Design Considerations

In over thirty years practice, I’ve learned a few things:

Low-maintenance is key.

Even the most passionate gardeners want to cut routine gardening chores. I design with this as a given. Reducing or eliminating lawn is an important step in this direction, replacing it with drought-hardy plantings is another.

Chemicals are unnecessary.

I encourage clients to go organic, and my garden designs facilitate this.

Sustainable is more than a buzzword.

For example, the concrete pavers I like to use, when set in sand over crushed rock, allow the vast majority of rainwater to percolate into the ground rather than running into our waterways. They are made in the Northwest from abundant local materials.

Color and fragrance captivate.

My gardens usually have something in bloom every day of the year. Other plants chime in with colorful foliage, bark or berries. Fragrant flowers and foliage add a delicious element, too. I like to use winter-flowering plants near entries and windows so you can enjoy the color and fragrance ( and hummingbirds!) easily.

Comfortable surfaces for walking and relaxing are a must.

Cracked concrete, sagging decks or humpy lawns are no place to enjoy the outdoors, and muddy trails and shifting stairways are uncomfortable if not dangerous. Fixing those is the first priority.

Making the most of outdoor living space is a top priority.

I have many years experience finding space for sitting, playing and entertaining without sacrificing all your greenery. Leveling a sloping lawn with retaining walls and drought-hardy plants gives you more living space and way less upkeep.

Opinions on such issues as privacy vs. views and sun vs. shade.

Opinions vary even within one household. Usually a garden needs some of each rather than a compromise. The same holds with plants. Lush foliage or minimalism ? Palms and flamingos or strictly native? We can work it out.

More people than ever want to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

I have always worked edibles into my designs and have laid out many a raised vegetable bed. Clients often underestimate the time and attention food plants require, but careful selection, proper location and drip irrigation can make it deliciously rewarding.

Most clients have only a partial view of the possibilities for their outdoors.

It’s my job to show you the range of spaces and details, plants and materials we can use to make your garden exciting, satisfying and personal.