The Nicest Benefit of Being a Landscape Designer

1 Jul

This morning I was at a long time clients, 1998 or so, deadheading and detailing her rose garden for the daughter’s wedding Saturday afternoon. The rose garden in a front yard was challenging to design, but it has provided so much pleasure and now a wedding. Wow. What better way to be proud of what I do and the beauty it adds to a home and family memories. I wish the heavenly old rose fragrance could be conveyed in this picture.


Kelly will be married under the rose arbor.

The Cactus Bloom Saga continues – The value of waiting your turn.

24 Jun

I have learned that Cactus are quite polite and genteel. Each plant has bloomed one at a time waiting for one to finish blooming before the next starts. My last, the prickly pear is just starting to bloom. The first blooms were coral orange and today they are yellow.



I’m sure that over the years, cactus have figured out that they need all the insects they can get when blooming so to compete for bugs is a losing battle. There is a message here for us too.

Desert Bloom continues

22 Jun


Even a bumble bee likes my cactus blooms. This will be the last of the blooms on this cactus, but the other ones are just showing color.

Desert Bloom

14 Jun

Yesterday morning, coffee in hand,  I came across my 1st desert cactus in bloom.  Yes, in my own front yard.  This is quite the event. When I planted the cactus after our spring home and garden show,  I wasn’t sure of anything.  Cactus in Portland?  oolala

This morning it was wilted.


A touch of tranquility

11 Jun

My client wanted a front yard that has low maintenance, no grass, low water usage and reflected her profession as an acupuncturist.   Her symbol for the business is the Chinese sign for tranquility, so we put it on a metal disc placed in a new gate entering the private garden area.

The low fence around the graveled area is the same design as the gate.  It gives the garden a finished look

You see Microbiota decussata, a low conifer, by the path as well as purple heuchera.  A Pinus strobus ‘Pendula” (weeping white pine) and a Nyssa sylvatica (Tupelo) are in the background.   A large existing Magnolia is showing above the gate.

Front Yard Makeover with an Asian feel

Front Yard Makeover with an Asian feel

Tranquility Gate

Tranquility Gate

Before make over
Before make over

At the getty

19 Mar

getty group

For too many years Christine and I have wanted to see the gardens at the getty. Here we are, finally. I don’t know if Christine even made it inside, the outside was so fabulous.

Modern Metal Gate

20 Jan

Metal Gate with a Fusion Twist


This gate was made about twenty years ago and then mounted it in a stucco wall.  I couldn’t part with it when we moved, so I yanked it out of the wall, patched the stucco and brought with me when we moved to our mid century home.  After agonizing over how a new frame would look, it seemed that a stylized torii gate (that’s the part that holds it up) would be appropriate for the age of our house.

When I had this gate commissioned, the idea of making such an investment on art seemed kind of crazy to me.  But I’d been dreaming of the design for months and and it just seemed so right.  I’m still grateful after all this time that it’s with me.


Trellis as Art

6 Jan

A bold metal trellis gives a sense of privacy to this front courtyard.

Trellis designed by Christine, landscape design by Carolyn.


Snazzy Trellis

Courtyard Trellis


Retaining Wall Nightmare becomes a Dream

30 Aug

When I first came to this yard I was crestfallen that a this poor house had to live behind such walls. There is a street on the upper side of the walls, so an engineer thought they should be substantial.  But I put on my thinking cap and came up with a few ideas to take the eye away from the over powering wall.

The eye follows the path to the water feature.  The water feature is raised to give it more emphasis than the wall.  From the water feature, the eye is drawn to the elevated trees in the background.  Adding a couple feet of soil to the back area made the new trees appear to be taller than they are and the wall less looming.

Woody’s Custom Landscaping of Battleground did the installation

crazy bad front yard

crazy bad front yard

crazy bad front yard

Front yard becomes a swan

The Shed Gallery

19 Aug

Do you have a shed?  Does it have blank Walls?  What a missed opportunity! While strolling through art shows, a few things made their way home.  Now what to do?  Awe there’s a blank wall on the shed.  The secret, like indoor walls,  place groupings of  a collection and create lines for the eye to follow.  I’m ready for more art shows and to add to my mask collection.  IMGP4265IMGP7990 IMGP7994 IMGP7995