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Low Water Landscape Design for Young Family

Posted on: December 2, 2015
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’