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Considering an ADU for your Portland landscape?

Considering an ADU for your Portland landscape?

Popular Portland ADUs in need of landscape design

The large windows of the new apartment work with the flow of the existing home. Photo shows nearly completed remodel.

Are you thinking about turning your home or property into an income producing situation with an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)?

Is your ADU a long term investment or a way to add value to your home for re sale? Do you want a mother in law apartment or do you need to provide living quarters for an adult child with the idea of renting it out to others once the need passes? These are some of the reasons Portlanders are building ADUs – Accessory Dwelling Units at a rapid pace.

What’s my first step you might ask?

Mother in law suite addition before landscape was redesigned for Portland home.

Before: Keep the existing roof and expand  house walls to gain square footage for a mother in law apartment in this North Plains home.

The first step is to find a design build expert on ADU with an emphasis on design. As a landscape designer (and perhaps you are one of my clients?) you have seen the value of design and know that sometimes it boils down to where we want the BBQ or how many steps down from the kitchen to the back yard that divines our final design. It is the same with adding an ADU, whether it is in the basement or a stand alone structure.

There are a myriad of practical details to consider for a successful integration of old and new. You want to gain a desirable ADU, and add function to your existing home and landscape without losing privacy or functional space.

Privacy fence designed for ADU landscape in north Portland, Oregon

An interesting screen design creates privacy between the original home and the new ADU.

Plan landscape integration along with the ADU design

Design with both properties needs for privacy and outdoor functions.

When we are designing a free standing ADU, the landscape goals for the existing home need to be taken into consideration. The best of all worlds is an ADU design/build contractor who works regularly with a landscape designer for collaboration. So bring me into the initial design meetings with your contractor.  My spouse brings me into the initial planning stages of his ADU designs, although he has always thought of the landscape as a full partner to the success of the project, (must be the company he keeps).

Finding a design build contractor with an emphasis on design is necessary to learn what the potential of your property will yield. There may be multiple ways to site the structure and exploring options with both your design build contractor and your landscape designer is the path to a great design that fits you and your property.

Bob is your Guy

My husband Robert designs and builds ADU’s.  We create great spaces together….I collaborate by helping him with options for placement of a patio or point out the advantage of moving a door. Sometimes we surprise the client with a nifty use of space that improves usability of both landscapes. And he is so aware of the potential of the landscape that he sometimes does these things without my assistance…..so if you are looking for an excellent someone to transform a dank old basement into a sparky desirable  apartment or ADU,  convert your garage or build a separate ADU structure in your back yard……..Bob is your guy.

His clients love his work and like the way he takes their ideas and makes them work beautifully (like I do with your landscape).

Bob Lindsay 503-539-5943.  Urban Renaissance LLC 

He has a web site which does not show much about ADUs. It shows one or two remodels but mostly shows the tricky hillside homes he designed and built up in Willamette Heights before 2008.  After the crash in 2008, he transformed his company into a residential design and remodel service.  He especially enjoys ADU’s, studios, and basement remodels.   Call him, 503-539-5943 to talk more about your project.

Here are few of his ADU projects from the past 2 years.

North Plains – add a full apartment for an elder parent.

Design and remodel this home, taking the space of the porch overhang and adding it to the apartment.  This left the original entry to the home untouched and gave wonderful light to the apartment.  After completion, the house still looks like a single family home.

Basement ADU in NE Portland

Design and remodel the basement of this charming bungalow in NE Portland to add a full apartment for use as guest housing or as a rental.

“I hired Bob and his crew to do my kitchen remodel and then again for my basement remodel (into an ADU). They brought a very high level of home building experiences, creativity, integrity and sustainable building practices to the project. The results speak to those attributes and I could not be happier. The entire process from design budgeting tear down to build up was well communicates and efficiently implemented. I highly recommend Bob and his Urban Renaissance team to help you make your dreams become reality.”  Bill B.

Simple adu was built in the deep backyard of a house which faced on the street behind . This adu is designed for ada compliance. and is fully wheelchair accessible.

2 free standing ADU’s -North Portland

Both of these ADU’s are fully ADA compatible, (The American Disabilities Act)

This client has hired Bob for many projects over the past 20 years, kitchen remodels, and their home remodel of the living room and entry.  The most recent were these 2 free standing ADU’s built to be rentals.  Both are wheelchair accessible and comply with the American Disabilities Act.

