No Lawn Back Yard Landscape Design in Grant Park

Posted on: January 1, 2020

Outdoor Living Back Yard Landscape Design in Grant Park

Colorful and spacious back yard in Grant Park landscaping for outdoor living.

New back porch with railings has enough room to sit and enjoy morning coffee.

Chris and Stacey found me via Neighbor Next Door and having read my blog about dog friendly landscapes they called me. Their new home had an interesting garden. While it was more attractive and well tended than typical, it did not fit their style and didn’t have enough outdoor living area.

Going Lawn Less

Their dog Olive was 60 pounds and loved going to the park. They didn’t feel the need for a lawn just for their dog. Their previous home was lawn less and Olive was fine with that.  We would make a relief area for Olive but it would need to visually fit into the garden.

Grant Park back porch and patio need a re design.

Before landscape design

My clients knew they wanted to remove the hot tub, the lawn, most of the plants and design a new back deck.

There was an attractive paver wall associated with the existing white wood pergola.  I’ve never come across a wall quite like it and I loved it on sight.  Upon investigation the very attractive wall pavers were mortared onto wood.  While not a typical construction choice, by far,  perhaps the wood wall under the pavers is well protected from moisture because happily the wall is holding up well.  We  all felt it was an important keeper. The wall and pergola worked nicely together.  The existing white pergola was very attractive but sadly so far gone one could insert a pencil into the posts.  I felt torn about it because on the one hand it was an asset and my clients liked it.  To me however, the pergola’s style had such a strong presence and would limit our overall design choices.  Since it was past it’s “sell by date” I was free to create a more fluid design.

Outdoor living in Grant Park with boulders and NW Natural style plantings

Naturalistic plantings with blue glass ball accents the spring color of fern.

No Flow Landscape

Vines and wall art disguises garage wall in Grant Park neighborhood

Clematis ‘Armandii’ 4 years after planting with antique white tiles adds spice to the garage wall.

Landscaping for Grant Park outdoor living.They felt the existing landscape had no flow. The plants were high maintenance and overgrown.  Some were rather invasive. The climbing roses on the side of the garage were too much and were removed.

Clematis vine Armandii' softens garage wall in Grant Park neighborhood

Clematis vine Armandii’ makes a living frame around decorative wall tiles.

New vines were planted (including their favorite evergreen clematis ‘Armandii’ though not yet established when I arrived).  I loved the garage wall as a backdrop and privacy maker.  It was also a perfect place for garden art.  The clients had art wall tiles they had used and loved at a previous landscape.  They fit perfectly with the new garden.

More space for outdoor living

A dining area and a larger lounging area with improved privacy was at the top of the list.

Designers Assessment

We needed privacy from the neighbors kitchen windows across the driveway. The privacy did not need to be evergreen so I used a Japanese maple noted for sun tolerance.  We also decided to do clumping bamboo in a container to make a wispy privacy between the neighbor at his kitchen sink and their dining area.

Creating privacy from the back neighbor to the east was easy because of the shared back garage wall and the existing lilac trees. The wispy lilac trees were at the perfect screening height but needed pruning to encourage denser foliage growth.

Private outdoor entertaining with multiple sitting areas is spacious for Grant Park lansdscape.

The new private lounging area is tucked in to the back neighbor’s garage wall. The Magnolia and Lilac were doing their job nicely.

An evergreen Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’ is planted to complete privacy to the lounging area. The paths of crushed rock (granite) integrate the landscape and also create the planting areas that provide screening between the rooms.

Tree selection

Hardscape landscaping stone step and decomposed granite path in Grant Park

Stone step is nestled between rock. It is a visual marker for the step down into the lounging area and looks perfect with the warm toned decomposed granite path.

Boulders were used to raise the soil for several new planting areas and for our two screen trees (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’) and to add drama.  We thought about many different evergreen small trees for this important focal point spot including a Manzanita.

Potential screen tree choice for landscape design in Grant Park









My client  sent me this photo of a Manzanita from a neighborhood walk. We love the red bark however Manzanita is rarely offered by growers larger than 3′ tall.  We settled on the semi-dwarf Magnolia which could be purchased at an 8′ to 10′ tall plant.


Decomposed granite for paths.

Oklahoma Blue Stone for patio.

Boulders (to create attractive edging).

Stacey’s Comments

“I think Carol’s collaborative process worked well for us. It was a true partnership. The first design she presented to us showed she was listening carefully to what we wanted and had applied her creativity to our desires.

We made changes here and there and if our changes were not going to work, she said so and tried to take the reasons behind the idea and make that work in a practical fashion. Our new design integrates the different rooms and now has a very strong naturalistic style with a lot of color and amazing flow.”

Are you looking for a great outdoor space for your family? In need of landscaping for your dogs? Take a look at our Contact Page to learn more.

Outdoor living landscaping with granite path and custom shed in Grant Park neighborhood.

This attractive and (very cute) shed was built by Chris as a gift to Stacey. The cedar chips behind the Magnolia are Olive’s doggy relief spot.