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Irvington Backyard Landscape Design Creates Haven for Entertaining

After Irvington landscape design.

Irvington Backyard Landscape Design Creates Haven for Entertaining

My clients, Dan and Patti, moved to Portland to be close to family, especially their grandchildren. The previous owner of this sweet 1920 bungalow in the Irvington neighborhood had used the backyard primarily as a place to park a large RV. The shed was located to face the driveway and a concrete pad for parking the RV was the main focus of the backyard. My new clients like to live and entertain in their back yard. Irvington property looking for help with landscape design.They would be providing childcare for a handful of grand kids several days a week so room for kids to run and play was critical but knew they didn’t want any lawn.

The collaborative style of a Landscape Design in a Day was very attractive to them. They were happy to measure and draft their existing property for me. Most clients do their own measuring. If the lot is sloped or especially difficult, we will do the measuring and drafting. We talked about their goals and possibilities of their site.  Their backyard abuts a large Portland park. They can watch movies that are played in the park from their backyard. They enjoy the sound of soccer games and kids playing. The park also provides two large shade trees near the property line that are well placed and provide cooling and privacy. As we talked we created a scope for the landscape design.

Want List

Integrate functional play space for the kids into a garden design

They didn’t want the landscape to look like a play yard

Keep the large shed (more about the shed later)

Custom sandbox in Portland Irvington area backyard. A large custom-built sandbox

(They had a construction design for a big sand box to incorporate into the design.)

Outdoor dining for large fourth of July family gatherings and summer birthdays

A lounging area for just the two of them with a heat source

Lots of flower power and foliage leaf color for Patty who loves the NW green foliage but misses the colorful exuberance of a sunny California flower garden

Designer Solutions:

Irvington backyard shed required in new landscape design.Existing Shed:  There was a large existing shed and when they said they wanted to keep it but were willing to relocate it, I breathed a sigh of relief. The sheds existing location was a roadblock to a successful use of the space. I’m happy to accommodate my clients requests unless the request conflicts with having what they want. It’s my job to know when someone’s good idea is going to be a problem so I would have gone into my best persuasive methods but happily I did not have to.

Relocating shed in Irvington backyard landscape design.The outdoor dining room: The sheds new location made a perfect wall that defined the dining room and gave us a place to hang a buffet board that would serve food and beverages for both the lounging and dining room area. It helps with screening out an unwanted view.

I added further definition to the dining room with a stone planter that also separated the large (very cool) sandbox from the dining area.

We created a large curved berm which serves 3 functions:

1. The path around the berm is great for kids running around.

2. We created a kids play area behind the berm. Their grandparents added a sun sail to protect them from the hot sun and to make it feel even more like a fort or hidey hole. The corner area is big enough for many kid activities.

3. Berming up the soil makes it a perfect place to plant Japanese Maples. They can get verticillium wilt here in Portland but rarely do when planted on a berm.

Kids corner in Irvington landscape design.The spacious lounging area is conveniently located off the back door.

In addition to using colorful plants in the backyard, the south side of the backyard has an edibles area and flowers for cutting.

They hired my favorite landscape contractor Donna Burdick to install and Donna and I worked together on various issues for a fantastic installation experience.

Patti’s Review

“We are thrilled with the designs she created for both our front and backyards, which were executed and installed by D & J Landscape Contractors (another highly recommended company).  The yards have been transformed into welcoming, beautiful spaces that we appreciate every day, whether we’re looking at our new views out the windows, or enjoying dinner outside”.Mixed materials for Irvington hardscapes in landscape design.

Hardscape Materials

We used mutual materials for the patio pavers and the paths were compacted 1/4 minus crushed rock with steel edging. The soil was prepped and irrigation was installed. The stone planter walls are mortar set basalt locally sourced.

Colorful Plants for Patti

Here are a few of the more colorful plants we used

Specialty hydrangeas from Joy Creek Nursery

Coreopsis ‘Big Bang’

Crocosmia  ‘Lucifer’

Echinacea ‘Kim’s Knee High’

Fuschia magellinica – Hardy fuchsia ‘Golden Gate’ and ‘Beacon Red’ and ‘Double Otto’

Locally sourced basalt mortared planters in Irvington landscape design.Heuchera – Coral Bell ‘Purple Petticoat’, ‘Lime Marmalade’, ‘Havana’, ‘Paris’ and ‘Fire Chief’ for hot foliage colors and flowers

Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ Japanese Forest Grass- stone planter

Berginia C ‘Baby Doll’ – stone planter

Hosta ‘Halcyon’ (blue foliage)

A trio of classic Peony, ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, ‘Red Charm’ and ‘Duchess de Nemours’

Dicentra ‘Goldheart’ – gold leafed bleeding heart

Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’-gold leafed mexican orange shrub

If you’re looking in the Portland area for a new landscape, contact me to see how we can work to design your property.

 

 

Low Water Landscape Design for Young Family

After photo of colorful low water landscape design for Grant Park neighborhood front yard

After: New design includes drought tolerant plants and street tree.

Low water landscape design for young family: TJ and Lori had a new house  in the Beaumont Wilshire neighborhood.  They were planning the landscape long term for their son and future siblings. I love to design the landscape where my client’s children will grow up.    It’s so satisfying! We are creating the places where important moments, family traditions and their children’s earliest memories will be made.  Conserving water for the future was an important family value so a low water landscape design was very important.

Client Wish List

During the interview, I asked about edibles.  They laughed and said in unison “Beans”!  Green beans were important and there was clearly some family joke about them.  Their wish list was extensive  but the top 5 were curb appeal, low water use, Rain Garden for disconnected down spouts, no lawn, four season plantings and a screen to define their property from their  neighbors without resorting to a fence…….and a  special place for green beans.

