Archive for No lawn back yard

Designing a Charming Outdoor Living Space in Overlook Neighborhood for 20 Guests: Part Two

Pollinator-Friendly Garden Creates Oasis in North Portland Small City Backyard

Overlook neighborhood oasis garden includes pollinator friendly plantings.

Brachyglottis (Daisy Bush) in N.E. Portland in winter. Photo from Hilary’s front yard.

A continuation of Landscape Design in a Day’s Overlook Neighborhood design of a welcoming party garden space that comfortably seats up to 20 guests.  Part One discussed the outdoor living space design that incorporated the soft curving lines our clients wanted. Now we will discuss the low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly garden plantings wanted by our clients. Our mission was to create a back yard that didn’t scream “seating area for 20,” but rather felt inviting and lush for every day enjoyment too.

Lush and Lively Pollinator Plantings

Pollinator friendly garden flower called Aztec Pearl incorporated into Overlook neighborhood design.

Fragrant flowers grace this April flowering Mexican orange shrub The variety is called ‘Aztec Pearl’ and can be used as a shrub or small tree.

Our landscape design focuses on the integration of beautifully shaped, curved planting beds surrounding the large patio. To add color, texture, and attract pollinators, I selected a range of drought-adapted plants. These include the curvaceous burgundy bark of Howard McMinn Manzanita, the lightly fragrant blooms of Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl,’ and the striking silvery leaves of Brachyglottis (Daisy Bush). Additionally, tall sedums, colorful heather groundcover, salvia, cistus, agapanthus, and Pacific Iris contribute to the exuberant plantings.

Client Testimonial

The collaboration was excellent. The Landscape Design in Day questionnaire and packet helped us probe our desires and constraints as well as to further familiarize ourselves with our space.

Hilary was wonderful to work with! She helped brainstorm how to address our concerns and meet our goals of having a low-maintenance entertaining area that feels whimsical. The finished product is incredible!

Our space is totally transformed from an unpleasant, bumpy, muddy terrain to an inviting space with dedicated garden beds separated from walking areas & leisure areas.

We have plenty of lighting for entertaining (which includes the light from the built-in bench on the patio and icicle lights on the trees and arbor).

We really benefited from her experience and insights – like knowing how much lighting would be just the right amount, how to create flow between the distinct parts of the yard (including adding a staircase on the deck and removing a gate), and how to enhance areas of the yard that we previously considered “dead space”. This was an excellent experience that was well worth the investment!

Brian and Annie

Overlook Neighborhood.

Pollinator friendly garden plants for Overlook Neighborhood landscape design.

This ‘Howard McMinn’ Arctostaphylos is a much photographed manzanita with burgundy bark and handsome year round foliage at the XERA Garden Store in SE Portland.

The Right Landscape Design

With the right landscape design, even a small city property can be transformed into a functional and inviting outdoor oasis and a pollinator-friendly garden. The Overlook Neighborhood back yard design now offers Annie and Brian a party garden capable of comfortably seating 20 guests, all while incorporating lush plantings.  We will share after photos from their installed design later this year.

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If you’re looking to unlock the potential of your own outdoor space, reach out to Landscape Design in a Day. We can help turn your unused city back yard into a beautiful and practical extension of your lifestyle. Contact us today to bring your vision to life!

Designing a Charming Outdoor Living Space in Overlook Neighborhood for 20 Guests: Part One

Small City Living Space Designed as a Lush Outdoor Oasis in North Portland

Before picture of yard prior to transformation into outdoor living space designed for 20 guests.

BEFORE: This Overlook neighborhood back yard lawn was hard to walk on because it was so uneven and it was also a mud pit for months at a time.

Welcome to the world of landscape design, where we transform unattractive and unusable spaces into vibrant outdoor living spaces. In this blog post, we’ll explore how Landscape Design in a Day turned a lackluster back yard in the Overlook Neighborhood into a welcoming party garden that comfortably seats up to 20 guests. Get ready to be inspired by our innovative design solutions for integrating additional seating areas and lush plantings into a small city property.

