Hillside Hideaway, Seattle WA

The owner of this Seattle home, a garden enthusiast, wanted to upgrade the landscaping and asked me to come up with a plan.

The sloped lot on a wooded hillside provided both opportunities and challenges. I created a series of terraces along the side of the house to transform an awkward slope into a place for a new patio surrounded by plantings. The terraces themselves function as a series of connected garden rooms that flow together, making it easy to move about the site.

On the home’s entry level, we enlarged the main patio using architectural slabs that reflect the clean lines of the house and blend seamlessly with the existing concrete. Steppable groundcover adds visual interest and natural stone risers provide a graceful transition to the woodland garden below. The natural flagstone patio underfoot, with lush plantings all around and mature trees overhead, enables you to feel as though you’ve been transported far from the city. Beyond the woodland, and visible from the patio during summertime, a collection of shade-loving perennials is bordered by organic timbers. A combination of native, woodland and ornamental plants keeps the garden palette interesting.

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Ballard Neighborhood, Seattle WA

A lovingly restored Ballard bungalow deserves a fitting garden. The owner, a master gardener, loves plants and hired me to create a comprehensive plan to solve problems like screening the apartment house next door. The pathway is made of repurposed brick from the original chimney and recycled stepping stones add to the relaxed air. I focused on plants that create structure and continuity with emphasis on seasonal focal points. The result: there is always something interesting popping up or coming into bloom.

By The River—North Bend, WA

This home came with the ultimate back yard water feature: the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. However, on the other side of the house, the front yard was overdue for a renovation. An assortment of overgrown and ailing plants obscured the house and hid the entry from visitors.

My client was enthusiastic about the opportunity to start fresh with a cohesive plan that would provide curb appeal and also pleasant views from living room. The goal: To create a welcoming garden that blends with its natural surroundings. The result: A low-maintenance landscape with year-round interest and a defined sense of entry.

Now an unstructured natural stone border defines the edge of the garden and blends seamlessly with the informal crushed rock driveway, while re-enforcing the natural feeling of the setting. Flagstone replaced the existing aggregate landing and now a lush carpet of bright green Isotoma fluviatilis (Bluestar Creeper) grows between the stones and among plants, echoing the mossy floor of the surrounding woods. We used stone risers as steps leading to the garden where natural stepping stones create a meandering path to the backyard and river beyond. New dwarf conifers and broadleaf evergreens look at home among the towering Douglas firs overhead and provide structure during the wintertime when some plants are dormant. During spring and summer, perennials will add color and texture to the garden.

Mercer Island, WA

Curb appeal. Native plants and ornamentals, pop under a canopy of mature Douglas Fir.