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Lou Penning


Lou founded Lou Penning Landscapes in 1988, prior to that he was the head gardener at Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

Lou graduated from Sonoma State University where he studied water quality management. Lou loves designing, installing and maintaining gardens that his clients will enjoy for a lifetime.

Lou is an Irrigation Designer and an Irrigation Auditor certified by the International Irrigation Association. Lou has lived in Napa since he was 5 years old and has a daughter in addition to his son, Ben. Lou lives in Napa with his wife, Julie.

Benjamin Penning


Benjamin is the second generation of the family to lead the maintenance and installation divisions. After graduating from San Diego State University, he worked as an Account Manager for a large landscaping company in San Diego.

Benjamin loves working closely with all clients to help bring their outdoor spaces alive. Training and coaching employees is also an important part of his job responsibilities.

Great landscapes start with great people and Benjamin spends lots of his time working closely with all members of the Lou Penning Landscapes team. He is Bay Friendly Certified and Landscape Industry Certified.

Wendy Carter Jordan

Bookkeeper / Office Manager

Wendy brings lots of positive energy when she enters a room. With 19 years experience working as a Bookkeeper / Office Manager in the home services industry she brings the expertise needed to manage our books and office. Her great experience and a terrific attitude make Wendy a wonderful addition to our team.

Susan Fagles

Administrative Assistant

Susan is one of our longest tenured employees. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Mathematics. Moving to Napa in 1991, she started as a part time bookkeeper when the company was just starting out and only had a few employees. She has grown along with the company taking on more responsibility managing the office and applying her excellent bookkeeping skills to our growing company.

Emmanuel Donval

Installation Account Manager / Landscape Architect

Shortly after graduation from the School of Landscape Architecture of Bordeaux, France, he came and never left the Bay Area. In addition to over 15 years of Landscape design and construction experience he brings a fun, passionate energy into the office and on all of our job sites. He loves working collaboratively with clients their gardens and outdoor spaces. He has lived in Napa since 2005 and has shown his personal garden in several tours including Master Gardeners garden tour, Bay Friendly Garden Tour and the Pacific Horticultural magazine tour. Emmanuel is a Landscape Architect of the State of California.

Robert Newburger

Landscape Architect / Installation Account Manager

Robert brings a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for working with clients, their gardens, and outdoor spaces. After 20 years of studying and practicing landscape architecture in Southern California he has joined the Lou Penning team. Robert graduated from UCLA with a certificate in landscape architecture and became a Landscape Architect in 2014. Over the past 8 years he had his own private practice and prior to that he worked in several well-known architecture and landscape architecture offices in southern California. You might recognize the New Orleans accent; he grew up in the bayous around the city! He enjoys the outdoors and discovering new plants to use in his gardens.

Katy Kabbe

Maintenance Account Manager / Landscape Architect

Katy's love of beautiful, environmentally friendly landscapes brought her to Napa. She is dedicated to designing and maintaining beautiful spaces using practices and materials that are kind to our local environment, staff and clients. Katy is a graduate of UC Berkeley and gained lots of great landscape experience while working as a landscape architect for the USDA, Forest Service. She managed designated wilderness areas, national monuments, wild and scenic rivers, trails, recreation areas and planning for National Forests and Monuments. Katy is passionate about ecological stewardship of our forests, streams and wildlife habitat and creating sustainable landscapes that cultivate joy and relaxation. She loves spending time outdoors, is an avid fly fisherman and mother to three young kids.

Ali White

Maintenance Account Manager

Ali comes to us with a passion for and appreciation of plants and beautiful landscapes. She joins our team with 18 years of garden center management, estate garden management, and a double major in Plant Science and Biology from UC Santa Cruz. Ali is dedicated to cultivating close relationships with the gardens and clients she works with. She collaborates with her team to elevate gardens to their full potential all while being mindful of environmental stewardship and sustainable horticultural practices. Ali values education and strives to expand her knowledge of plants and landscapes to better serve clients and their gardens.

Ali lives in Napa with her twin daughters. She spends her free time touring botanical gardens, at the beach, hiking, and engaging in meaningful time with friends and family. Ali loves to garden and hopes to pass on this passion to her daughters.