Lush outdoor living space designed as oasis in Overlook Neighborhood. Sedums.

Sea foam green foliage and large compound flower heads on tall sedum at a NE Portland clients garden.

A No Lawn Back Yard was Top of their Wish List

Brian and Annie from Overlook neighborhood contacted us with some typical small city property problems in their North Portland back yard.  As we talked on the phone I learned their back yard was very uneven, hard to walk on and muddy.  Their small dog Peanut wasn’t big on grass and neither were they.  A no lawn back yard was top of their list.  They wanted drought tolerant plantings and so I knew Hilary Hutler would be the perfect designer for them.  She specializes in drought tolerant plantings and she lives close by so having an on going relationship with their designer over the years would be easy.  Let’s tag along with Hilary as she works some design magic for our clients.

Outdoor living space in Overlook neighborhood designed with California Lilac.

Bumble bee busy feeding on California Lilac, which is a low water pollinator friendly plant. with beautiful blue flowers.

Creating Usable Outdoor Living Space

When I first met Annie and Brian, we quickly realized they needed more outdoor entertaining space than the average city client. With regular gatherings of up to 20 friends, accommodating their large number of guests was a top priority. Additionally, they wanted a design that featured soft curving lines and low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly plants. Our mission was to create a back yard that didn’t scream “seating area for 20,” but rather felt inviting and lush for every day enjoyment too.

Making an Entrance

To begin the transformation, we utilized the 10-foot wide south-facing side yard, turning it into the entrance of the party garden living space. Guests are greeted by a tall gate and a whimsical flagstone path surrounded by enchanting plantings. This path leads them towards a dramatic Moon Gate, clearly indicating the entrance to the back yard party garden. Annie and Brian will also enjoy the scenic view of the Moon Gate and garden from inside their home.

Outdoor Living Landscape Design Drawing of Overlook Neighborhood Portland Backyard by Landscape Design in a DayExpanding the Gathering Spaces

The centerpiece of the design is a generous 16-foot round patio, strategically designed to maximize seating. To further optimize the use of space, we added a slim seat wall around one-third of the patio, providing built-in seating. The seat wall not only offers more seating options but also adds a touch of elegance to the overall design. With this clever addition, the patio can comfortably accommodate even larger groups.

Room to Move

To facilitate smooth movement around the property, I created a wide, curving crushed rock path that leads from the house and connects to the back patio. This path not only serves as a practical route but also becomes an additional gathering space. Its contrasting materials and attractive shape beautifully complement the large patio, creating a harmonious flow throughout the yard.

Seamless Connectivity

To enhance accessibility during large gatherings, I suggested adding an extra set of stairs off the back patio. This simple addition ensures that guests can easily come and go without feeling trapped. By making these seamless connectivity improvements, we’ve optimized the functionality of the space for maximum usability.

Contact Us

If you’re looking to unlock the potential of your own outdoor space, reach out to Landscape Design in a Day. We can help turn your unused city back yard into a beautiful and practical extension of your lifestyle. Contact us today to bring your vision to life!

Privacy Screening Landscape Design for Kerns Neighborhood Portland: Part 1

Japanese Elm Update for Portland Privacy Landscape Design

Kern neighborhood backyard privacy landscape design.

Our Privacy Tree right after we planted it in 2020.  (Zelkova serrata ‘City Sprite’ Japanese Elm)

I dropped by my clients Chris and Veronica’s Kern neighborhood back yard to get my eyes on their privacy tree, a Japanese elm called City Sprite planted 3 years ago by Landscape Design in a Day.

Japanese Elm chosen for privacy in Kern Neighborhood landscape design.

Privacy Tree Hard at Work 3 Years After Planting in Kern Neighborhood

It is lush and filling in beautifully to minimize the impact of the 3-story apartment building that looms over their small city back yard.  We had a great time designing their new back yard and I love seeing the results.

Kern Neighborhood backyard in need of privacy landscape design.

Before Privacy Tree

We placed the City Sprite Elm to provide privacy for the dining area and it’s doing a great job for us.  However, it has not been without some worry for my clients.

