Dream Cottage Garden Plantings for NE Portland Outdoor Living Space
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.
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 Annely’s 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.
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.
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.
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!