Sha-Khan Starks

Maintenance/ Enhancement Account Manager

Sha-Khan’s love for the landscape was fostered in the prolific public gardens of the eastern seaboard where he was raised. The interest grew into a full-fledged passion for the landscape after settling in the Bay Area nearly thirty years ago. The vast flora amenable to the Bay’s mild climate is ideal for the outdoor enthusiast.

After studying landscape architecture at UC Berkeley, Sha-Khan owned and operated a landscape design and build firm specializing in bio-friendly landscapes. There he cultivated a passion for implementation that rivals his love of design, compelling him to become a landscape contractor. Combining his experience in the field with his penchant for customer satisfaction, Sha-Khan works diligently to create landscapes that are environmentally sustainable and beautiful.

Rodrigo Cervantes

Maintenance Foreman

After many years working on our maintenance crews, Rodrigo was promoted to Maintenance Foreman. Since 2008, Rodrigo has been beautifully maintaining gardens for Lou Penning Landscapes and in 2015 he was promoted to a leadership role as foreman. Rodrigo is a great leader and efficiently maintains gardens large and small. Clients and co-workers all appreciate his strong work ethic and attention to detail.

Jorge Ortega Mejia

Maintenance Foreman

We have seen Jorge grow and learn so much since he started with us. He has been passionate about gardening from day one and we are very happy to have him lead one of our great maintenance crews! Jorge loves playing music in his Mariachi band with another one of our employees. Jorge lives with his wife in American Canyon.

Juan Vargas

Construction Foreman

Juan was Lou's very first employee, starting with the company back in 1988. Over the years he has become excellent at carpentry, landscape lighting, irrigation systems, masonry and all other aspects of landscape construction. Juan's extensive knowledge and experience installing landscapes makes him incredibly efficient. Just when you think something can't be done or you think it will take too long, Juan has a way of figuring out the problem and executing to perfection. Juan lives in Napa with his wife and kids.

Joseph Velasco

Maintenance Supervisor

Joe was Born and raised in St. Helena and he has worked in the landscape industry his whole career. But what makes Joe a really great fit for our company and clients is the way he works with our crews. Joe is a great leader, he takes the initiative when it comes to supporting our maintenance field staff. He does a great job training, hiring and making our field operations run smoothly so there is never a drop in the quality to our service to our clients. We are very happy to have Joe on our team!

Cesar Rafael

Maintenance Foreman

Cesar has done great work for us in every position he has taken on with our company. We are lucky to have a well rounded, hard working guy with an appetite for knowledge. He has done great construction work, irrigation work and has settled in very well as one of our great maintenance leaders. He is passionate about his job and makes sure he practices the correct horticulture techniques. Cesar lives in Napa with his wife and two kids.

Margarito Chavez

Enhancement Foreman

It's easy to see why Margarito is a great Enhancement Foreman. He brings a great attitude and a passion for landscaping to every job site. Margarito comes to work every day with a smile on his face, ready to tackle the projects of the day, weather it's a small planting job, new mulch or a larger multi-day project. Margarito works closely with the team to bring the beauty out of your landscape.

Gerardo Lopez

Irrigation Technician

Gerardo brings his positive energy wherever he goes. Starting at 7am for our morning stretch, Gerardo is ready for work, shaking hands and lending a hand to help co-workers. Gerardo works hard and efficiently to improve all of our client's irrigation systems.

Carlos Tiburcio

Irrigation Technician

Carlos started as a hard working construction (install) laborer. It didn't take long before he earned the opportunity to grow and learn about irrigation. Carlos puts an incredible amount of pride in the work he does. Our clients are impressed by his workmanship and efficiency. Carlos has one amazing baby boy and a wonderful wife. His hobbies are fishing, spending time with family and learning about new irrigation products.

Gemme Vonknopka

Vegetable Gardener

We are very fortunate to have Gemme on our team to care for our vegetable gardens. Her dedication to organic vegetable gardens has improved each one of the gardens she meticulously maintains. Not only do these gardens produce an abundance of fresh produce, they are also beautiful! Gemme was the full time gardener at Mustard's Grill and has spent over a decade planting, maintaining and harvesting produce for Napa Valley clients.

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