed her Associate Degree in Landscape Architecture and Permaculture at Merritt College in 2021. Growing up in Oakland, Eve has fostered an appreciation for the cultural and botanical diversity that is unique to the Bay Area. As a designer, Eve strives to honor the ecosystems that each garden exists within and the unique goals of each client.


We were delighted to be featured in a two page spread in the November 15th edition of The Press Democrat. The article focused on a Petaluma residence with a dying lawn which badly needed a makeover. The homeowners asked us to design a waterwise garden which would be more coherent overall and provide interesting foliage and year-round color. The result is a design that showcases a variety of Mediterranean plants which bring a myriad of textures and soothing colors to the landscape.


I came home today to find a group of women stopped in front of the house, admiring the garden!! They loved the plants and the metal and the walkways and the way it all worked with the design of the house. It made my day…The garden is a gift that I appreciate daily—and now I’m learning that the neighbors do as well. Thank you!

Diane Sullivan

Nina turned a small depressing front yard into a vibrant, colorful garden with multiple uses: a patio and seating area for adults, a playground for children, a dry habitat for butterflies, birds and bees. This was no small feat. Her knowledge of plants (water attractors) is extensive. She knows and has worked with local contractors, and is knowledgable about how and when to cut costs. Her insight into how gardens are used and constructed is deep and wide. She was onsite with contractors, making sure they understood what was needed. She has imaginative and wonderful ideas, and a lot of useful experience making gardens places of beauty and life. I recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone wanting to improve their garden and life.

Gretchen Carlson

I often think of you when I am in my front garden and it is unfolding over the years in such a lovely way. I still love the choices you made for us!

Robin Beringer

Nina was great to work with…she is very personable and is an excellent listener who was able to translate what we wanted into the final design of our garden project.  What we enjoyed most (besides the final result!) was the way she guided us throughout the project from the initial design to the last plantings in a way that leveraged her expertise but always kept our likes and needs in mind. She even helped us find a contractor that was right for our budget and we were very happy with the end result! 

Anne and Ted Ira

We love our garden and it receives so many compliments. We also enjoy how wild animals, birds, cats, and dogs drink from the stone water feature. Plus, we have very cute twin toddler neighbors who love to run around in there. I think your work has brought pleasure to many!!

Lynne Mundell

Mullein Designs beautifully provided much needed integration between two Victorian buildings via landscaping. They introduced to Robert Cruikshank who capably installed the masonry and the planting services. Mullein and Cruikshank worked together in seamless fashion. They were a pleasure to deal with on many different levels. The garden, as designed, is warm, inviting and charming. We are all thrilled.

Jim Blume