Perennial Beds and Hardscaping

Terraced entry gardens with 4-season interest

This front yard redesign project is located on a steep, north-facing bank with clay soils and poor drainage. Using a series of dry stack retaining walls, we terraced the garden space to increase planting area and introduce structure to the garden.

Roses and grasses play key roles in this garden. Multiple custom-built cedar trellises are being added to these gardens for long term structure.

We rehabilitated some shrubs and installed others to create a vibrant tapestry of color and texture with year-round interest.

Stone steps and retaining walls were installed on the north side of the house, with dry rock stream bed along the street gutter.




Urban farmstead and sanctuary

Here is the skeleton for a back yard farm, before fruit trees and berry bushes. Existing elements such as an arbor and large water feature as well as many established plants and shrubs were saved and incorporated into the new design.

Large planters keep the vegetables away from two energetic dogs. Chicken coop next year!

Colorful natural paving stones in the new paths and patio give the garden spaces a warm tone, even in the barest winter months.


Steep & dry: a hillside shade garden

A difficult slope with existing steps and woodland gardens needed some reinforcing, so we employed compost “socks”, woven jute retention fabric, live stakes and a straw wattle to help keep fallen leaves and additional compost on the slope long enough for plants to establish. We used native salal, sword fern and ground covers such as strawberries, kinnick kinnick and honey suckle.




Steep corner bank into perennial tapestry

Another difficult slope redesign began with the placement of several anchor boulders to create a perennial buffer below the flat, usable area near the house. Many natives and drought tolerant plants were planted here to stabilize the slope, entice birds and pollinators, and create a screen from a busy street corner. The boulders offer a handy perch for children at the school bus stop. They are “indigenous,” salvaged from Seattle construction sites.

Gabions, rock-filled metal cages, provide additional slope support and transition the ornamental landscape into a set of planter boxes for vegetables. A wooden fence and street trees will be part of this spring’s installation. Ongoing pruning is needed to rehabilitate existing shrubs from “pom-poms” and return them to a more naturalistic shape.



Pollinator & wildlife-friendly planting strips

This is our big push for 2016: turning sad parking strips into vibrant, low-water gardens for bees, butterflies & other winged friends.


Water-wise Planting Strip, year 1


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