Karen Chapman | , , , , , , , , , || By
- A child-friendly, low maintenance space to enjoy as a family.
- Flexible play space for their 2 year old son.
- Room for a BBQ and seating for up to 6 occasionally, although the primary need was for just 3.
- Casual seating was referred over a formal table and chairs for sit-down meals as the home's kitchen/dining area is just steps away.
- A larger deck with easy access, leading onto a small lawn and framed by simple planting beds.
- Room for a fire pit or fire table.
- Plantings to be have four-season interest but not to feel too busy
Making the space feel largerBy turning the entire design 45degrees I was able to take advantage of the longer diagonal axis. This expands the visual line and I could use the "borrowed view" of distant trees to add to the illusion. This bold geometry works well with the contemporary architecture of the neighborhood (more evident from the front of the home and interior design). I emphasized the line by running the deck boards at 45 degrees to the home – another trick which makes the shallow garden feel larger. The clients selected the decking color which works well with their interior scheme. We were able to eliminate the space wasting step and build the deck out at grade from the home. The steps down to the side gate and lawn became a design feature, with integral lighting for safety at night.
Creating flexible spaceAdding a small extension to the deck, parallel to the home created a secondary sitting area/play space with a change of perspective that looks out onto the forest. While a bench has been suggested, there is also enough room for a small sandbox. The large open deck has become a popular track for the young child to ride his little bicycle on! Once the furniture arrives this space will be reduced somewhat but he loves it for now. The small lawn is also a lovely soft spot for bare toes to enjoy now that the drainage problems have been mitigated. Container gardens can be used to grow a few easy edibles or herbs without taking up space in the borders.
Making it low maintenanceThe deck is a synthetic product with no need for staining or sanding. All plants are easy care with no specific pruning or skills needed. Perennials have all been selected for their reliability in terms of vigor, disease resistance and superior performance. The existing irrigation system has been upgraded and adapted. An application of mulch reduces weed problems
Focal PointThe clients are still selecting a piece of art, a sculptural urn or perhaps a birdbath to fill the spot indicated on the design. This will be a primary focal point visible from the kitchen and offer a welcome splash of color in winter months. When that is installed we may add a few extra plants to complete that area.
FurnitureSleek, black, contemporary furniture is on it's way. I believe my clients selected a sofa and single chair. The position of the contemporary propane fire pit may be adjusted at that time but is small enough to easily be moved as needed. I'm excited to see it all!
PlantingsAlthough the shrubs will get taller and the perennials will fill in to form a carpet, the design will retain a sense of order and restraint. Daffodils will be planted under the Asian pear for additional spring interest. As the ninebark, variegated hibiscus and Fire Chief arborvitae get taller they will largely hide the back fence, and become a colorful transition to the forest beyond that boundary while being distinctive from it.
Minor modificationsAs always a few things get changed once installation begins. We were able to keep an existing espaliered apple tree by the gate so the Hinoki cypress, specified on the plan on the western fence was not needed. We were also able to keep the original swing of the gate. As the grade was prepared for the deck, the contractor wisely saw the benefit of adding a shallow step leading to the lawn. Contractor Superstars As a design-only business I rely on top notch contractors to install my designs. These guys are the best; they always make me look so good! We have worked together in this way for many years now and our team approach is a true strength that everyone benefits from. From the initial client meeting over a year ago, through permitting for the deck, and irrigation decisions we were all able to communicate, problem solve and bring our collective expertise to the project. (Did I tell you that I love my work?!) Berg's Landscaping Woodmark Construction
Welcome to My Garden Adventures
I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.