Portland Landscape Design creates privacy for small city backyard in Woodstock neighborhood
Case History: Portland infill home in Woodstock neighborhood needs a professional landscape design. The biggest problem for new infill homes with tiny yards is privacy.
Roger and Meghan, no dogs and no kids, had recently moved to Portland and purchased a new home in the Woodstock neighborhood. Roger wanted an interesting and easy care garden to putz in, colorful plantings and no lawn. Most of all they wanted privacy.
Solving Privacy Issues-It’s about making a beautiful view
There were bad views on all three sides of the backyard. The house behind had a visually obnoxious roof and we could see their neighbors doing their dishes quite clearly in the evening. The house to the west had a shed which was useful for some privacy, but was infested with Norway rats. The owners were elderly and not keeping up with their home. It’s tough to start making demands of your new neighbors so most of my clients don’t. The house on the other side was also a new infill house and there was no privacy between the two properties.
Designers Viewpoint on Screening Plants
I needed to create beautiful views to see from inside the house and from the back patio that would simultaneously create privacy and block bad views. The plants needed to grow quickly but not get too big for the tiny yard. There are not a lot of plants that will slow down once they are mature. Most will get too big too quickly.
I selected my trusty clumping bamboo-Fargesia ‘Robusta Campbell’ paired with an evergreen narrow semi dwarf Magnolia tree. The contrast between the feathery bamboo and the magnolia’s large dark green leathery leaves would have been exciting and this would have been a fast-growing solution. My clients decided against the bamboo because rats sometimes eat bamboo shoots and they didn’t want to encourage the rats to come into their yard. I substituted drought tolerant Boxleaf Tree-Azara Microphyla for the privacy screen and they were back on track. Azara has a tiny leaf and would contrast well with the Magnolia’s large leaf.
Path as a design feature for a small yard
The back yard is all planting solution with a flagstone path that circles and dramatically frames a focal point planting. The path is wide enough to walk or to pull weeds from. Roger laid the flagstone himself.
Plants with vibrant spring color
I dropped by the following spring (I was next door creating a design for their neighbors) and saw the magnificent coral orange leaves of Japanese maple ‘Shaina’ with lime gold ground cover, (Saxifraga) and peach foliage coral bell. The emerging spring foliage puts on an intense and vibrant show. The new landscape has many seasons of beauty and the spring view is no exception.
Roger and Meghan are enjoying their new home and landscape and Roger enjoyed installing the garden so much he might take it on as a second career in addition to his professional photography. So far the rats have not caused a lot of problems………How Portland lives with, not against, its rats is a fascinating read.
The spring color vignette included:
Coral Bell ‘Marmalade’-Heuchera x ‘Marmalade’
Saxifraga x urbium ‘Aureopunctata’-Saxifrages ‘London Pride Aureopunctata’
Brunnera macro. ‘Jack Frost’-Bugloss ‘Jack Frost’