Archive for entry walk

Entry Presence with Winter Red Foliage for Portland Landcapes

Winter Color Sizzle Plant

‘Sizzling Pink’ Chinese Loropetalum is the focal point plant for a Willamette Heights  Landscape Design in a Day client’s entry.

Entry Presence with Winter Red Foliage for Portland Landscapes

Exciting Winter Color Shrub

As a Portland landscape designer I have many clients who want exciting winter color in their landscapes.  When new clients fill in their landscape preference survey they often circle the option for burgundy foliage and add little hearts!   Sadly most burgundy leafed plants are not cold hardy enough here in the Pacific Northwest to look picture perfect in winter.

My Favorite

My favorite choice for dark red or eggplant purple foliage is called Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum or Red Chinese Loropetalum.  Plain Chinese Loropetalum has green foliage and white flowers.   I love the Red Chinese Loropetalum.  It  has amazing thick hot pink fringe flowers in early spring.  The spring foliage emerges burgundy red or dark to medium red pink depending on the variety.   Other varieties are dark red to an eggplant purple through the year.

Unique plant but tricky to site properly

My NW Portland landscape design clients, Dave and Rhonda loved this plant.  It provided a very attractive color echo of their eggplant front door and visually softened the adjacent concrete area. It looked good until January and then for several years the leaves burned and they didn’t grow back in until July!. The love was there but it took too long to recover for an entry focal point plant.   Their plant got sun from 6am in the winter until 1 pm.  They had good drainage and were careful and consistent with watering.  Perversely, I have seen other plants simply glowing in February in the same exact siting.  Can you tell I had a little trouble giving up on that one?  I avoid 6 am winter sun for best outcome.

lorepetalum-from-monrovia

Spring flowers (Photo courtesy of Monrovia)

So why bother with this plant?

It is the wonderful purple red foliage color, the soft arching shape of the branches and the hot colored fringe flowers in spring. Its well worth it if you love purple foliage.    If the plant gets cold east wind in winter, the leaves will burn (desiccate) and it may look terrible until May or June. Year round good looks is all about proper siting and a bit of luck.

Proven Winners variety called Loropetalum 'Jazz Hands'

Proven Winners variety called Loropetalum ‘Jazz Hands’

Twp good choices

These two old  varieties are still easy to find and are what I’m most familiar with:   ‘Sizzling Pink’, which is also called ‘Burgundy’ (cold tolerant to 15 degrees), and   ‘Pippa’s Red’ (hardy to 10 degrees).  ‘Pippa’s Red’ is not as dark a red leaf as ‘Sizzling Pink’. I’m interested in ‘Hines Purpleleaf’, ‘Zhuzhou Fuchsia’ and ‘Jazz Hands’ but wasn’t able to find them to purchase.

There are many new varieties but most were hybridized (designed) for the southern states and are not tested here in the Pacific NW.

I love to drive around Portland and see them thriving.   They saw it, bought it, and just happened to plant it in the right spot!! Whoever they are, they don’t even know its supposed to be a little tricky.  I would be willing to try it in colder areas like Gresham but only where it is 100% protected from east wind.  Even then, I’d consider it an experiment. A whole landscape of plant experiments is called gambling and is not typically the result  we want in a landscape design.  Most of my clients want a sure bet.

True Low Maintenance Landscape Uses Synthetic Lawn

Save Time and Money by Installing Synthetic Lawn

Low maintenance landscape design in St. Johns Portland

AFTER: Low maintenance can also be lush. The plants have filled in nicely 2 years after installation.

The synthetic lawn and Landscape Design in a Day was a retirement gift Bob and Norma gave to themselves.  They were so sure about synthetic lawn they had already purchased it.

From the first phone call, I knew how many square feet of synthetic lawn we would use and where it would go.   They were looking forward to a lawn that would stay green no matter what their boxer dog did.   Mowing, fertilizing and watering would no longer be part of their new retirement lifestyle.

 

Before mid-century modern landscape makeover, St. Johns Portland, Oregon

BEFORE: Landscape Design in a Day, the synthetic lawn and all the homeowner’s hard DIY work

Plant Color and Diversity a Must
Norma especially enjoyed plants with a lot of color.  The front landscape plantings needed to have year round color, and have interesting texture.  She was interested in a very clean mid-century modern hardscape but wanted the plantings to add a softening effect.

The backyard could be completely devoted to summer color as few windows faced the back.

Norma’s New Plant Palette Includes:

Norma used the popular design website Houzz to send me pictures of her style. This saved time and worked very well for us to zero in on the kinds of plants she loved.

Synthetic Lawn Installed in St Johns Portland Oregon front yard

AFTER: Photo taken just two months after the Landscape Design in a Day was completed

Colorful foilage lasts for months, flowers in summer.

Weigela ‘My Monet’ displays colorful foliage that lasts for months. Bell-shaped pink pearl colored flowers appear in late spring / early summer and attract beneficials to your garden.

True Grit
Bob and Norma intend to stay in this home for many years.  I recommended they invest in my “true grit” soil prep process.  It creates an environment for healthy plants, the plants need less water, and often grow bigger than in typically amended clay soil.  It is a lot of work! We joked about whether Bob would still like me (since he was the one doing the heavy work) after he was done.  The results are very exciting and satisfying for me – let alone my clients!

Our Clients Say it Best
Norma commented, “Thank you for all your help. Bob has been digging and digging and hauling 19 yards of crushed rock, compost and dirt.  I have a feeling we saved a ton of money.  It was worth doing it ourselves!”

She continued saying: “We are pleased with how our new landscape turned out. In fact, people are stopping in the street and taking pictures and giving us the thumbs up. Thanks again for everything.”  – Bob and Norma, Vancouver, WA

Does Your Garden Need a Facelift?
Email or phone Carol today to schedule an appointment: 503.223.2426