Jen Martin knew what she wanted and has a strong sense of style but her tiny back yard in NE Portland had her stymied.
Jen wanted play space for her kids, room for growing veggies and more privacy. The view of her neighbor at her kitchen sink seeing Jen at her kitchen sink was not acceptable! She had a sophisticated entertainment area which she wanted to keep but she also wanted room for her kids play structure. She needed to make every inch of her back yard count.
There was an arbor that gave drama and beauty to the back yard. It was part of what sold them on the house and yet the first thing I said to remove. The location of the dramatic arbor ruined the usability of the small yard.
We settled in at the kitchen counter along with her young (but helpful) Norwegian Forest Cat and created a half dozen “flow” designs as part of her Landscape Design in a Day. The best design made itself clear and then we created a planting plan that fit her goals and style.
“I’ve worked with landscape architects and designers in the past and have had mediocre experiences. Carol’s “Design-in-a-Day” process is brilliant. She is so efficient making the process accessible both from a time commitment and a financial perspective. Her process drives the results and for me that looked like a very smart design using a super small space and the resources that we had. And, Carol herself is lovely. What I enjoyed the most in working with her is that she did not push her design style or preferences at all – she listened, respected and worked with my aesthetic. I think this trait is rare for designers. I would highly recommend Carol.”
I could not believe how quickly they installed the new design. Her brother did all the concrete work which was intricate and extensive. I designed unusual openings for plants in the patio floor that emphasized the modern style Jen loves but I’m sure it wasn’t easy to frame and pour.
Jen got her clumping bamboo plants from the Bamboo Gardens. We were torn about whether to use arborvitae to create the privacy between the two kitchen windows but I was concerned there would not be enough light for arborvitae. The clumping bamboo prefers part shade so was a perfect fit. The roots can be trusted (unlike running bamboo) and it created a softening texture for the tiny landscape. (And let’s face it, Arborvitae is over used.)
We both enjoyed the process of creating a design for the back yard so when Jen hired me to return and create a plan for the front landscape I was pleased to be able to tie it all together.