I recently had the opportunity to design a petite space on a very elegant houseboat. The house has modern lines and the view is incredible – as waterfront as you can get. The downside for the client is little privacy. Kayakers pull right up to the edge of their deck and peer in – and who can blame them with such an interesting house. To create a soft barrier enclosing the space (yet not impeding the view) I designed low benching to be attached at the deck edge. This performs double duty providing extra seating when entertaining or a place to lie in the sun – all without taking too much precious deck space. It also conveys the message “private space” for the floating lookie-loos. I added a screen on the north side of the deck to provide privacy from the closest houseboat neighbor and further enhance the sense of enclosure. The architect/builder who will be creating these elements had the fantastic idea to put the screen on a track so it can be pulled out when privacy is needed and pushed back for a sense of openness. Pots frame the space and add a bit of leafy softness. I opted for a palette of black pots on the deck and one showy copper red pot by the front door – picking up the rich trim color. I kept the planting simple – I am not a fan of overstuffed annuals in pots. I prefer interesting evergreen foliage plants in pots and one per pot when possible. This provides elegant, clean lines and is very low maintenance. The ebullient flower stuffed pots may be lovely in summer, but most have to be redone every year and they provide little winter interest. Plants used included a small Acer palmatum in rich chocolate-copper tones to add height and echo the house colors, a few dwarf conifers which are perfect for pots and Nassella tenuissima flanked by a copper colored Heuchera.
I planted the pots yesterday and the hardscape elements will be installed next. I was not alone while planting – a family of ducks observed my progress from right off the deck. They were every cute, but of no help whatsoever when the lens cap bounced out of my hand and into the water. Nonetheless, I took a few pictures.
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I can finally sit back and reflect on the gardens installed this spring and enjoy the spaces we created. I think the end tally was seven gardens that were installed or spruced. I had some wonderful clients & projects and made fabulous new furry friends (that means you Louie and Sadie…). Sadie would bound outside every time I came to the garden – except the days it hailed. Then she stayed on her kitty bed inside, nice and warm. At another garden, Louie was always thrilled to see me and even happier to lick my face.
A few before and afters. Looking forward to seeing the gardens fill in over the next year…
Beach Garden -
This is a gem of a garden proves that you can accomplish much in a tight space. Like most beach properties, neighboring houses are situated close around this garden and a sense of enclosure was needed without creating a dividing wall between neighbors. Horizontal fencing not only adds a modern flair, but echoes the existing screening. Fence sections were offset to create privacy without making the space feel closed in. New stairways were added from the house to connect home and garden. A stock tank water feature ties into the metal siding on the house and the modern architecture. This is a garden I could live in. See before & after shots below.
Hilltop Garden -
The house was perched at the top of a knoll, yet disconnected from the landscape. The clients had done a great job on the back gardens and wanted a new direction for the front. We needed structure and formality, while still relating the gardens to the rural surroundings. The clients wanted a Pac NW modern/Asian feel, yet the architecture is country modern. So we settled in the middle for a design with modern tones that honors the site and architecture. The entrance is more formal and plantings are predominantly evergreen to provide all season interest. Around the terracing and a small patio within the garden, the plantings become less formal and evocative of the surrounding mowed field.
before - front entrance path
after - front entrance path
before - front garden
after - front garden
Meadow Garden – Year 3
The third year brings lush growth and maturity to the Meadow Garden – see Case Studies on the Bliss site for more information about this garden. A few pictures from this spring….
after - year 3
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Posted in Uncategorized on 2011/07/04 |
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In a few weeks, I head down to LA to work on the second phase of my parents garden make over. To recap – we already pulled out a large section of lawn and replaced it with a drought tolerant and site appropriate garden. Paths wind around naturalistic plantings creating an inviting space to wander. The next phase is planting an area where extensive stone work has just been completed. I will be using a similar plant palette, however with slightly more architectural selections since this area includes the main entrance.
My dad shot the garden we completed last year. A bit bright on the light & glare, but it gives a good idea of how things have filled in. I included the before & after shots. That pot in front is a bit wild and wooly and needs some attention when I get there…
UPDATE – A better shot from my recent trip…more to come
just after planting
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