Finally the last piece of the design and installation we did for a lovely bungalow, tucked into a quiet neighborhood in Montrose. The couple had recently renovated with a very light and airy modern inside. The home had lots of windows that looked out on to the garden areas on both sides. With this in mind we created a garden full of vignettes to be viewed from different rooms all the while making it a cohesive garden to enjoy while outside and viewed as a whole. We used a mixture of low maintenance natives and acclimated plants that will have a naturalist look once they are grown in. We irrigated the entire property using only drip tubing in the beds, the only spray heads are in the small front lawn. Behind the flanking Chinese fringe trees there are gates leading to gardens on each side. The spaces are meant to be tranquil and attract wildlife. The over all design is a fusion of naturalist and Zen.
The East garden is where you will find a more modern hardscape, than the west garden with its winding dry creek path. Straight paths that leads you to a large patio that abuts a deck using clean lines. Rainbow gravel is used throughout all the gardens to tie it all together. The last piece of the installation was putting in Low Voltage lighting with LED programmable and dimmable fixtures in a flat black finish which helps them disappear during the day while still giving you lovely light in the evening. Before we started the project the homeowners had all new fencing installed and trimmed up the tree canopy to let in more light.
Before, of the east garden. Similar to the west garden, it is used as the main back yard. This garden has morning sun and lots of shade from large existing trees.
Process shot, the paths will be rainbow gravel (installed 3” thick) leading between the two cement pad patios, also functioning as a conveyance for excess rainfall; the water is carried to the rear of the property where their is an alley and the opening to the garage.
In this east side garden I used strong geometry created by the paths and patios, providing a stable frame into which we planted a soft pallet of native and acclimated perennials, ornamental grasses and understory trees. This smaller cement patio can be over flow for a large gathering or a place to sit and get another view of the garden.
There were two decks on this side of the house we call the East garden. The home owners wanted more spaces for entertaining and cooking outside. I designed cement pad patios off each deck. The smaller deck was just thru the gate from the front yard and off the room they use as an office.
Below is the view from little deck. Having grown in since it was planted 8 months ago, the space is low-maintenance with a woodland feel. To the right next to the bump out on the house you can see the Possumhaw holly full of leaves.
Here is the view from the small patio that is next to the small deck. We attached welded wire to the wood fence to create a green wall that will further define this as a separate area. In later shots you will see that the River birch on the left behind the chairs and Redbud on the right off the little deck also make it more secluded.
Below is a before shot of the deck before we added the cement pad patio.
We enlarged this main entertaining space by adding a water permeable patio right off the largest deck. The 2” thick concrete pads, set parallel to deck, and in-filled with 3/8” rainbow gravel have the feeling of flowing out from the deck area. We produced a gentle slope towards the rear of the property to move excess water out of this space.
We created a corner bed with a Redbud tree as the anchor plant and it will give interesting seasonal interest. The couple found the copper wind sculpture by Lyman Whitaker to add as an art piece and symbolize the element of wind in the garden. The gray metal box in the lower right corner is the gate opener. This allows a large opening and access to the short driveway and alley.
The element of water is present in this beautiful Hudson Box Cistern Fountain by Branch, part of Detroit Garden Works. I saw it online and felt it would be perfect for this more modern side of the garden. I was so pleased that the clients agreed. Deborah Silver (click her name for link to her great blog Dirt Simple) and her staff from Branch were so helpful and very easy to work with. I wish I had room in my own garden for one of their wonderful steel fountains. If you haven’t seen their online catalog you should check it out, just amazing planters and fountains.
The fountain was placed to been seen from anywhere in this east garden and it provides a subtle white-noise to drown out the sounds of the urban surroundings. The fountain, forged steel with an industrial feel, continues the modern theme and is meant to be a water source for birds. The blue daze around the fountain never recovered from a late frost and we recently replaced them with Blue Chip buddleia.
The fence stops and starts with the neighbors garage wall right on the property line. We incorporated it into the design and suggested a row of tall planters be placed in front of it. We installed micro-tubes to water them all aromatically. The home owners found these sleek modern tall dark gray containers and they planted them with Firecraker plants, Russelia equisetiformis.
I can see myself enjoying living in this garden. What do you think?