Before photo shows beautiful Portland home with unattractive front landscape

Before Landscape Design in a Day

Curb Appeal

We solved the curb appeal issue by designing the parking strip as if it were part of the front yard. This added needed depth and gave the large front facade of the house the feel of a much larger front yard.  The disconnected downspouts were served with a pseudo rain garden dressed with boulders and interesting plantings for drama to the front foundation scene.

Landscape Design Grant Park Portland Oregon parking stripThe parking strip was 8′ wide so was treated as an extension of the front yard, and we need that 8′!  The house with such a tiny front yard floated.  The new design integrated the parking strip into the front yard and “planted” the house visually.

Driveway Doubles as Useful Family Play Space

Typically no designer, well this one anyway, would select the driveway for family quality time.  Rules are made to broken.  As we worked together it became clear that the deep spacious driveway was the perfect place for the edibles garden and play space.  The driveway got a privacy treatment, and a large arbor set within a stone planter.    The planter acts as art, adds curb appeal, and visually softens the size of the driveway .  It’s also a functional divide between the properties and it can be seen from inside the house, replacing the view of the neighbors side yard and house wall.  Guess what they grow on the curved iron trellis?  Green Beans!! People tall and short sit on the planter cap to garden and talk or play.

Stone planter with edibles in Grant Park Low water landscape design

Stone planter with an arbor.  Click here to see more stone planter options.

 

Other low water plantings:

Parrotia-Persian Iron Tree for parking strip

Garden planting of dwarf summer heather with summer daphne

4″ tall Summer flowering heather – Calluna vulgaris ‘Mrs Ron Green’

 

Butterfly on Echinacea 'White Swan'

Butterfly and pollinator friendly Echinacea – Coneflower

Callluna vulgaris ‘Mrs Ron Green’ – summer heather

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ – cone flower

Dwarf Pinus mugo – Tru dwarf varieties

Baptisia Australis ‘Purple Smoke’

North Portland Landscape Design parking strip

Becky Clark Design Thymus Praecox ‘Coccineus’ ablaze w flower in north Portland parking strip

Stepable ground cover, Thymus praecox ‘Elfin Pink’

 

Before and After: Curb Appeal

Before: Formal, and Flat with No Curb Appeal     

Earlier this summer, we featured Skinny and Tricky front yard design from scratch. This time, we’re showcasing an existing front landscape that needed a complete ‘do over’. Carol and the clients had worked together on their previous home.

The Design Challenge

Before the design process, the front entry was to the side of the house and very formal.

The new house was big enough for their growing family and just down the street  from their former home, but the new house had some problems.  First, the “real” front door was on the side of the house and everyone used the mud room entry instead.  The  great room windows were too close to the public sidewalk. The existing front walk, the one everyone used,  was a narrow awkward shape, and not at all welcoming. There was a lot riding on the redesign of the former mud room entry into the front door entry.

They were already using the formal front porch as a sitting area. They put a big comfy wrap around sofa on it even though it was not yet private. The heart of the family porch was already there, it just needed to be remodeled a bit and screened. Since they live near a very popular dog park….there were far too many doogie dooleys in the lawn but they didn’t want an unfriendly fence in the front yard.

“Working with both Bob and Carol Lindsay made the house work for us perfectly.” – Rob and Jen Hendrickson

Landscape goals have been completed in the new design.

 

 

 

After: Easy Care and Inviting

The new wide entry walk is big enough to use as a play area.

To make the insides and the outsides work properly, Carol brought her partner Bob Lindsay, home design/build  Urban Renaissance LLC,  to work with the clients on redesigning parts of the home that did not fit their family.  They designed and then remodeled the mud room, added a wall that made the flow into the kitchen and great room great and added a fireplace. He also created  furniture grade cubbies and cabinetry for the family’s new entry so it could function perfectly as the primary entry for the family AND the new front door. The interior’s style morphed into more of a Cape Cod beach house which fit this family’s laid back NW ways better.

The Perfectly Integrated Solution

Carol’s landscape design added a wide and welcoming stone front walk. The big hit was the custom stone wall that acts as a raised bed and is visually dramatic and drop dead gorgeous year round. It also provided seating for visiting with the neighbors or watching the kids play. To achieve a classic ‘northwest natural’ look, Carol mixed boulders with rich and warm toned stone tiles.

A Place to Repose

The original formal front entry made a lot more sense as a private family sitting porch with a breathtaking view of Mount Hood for morning coffee.  Last but not least, the planter and plantings create a barrier that blocks most dogs from leaving gifts on the lawn.

Cistern Installation

Portland Purple Water Cistern

Photo courtesy of Portland Purple Water

In addition to a landscape design for the back yard which included a large edibles garden, the clients also wanted a cistern for watering the landscape. Bob Lindsay,  Urban Renaissance and Joe Hurd,  installed a 1,500 gallon cistern under the second story deck.

Rob says, “We’re collecting winter rain and using it to grow our food and have a garden! Using all that city water to maintain the lawn…well it didn’t feel good.  Now it feels right and I love it!”

Perfect Blend of Fit and Function

Hendrickson plant tex

The large stone planter and planting provided enough visual power to balance  the Cape Cod home’s style.  The planter  fits this very social neighborhood by providing seating for visiting with neighbors or watching the kids play.

The new wide entry walk is also big enough to use as play area which in a neighborhood with lots of kids is ideal.

Does Your Home Need Curb Appeal?
Call 503.223.2426 or email today so we can make your home and garden welcoming and warm.

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