Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Landscape Design: Alana Chau
Install: Mostly homeowner DIY with help from
George and Gabe Fencing http://georgeandgabe.com/
Pegasus Concrete LLC https://pegasus-concrete-llc.business.site/
Trask and Shauna came to me with some DIY skills and plenty of enthusiasm. They knew they liked certain plants and they knew their front yard was "all potential", but they didn't know how to organize the space. They also needed advice about what they should tackle themselves and which parts are better left to professionals.
This lovely home has an oversized front yard on a corner lot. Before, it was mostly sloping lawn with prominent utilities right up front.
The homeowners asked for a pollinator-attracting garden that was relaxing, interesting, lower water and lower maintenance. They also wanted a little bit of privacy without blocking out their wonderful neighbors.
Landscaping for *Partial* Privacy
I often see articles entitled: "Landscaping for Privacy", but what if you only want partial privacy? In other words, you want the yard to feel welcoming and you want to say hi to neighbors as you move through the garden, but once you sit down, it's just you and your book and the sounds of the water feature. There are many strategies to achieve half-privacy.
In this garden, we used a low concrete wall to slightly raise the main garden and create vertical separation, then added a low fence with a bit of space between horizontal boards to keep a little light and airiness.
Low-water, Low-maintenance Garden
These homeowners love plants, which always allows me to have a bit more fun with the plant palette. But first, we wanted to save and use as many of the existing plants as possible. The plan called for dividing and reusing all the grasses, especially Feather Reed Grass, Switch Grass, and Fountain Grass (see full list at end). We relocated a few evergreens and worked around the beautiful maple.
In order to create a small pollinator meadow without adding too much maintenance, a bluestone stepping stone path goes right through it. Not only does this keep the overall square footage smaller, but it allows very easy access to do the once-per-year cutback of the perennials. The easy care evergreen shrubs that frame the garden include Buplerium and Metapanex.
The clients also love rock garden plants. Luckily, the front approach was the perfect location for this type of garden. The concrete of the sidewalks and driveway plus the wall of the house creates a classic sun trap, which is the perfect location for low-growing, drought-tolerant plants such as Euphobia rigida and Arctostaphylos hookeri.
I love combining poured concrete, crushed rock and variegated bluestone. They all contain the neutral light grey but with three totally different textures and speckles of other natural colors. It's all installed for maximum winter water drainage. Add cedar fencing, basalt boulders and cor-ten steel planters, and you've got a classic Pacific Northwest combination that will age beautifully.
Landscape Design and Plant List
For those who love the details, here is the plan-view design and plant list:
Last but not least, a moment of zen (video courtesy of Trask):