Beetle Damage on Privacy Screen Tree

Japanese elm is resistant to Dutch Elm Disease so we can use this tree as a long-term solution without worrying it might succumb to the disease that has caused City of Portland to remove so many mature and ginormous elm trees.  Veronica noticed a beetle eating the leaves and making lots of holes in the leaves in June.  She contacted me to enquire about whether this was a serious problem and if so, should she replace the elm?

Beetle damage to leaves of Japanese Elm, privacy tree chosen in Kern Neighborhood landscape design

Japanese Elm leaves with beetle damage.

As I am not an arborist, I make sure I know some great ones.  I talked to Honl Tree Care and sent them photos.  They agreed that the defoliation shown in the photo was not serious, were somewhat surprised that the elm beetle was feeding on the Japanese elm as this is not typical.  They are confident that her elm tree will not get Dutch elm disease.

The best course of action was to take good care of her tree with proper watering and put up with the beetle’s minor damage.  Mind you it doesn’t feel like minor damage especially in June when the beetle is munching away but by July the beetles are done and the tree is looking vigorous and downright robust in spite of the holes in the leaves.

Privacy Landscape Design in N.E. Portland

We love working with tricky city back yards and want to help you enjoy your back yard.  Most of us want some privacy to entertain friends and family, and  to use your back yard for fun activities or relaxing.  Our back yards can also help our community by providing for pollinators and creating shade and cooling.  What’s on your wish list?

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Let’s work together and transform your back yard into your private and perfect place to be.

Pot with Coral Bell in flower adds interest to pathway.

Outdoor Living Oasis for Grant Park Backyard Part 2

Dream Cottage Garden Plantings for NE Portland Outdoor Living Space

Redbud Forest Pansy included in Grant Park Portland outdoor living space.

Redbud Forest Pansy Foliage photo by Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Shade Trees for Small City Properties

An aside about shade trees…..Most clients these days want to invest in a shade tree given how much hotter summers in Portland are with global warming.  It’s tricky to get a tree that will take the heat we are expecting that will not get too big and the tree I wanted for this garden was just too mundane for these clients who love fall color.  They went with an Acer rubrum (maple) variety that will be a very large shade tree once it matures.  And they consulted with their neighbor to ensure a large shade tree that would provide shade to her landscape was wanted, which it was. 

A Small Tree for Full Season Interest

We also selected a ‘Forest Pansy’ Redbud, considered a small tree, to see from inside the kitchen.  The tiny explosion of sizzling pink flowers on bare stems in late winter, the rich burgundy heart shaped leaf in the summer and the fall color made the Redbud an obvious choice.  Plus we put it in a raised bed which greatly increases the chances of a healthy tree as Redbud can sometimes get a disease called verticillium wilt.  A raised bed ensures good drainage which is something this tree must have to live a long and healthy life. 

Columbine, a cottage garden plant added to outdoor living space in Grant Park.

The perfect cottage garden plant, Columbine.

Full Season Interest Plants

Annely wanted to see the seasons evolve in her new garden from the kitchen so we knew we needed a special touch of seasonal interest plants. She wanted plants to express a colorful cottage garden styling, and pictured in her head plants full of vibrant colors and unique texture combinations. While the original backyard could not accommodate Annelys vision, the new design allow us to create the desired outcome.  My then apprentice Alana Chau and installer Donna Burdick, (of D & J Landscape Contractors) were also part of the team.

Once those large structure plants were selected, the next step for us was selecting some of the shrubs.  Annely was familiar with her own plant collection, and it is she who decided upon and placed all the perennials you see in these spring photos.  Annely’s plants are so lovely and add so much soul to this garden.  This garden is a perfect example of designing layout and hardscape for functional outdoor living spaces while claiming perfect areas for plantings.  This kind of design outcome requires creating the layout while simultaneously holding the spaces and places for magical plantings.

Total backyard remake into dream outdoor living space in Grant Park.

