Tom Wilhite Garden Design

For the past 25 years, I have been designing private gardens and public landscapes in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve also written and designed extensively for Sunset Books, serving as a senior editor of the last three editions of the Sunset Western Garden Book and co-author of Sunset’s Big Book of Garden Designs .


After earning a Certificate in Ornamental Plants from San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum in 1996, I started Green Man Garden Design and Consultation. For the next 20 years, I split my time between designing gardens and writing / editing books on horticulture and design.

I was a member of the Founding Board of Sausalito Beautiful, a volunteer organization that is thriving today. I have worked for 10 years as Consulting Horticulturist for Sausalito, designing many of the City’s medians, and I served as chair of the Sausalito Trees and Views Committee.

In recent years, I’ve worked designing landscapes for residential, commercial, and municipal clients in the Bay Area.


I helped produce a number of garden books, including the following. Most are available from online sellers.

  1. The Sunset Western Garden Book of Landscaping (2014) – Writer
  2. The 20-Minute Gardener (2013) – Writer
  3. The Sunset Western Garden Book (2012) – Senior Editor
  4. Landscaping with Stone (2010) – Author
  5. Sunset's Western Garden Book of Edibles (2010) – Managing Editor
  6. Patio and Stone: A Sunset Design Guide (2009) – Author
  7. Sunset's Big Book of Garden Designs (2008) – Co-Author / Garden Designer
  8. The Sunset Western Garden Book (2007) – Senior Editor
  9. Sunset’s Western Landscaping Book (2005) – Senior Editor
  10. Pacific Northwest Top 10 Garden Guide (2004) – Writer / Senior Editor
  11. Reinvent Your Garden (2002) – Senior Editor / Garden Designer
  12. Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses (2002) – Senior Editor / Garden Designer
  13. The Sunset Western Garden Book (2001) – Senior Editor
  14. Low-Maintenance Gardening (1998) – Senior Editor / Garden Designer


I’m especially interested in drought-tolerant gardens, and one of my designs, installed by Rayner Landscaping in Novato, CA, won a California Landscape Contractors Association First Prize for Xeriscaping. Another specialty is deer-resistant landscaping, and one of my “Bambi-proof” designs was another CLCA award winner. I’ve also won several CLCA awards for commercial designs installed by Terra Landscape, in San Leandro, CA.