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

Front yard becomes a swan

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

Nature Seems to Know

15 Aug

How is it that colors are always perfect in nature. This desert mallow, Sphaeratcea muricana seems to know the rusty orange and golden yellow it needs to be to set off the painted hills of Oregon.  This is a hard one to duplicate in your backyard.  IMGP6961 IMGP7015 IMGP6937

Native Plants: easy maintenance

13 Aug

Cirsium edule, common name thistle, drought tolerant, easy to grow, beautiful flowers, attractsIMGP5420IMGP6058 IMGP6061 bees and butterflies.   What more can one ask for?

Oregon has two native cactus

8 Aug

This little cactus is about as cute as you can imagine unless you’ve discovered it with bare feet or ankles.  Oregon is full of wildflowers in every season,  but I love late spring.

Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha

In the miles of sage brush tucked away in  tiny holes and crevasses are some of Oregon's most unusual plants.

In the miles of sage brush tucked away in tiny holes and crevasses are some of Oregon’s most unusual plants.

Country Garden

6 Aug

A garden begins to come of age in its second season.  The plants are deer resistant and drought tolerant.  The sea of perennials require little work except for fall clean up.  Things were planted in the fall to allow them to get established over the winter and take advantage of the rain. We’re now working on replacing the few plants that didn’t make it and trying to figure out why the yarrow didn’t want to grow there.

Fire pit in a country garden

Fire pit in a country garden

Flagstone entryway

Flagstone entryway

Celebrate the old stump

Celebrate the old stump

Fill the yard with carefree, drought tolerant, deer resistant perennials

 

Deck/Paver Success

23 Jul

What to do with a big piece of grass on a hillside?  Add a deck and a covered spa.  The slope is an advantage because the top of the spa can sit at the deck level, making an easy in and out transition. Steps lead to a paver patio with a fire pit and seat wall.  The fire pit has an automatic lighter.  The seat wall is part retaining wall.

Before Deck/Patio

Before Deck/Patio

 Deck/Patio Combo

Deck/Patio Combo

Deck/patio combo

Deck/patio combo

KUMQUAT FIND

29 May

KUMQUAT. Cantonese for “golden orange”

Every once in awhile I pass kumquats in the store and they plead with me to buy a few.  I do, hoping they’ll be a little exotic treat.  Most of the time I’m disappointed. The bite is like bittter orange rind.  From time to time one or two have a burst of sweet, sour and bitter all together and that’s the bingo! of kumquats.

A kumquat tree had never nudged the edges of my day dreams, but while in Palm Spring recently I came across a tree loaded with almond sized orange niblets.  I ran to the tree and plucked off a kumquat, and then another and more and more until my tongue was numb.  Bushels of delicious exotic treats.  Due to many days of kumquat overeating they probably won’t be able to talk their way into my grocery cart for a long time
20140509_105033 kumquat tree

Gold Medal Winner

21 Feb

We received a gold medal for this garden at Home and Garden Show this weekend in Portland.  Another metal screen designed by Christine is in the background.  Part of the wall is made of stained cedar connected with leather straps.  The black bowl has rocks that look like they are floating.  Christine glued rocks onto canning jars and setting them in water.  People are so curious they keep picking up the rocks to see how it’s done, somewhat to my chagrin.  Too bad you can’t make out the kangaroo paws in the back.  They are interesting annuals.

Landscape Inspired Art

4 Feb

GnE post_front TEST

We’re installing a garden at the Home and Garden Show Fe 20-23.  As usual, we’re incorporating ideas no clients would allow us to put in their yard.  There will be 2 x 12 wood scraps hinged together with leather alongside old buckets that will be used to build a retaining wall.  We’ll also show how colorful foliage can complement and enhance one another along with flowers, something that is one our strengths.   And Christine has designed a new steel screen for this garden.

We commissioned Jonathan Gregg to create an illustration based on our garden concept.  The screen is in the background.