Thank you to everyone who attended and supported our 2013 Garden Tour!
Please save the date for our 10th annual tour: Saturday June 28, 2014
I was hired to redesign the whole property but the emphasis was on the back yard. The homeowners wanted to make their outdoor space more liveable - the different areas more cohesive with an emphasis on outdoor entertaining. The homeowners had just completed an extensive interior remodel of their kitchen and living area so that is where I gained inspiration for the materials that were going to be used outdoors. I used a color palette for the stone work on the outdoor kitchen and fireplace that was similar to the tile in the kitchen. For the backsplash on the cook island we used fused and frosted glass by the same artist who fabricated the indoor bar.
The deck was a rather unusable space: narrow with only a tight and misplaced stairway to get down to a lower patio area. The lower patio had an old, built-in hot tub that the homeowners never used, and also a portable greenhouse and many types of containers to grow vegetables. Off the deck in the other direction was a gravel area that had served as a dog yard for the previous owner. There was a small lawn area and an overgrown perennial bed. The rest of the property had mature trees that provide shade for the west facing deck.
Homeowners John and Dorcas Gawlista initially sought help from designer Izzy Baptista in creating a more visible and friendly front entrance. "The entire entrance was hidden by a huge Japanese holly along with some other plants and an overgrown camellia. From the street one could see only a prominent driveway and the garage door." The front garden also needed some editing: removing overgrown "thugs" and plants that looked great for a month or so before becoming an eyesore the rest of the year. Together, Izzy, Dorcas, and John (a landscape contractor) set to work.
Stacked stone garden beds, beautiful paver work, and a solid, nicely proportioned pergola helped solve many of the issues: connecting the house to the garden, adding a vertical element to the predominantly horizontal lines of the house, and providing privacy to the large kitchen window. Judicious pruning of existing shrubbery to highlight their form, reshaping the lawn, and adding colorful perennials, grasses, and plants with year round interest also helped create a more welcoming and lush entrance.
Nice home, great location; close to downtown Portland, but a difficult garden: a homeowner's dilemma and a landscape designer's delight. For over a year, Maury and Nancy Plumlee debated the pros and cons of leaving their lovely home or finding someone who was able to create a garden from their steep unappealing yard. They found Lori Scott with great ideas and a team of landscape professionals who could take Lori's ideas and create a masterpiece.
In 2008 Nancy and Maury had many desires for their new landscape: a water feature, a gas fire pit, a flat lawn for dogs, and privacy. They also wanted to be free of the problems: crumbling awkward decks, persistent swampy beds, and a difficult slope. After spending time with Maury and Nancy so she could understand their desires and needs, Lori created a design that addressed these issues beautifully. Then Lori walked them through the process of selecting contractors and installing the design.
Vern Nelson, "The Hungry Gardener", professional photographer, illustrator, and garden columnist, has been educating Oregonians for almost 25 years. His classroom is his garden. We are privileged to step into the center of his world this June as a part of the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers, 2013 Ninth Annual Designers Garden Tour. The first stop on our tour of seven West Portland Gardens, (where we will experience the minds and hearts of Northwest designers) is the garden of Mary Sherman and Vern Nelson.
Their garden is an intensively planted kitchen garden with a keen focus on low maintenance edible plants. Raised vegetable beds and espalier fruit trees provide structure for the garden, while open spaces and a new covered patio allow room for people to visit and learn about new and old ways to grow their own food. A wood fired bread oven is often the center of neighborhood gatherings and impromptu baking classes. Vern and Mary will be on hand to talk about edible gardening and share the joy they have had creating this garden together.