Thinking of adding an ADU to your backyard or home?  Contact me Carol Lindsay for a thoughtful landscape plan that we create together at your kitchen table.  Working together makes the best designs.

 

Swim Spa Low Maintenance Landscape Design

Landscaping The Swim Spa That Took Over The Backyard

Swim spa in small backyard required low maintenance privacy landscaping.

Rachael and her family like to swim even in December when this photo was taken with the blooming Camellia Sasanqua ‘Yuletide’.

Rachael and her family like to swim. They have twin toddlers who have been swimming since they were three months old. Seeing them playing like baby otters is adorable, even cuter than puppies which is saying something!

Existing Conditions

Prior to the swim spa their backyard was a pleasant place with a tiny lawn, a covered patio, and some easy-care plantings.  They also had a beloved gorgeous 36-inch diameter trunk California myrtle tree that shaded half the yard.  The new swim spa dominated the back yard and the mud from the construction process made it a poor place for toddlers to play. This new situation was beyond heading to the plant nursery to select a few new plants.  They needed a designer to re-design the backyard, create solutions for privacy and manipulate the space to maximize every inch.

Landscape Design in a Day

Rachael and I talked on the phone and we were a great fit.  We scheduled a Landscape Design in a Day, my collaborative design process, and they started preparing their base drawing and working through my landscape survey questions.   I was really looking forward to this one but it was going to be so tricky!  We met at their home one cool spring day to create the design together.

Privacy

The new 10′ x 20′ swim spa sits four plus feet above the ground making the swimmers very visible to neighbors.  They wanted privacy for themselves and in case their neighbors didn’t really want to watch them swim, for the neighbors too.

Low maintenance screening plants for swim spa backyard.

Camellia Sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ helps screen swim spa.

The privacy issues for small properties with close neighbors is often tricky.  On one side of the property it was easy.  The California myrtle and a couple of mature rhododendron would solve most of the problems on that side.  Three things would need to happen.   We needed to stop pruning back the tops of the old rhodies, they would need to be treated each year for lace bug and be irrigated.  For the last privacy hole on this side we would fill it with a New Zealand Box Tree.  I will prune it myself the first few times, Azara Microphylla to help it fit into the difficult spot that is right next to the gate.  It is needed to screen out a neighbor’s window that is on the first floor.  It’s important to use a small tree that won’t get too big for this spot and this tree was the perfect solution.

Bamboo Screen

The back-property line was difficult because the swim spa was right next to the fence.  We had only a few feet for a privacy planting and it needed to grow to 10 feet tall and very narrow in order to fit.   I used my faithful clumping bamboo up in planters. This variety of clumping bamboo, Fargesia Robusta ‘Campbell’, stands straight up so it will not weep over and interfere with the swimming. Most varieties of clumping bamboo have too much weeping and arching shape to them and don’t work well for tiny landscapes.  The planters were advantageous for many reasons.  1st we would not need to dig deep and disturb the root system of the beloved California Myrtle tree.  2nd we could use an ideal soil mixture in the planters so the bamboo would thrive.  They will grow in our local clay top soil but will do much better in a soil mix that drains well.  3rd by putting them in planters they would be taller from the beginning.

Newly installed landscape around existing hardscape.

We utilized the existing walkway which fit the client’s cottage garden style and her budget.

The privacy for the driveway side was the hardest.  We needed to screen out a second story window at the neighbors and had no planting area to do it with.  We decided to use an arbor.  It fit beautifully and we were all enthusiastic about it.  However, when all the numbers came in, the arbor wasn’t a practical choice.  When I visited recently to see how things were growing along we talked about a more affordable solution.

Before swim spa low maintenance landscaping was installed.

Before – The new swim spa dominated the back yard.

Two small trees in very large pots placed strategically will be part of a future phase.  In a small yard situation like this tiny backyard we can’t afford to leave the driveway to the garage read as a driveway.   They didn’t use the small garage for parking a car.  Using furniture and pots we made this area a sunny sitting area.

Rachael says

“Hi Carol,  Nice to hear from you.  Yes we would love for you to come by and take a look.  All the Camellia Sasanqua  are blooming and they are beautiful!  The bamboo is already growing and we love our little backyard oasis.  Thank you for referring us to Scott Schultze, Tellurian Gardens.  He and his crew did a great job installing the new landscape.”