Archive for Hillside gardens

Boulders Create Opportunity in Portland Landscape Designs

Bright blue Navel Wort Omphaloides cappadocia graces this stacked boulder wall in NW Portland's Willamette Heights.

Bright blue Navel Wort – Omphaloides cappadocia ‘Cherry Ingram’ graces this dry stacked boulder wall in NW Portlands’ Willamette Heights. Clients love this plant!

Boulders create opportunity in Portland landscape designs.

As a Portland landscape designer I love boulders. They are so versatile and especially helpful with complex small urban properties. New construction properties in the city are always on difficult lots now unless they are a tear down. The lots are either very narrow, an unusual shape or steep. The easy lots were built on years ago. They are a good challenge for experienced designers. Clients are often completely baffled about their options.

Usable space

One of  the big issues with these properties is creating usable space for my clients. A pretty landscape that can’t be used for entertaining even 4 adults is not functional in my opinion. Boulders help the designer create level, functional and usable areas.  Boulders also bring nature into urban environments and add visual drama to the views from the home. A well placed boulder brings a sigh of relief to me, it’s hard to explain but I think it is the touch of nature that I feel.

Designer directed boulder placement for this new construction home in NW Portland.

I loved directing the boulder placement and designing the stairs for this Willamette Heights home in NW Portland.

Boulders retain the hillsides to allow the designer to carve out interesting walkways, stairs and planting areas above them. The spaces between the boulders create planting pockets which when thoughtfully planted result in layers of softening greenery. Planting the pockets creates another way to balance the proportions of hard surface to plant material.  I love being able to use plants that are fussy about drainage in boulder crevices that I cannot use without copious soil preparation in flat properties.  The bonus of being able to stand and tend the low maintenance plantings cannot be praised enough as my older clients will attest to.

Landscape Design in a Day water feature in Raliegh Hills SW Portland

This water feature with a large drilled Montana Mud boulder has a dry return so it is safe for a front yard with no child proof fence.

Water

Boulders and water are natural partners and I love to create simple low-maintenance water features using drilled rock and echo chambers. It’s an easy way to offset traffic noise and provides water for birds, bees and possibly your dog too.  With a dry return instead of a high maintenance pond there is no mud so Fido won’t get to roll in the mud and bring it in to share w your sofa or carpet.

Proportional curb appeal

When the front yard is small we need strong visual impact to offset tall facades and large driveways. There is little plantable space and often the maximum hardscape allowed by the city or county.   We need to be visually bold to offset this situation.   Raising the soil with a few well placed boulders and adding complementary dramatic plant material can give us the impact we need.

 

Garden Design for Gardeners

Japanese Maple – Acer Palmatum ‘Shindeshojo’ in Westmoreland neighborhood SE Portland Landscape Design in a Day.

Boulders solve soil problems

Here’s an example….Planting a hot colored foliage Japanese maples up in a boulder planter create excellent drainage and helps avoid the dreaded verticillium wilt which is a good example of solving multiple problems with one solution.  Flat lots with heavy clay soil can severely limit the selection of plant material that will survive.  Supporting the raised soil with boulders gives me a wider selection of plants that will thrive without fuss.  It’s not as easy to be dramatic with a limited plant palette.

Sword Fern in Sun

NW Native Sword fern – Polystichum munitum has upright fronds in sun and horizontal low fronds in shade.

NW Natural Style

Boulders work beautifully with nw natural landscape style but it is easy to use them in modern landscape design too.   The caricature of modern design can be harsh, bleak and boring.  Paths, patios, entries and retaining walls must be carefully shaped and proportioned. Boulders bring in the relief of nature made versus man made and create an inviting atmosphere.

 

Read more about hillside landscape design.

 

Hidden Craftsman Gem

Before:  Hidden Craftsman Gem

I think before and after photos are fun to look at.  Here is a home on SW 52nd in Portland that went on the market and needed some serious curb appeal to attract buyers.Vshyha buller  before for blog

Their interior designer, Mary Tongue, from HOMEmakers of Oregon hired me for my Landscape Design in a Day process.

The craftsman home had no front walk. Guests walked up the sloped driveway.  The bank of lawn and overgrown plants hid the porch and more importantly, the house did not look inviting.

 

After:  Warm and Inviting Entry

Vskyha Bueller smaller after copy

We crafted an inviting entry path – as well as a four season plant palette – adding instant curb appeal.

Now the house looks and feels friendly and welcoming!  It’s a much better match for the unbelievable charm and beauty of the interior.

I created the design, placed the boulders and stone steps with my expert install team.  We crafted an inviting entry path – as well as a four season plant palette – adding instant curb appeal.  I placed the plants and the clients performed the planting work themselves.

 

Oregonian Home and Garden blog features Carol Lindsay, Design in a Day Video

Hi here is my recent exposure in the Oregonian’s Home and Garden blog by Kym Pokorny.  This blog gives me credit for starting the Design in a Day way of doing landscape design oh so many years ago and has an amazing photo of me with the amazing Barley Dog.

carol.jpgView full sizeCourtesy of Carol Lindsay  Designer Carol Lindsay and her late dog Barley.

Longtime Portland garden designer Carol Lindsay was one of the first to implement the idea of Landscape Design in a Day, which would be why she named her business that. The concept is a four-hour consultation with Carol, who will listen to your needs and wants and then come up with a do-it-yourself design. She also offers garden coaching and full-scale garden design.

In checking out her website recently, my eyes spied three topics, probably because Carol and I share a love of dogs. Her sweet, adorable cocker spaniel Barley sadly passed away this year. He will always be remembered.

Her dog-related posts include:

Dog-pee-proof plants.   Synthectic lawns and dogs: Do they go together?

Dog-friendly landscapes.

But the big news is a video Carol made for About.com about rocks walls.

Rock Garden Video

Videographer in Rock Garden designed by Design in a Day Carol Lindsay

As an example, she uses one that she designed 10 years ago with small plants such as heathers, ferns, dwarf ornamental grasses and ground covers.

“We started out with 10 or 20 little 4-inch speciality ferns,” Carol says on the video. Over a 10-year period of time, these little ferns crossed with each other and created all these little sporelings … Out of those 20 little ferns that we bought 10 years ago, there are 100 ferns here now, if not more than that.”

“It’s high interest, easy to care for and beautiful to look at.”

Sign up for Carol’s seasonal home and garden tips.

Kym Pokorny

http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2012/09/portland_garden_designer_recor.html