Carol Lindsay founder of Landscape Design in a Day enjoys the perfect sit spot in the new garden oasis. Photo by Hilary Hutler

Hardscape Artistry Lies in the Hands of the Landscape Contractor

The stone work is so beautifully done and well thought out.  Donna Burdick had me come and finalize the shaping of the raised bed and stone wall on site and making a few decisions about where the design had to be tweaked.  This way the integrity of the design remains intact in face of many changes we were not expecting including a change about the location of the property line.

Donna and her employees put heart into the placement of the stone and walls.  I could not be happier with the way she worked this space as she thoughtfully prepped and installed the hardscape, planting soil and more.

The clients added art and so you see colorful surprises throughout the design – thoughtful touches that I think add little moments of joy and surprise as the seasons changed. The final landscape design exceeded our wildest expectations! Our clients now have a spacious outdoor living area, the planting areas are maximized, the stone work and hardscape fully supports the beauty of the plants without overwhelming the garden. 

Garden art added to dream outdoor living space for Grant Park backyard.

I love the simple steel heart hanging from the shared shared tree.

This small back yard space in NE Portland has been transformed into a tranquil oasis that can be shared with friends — a true example of what you can create with clients who dare to dream, imagination and the right professionals.  

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Looking for a true paradise in your back yard? Contact me today and we will collaborate to find the perfect landscape design for your yard.  Together we can transform your outdoor space into your own garden oasis!

 

 

Outdoor Living Oasis for Grant Park Backyard Part 1

Total backyard makeover in Grant Park, Portland Oregon.

Grant Park neighborhood backyard plant paradise with super comfy sitting area occupied by Carol Lindsay, Landscape Design in a Day

Design a Magical & Spacious Backyard Makeover for Outdoor Living in NE Portland’s Grant Park Neighborhood

Recently I had the pleasure of designing with Annely and Wayne, a lovely couple living in Portlands northeast side. They wanted to turn a small and rather typical back yard into a magical outdoor living oasis. Using my collaborative Landscape Design in a Day process, we created a garden design that would bring their dream of an outdoor haven to life.

Clients Wish List for Landscape Design for Small City Back Yard

Outdoor living space backyard design includes client plants.

Our client had lots of plants waiting for their new home.

Space was pretty limited especially since their garage ate into back yard space but Annely and Wayne were not daunted and had ambitious goals for their back yard.

Annely dreamed of a covered outdoor entertainment area with comfortable seating for 6, and a lush garden of plants. She is a passionate hobby gardener, and had a large collection of plants at the ready. She had been waiting for several years to have the garden of her dreams and she had plants sitting about in pots to prove it.  We also needed room for outdoor dining, cooking (to include BBQ, outdoor sink and prep area) and we needed easy access from the deep shared driveway to the back door.  The groceries and daily family access to the house happened through the backyard too.  

BEFORE outdoor living space design the backyard had to be cleared in Grant Park.

The newly cleared lot gives us our blank slate.

BEFORE the backyard makeover for Grant park clients in Portland

Carol and clients analyzing site conditions before design process. Photo by Alana Chau

Room for Outdoor Living with Friends

Our first step was to maximize the tiny space. We discussed possible ways to extend the small lot space, including opening up the side of the small garage to create the covered dining area, (like a casita) so the rest of the yard could be free for plantings. However, the garage storage space was too precious and a casita didn’t match their vision. 

After creating multiple backyard layout drawings and more consultation and collaboration with our clients, we decided on the multilevel raised garden bed, foregoing the covered patio, and we placed a shared with the neighbor shade tree near the property line.  By pushing the shade tree back, the neighbor would also get shade and we had more space for new colorful plantings. 

Continue the story of our Grant Park total backyard makeover in our upcoming Part 2 blog post. 

The start of Grant Park clients' outdoor living space makeover.

The patio is cut and its’ walls retained by D and J Landscape Contractors

Contact us

Are you inspired to transform your own back yard into a true paradise? Contact me today and let us create the perfect landscape design for your city garden oasis. Together we can transform your outdoor space into something remarkable!