Here are a few before and after shots of projects built from my designs.
Some were created with shoe-string, do-it-yourself budgets and others were professionally crafted. All began with the design process of articulating objectives, evaluating site challenges and exploring solutions. Below are examples of some of the more common landscape scenarios: lackluster entries, dominating garage/driveways, forgotten side yards, lack of privacy or intimacy, and shady gardens.

Woodland Modern

Back to the top ↑

The Objective: To create a naturalistic garden to soften and complement a modern home.

The Challenges: Shade from mature trees. Screening neighbors. Softening blocky building masses.

Nestled in a pine woodland cul de sac this modern home meticulously renovated by architect Ben Trogdon suffered from a landscape with lack of definition and lack of imagination.
Unlike many connosieurs of modern style who opt for a minimalist, highly controlled landscape, these owners wished to create a naturalistic garden that would both soften and complement the strong forms of the architecture. Large, moss-freckled granite boulders were used to give backbone to an understory carpet of ground cover and perennials and to provide weight to counter the large volumes of the house. A sculptural Weeping Alaskan cedar is silhouetted against the presenting garage canvas while espaliered Atlas cedars drape the walkway walls. Mounded earth subtly shelters and delineates the private entry spaces.

Transforming the perfunctory front lawn into a forest floor of shade loving perennials was the beginning of the garden re-visioning. A meandering flagstone path flows away from Ben’s architectural entry arbor tempting visitors into the serene spaces at the foot of a two story glass atrium. Massed plantings with subtle foliage tones and textures add to the calm of this asian inspired landscape while large ceramic containers quietly populate the garden.
This modern residence is now one with a landscape that invites, delights and envelopes providing owners and visitors a protected, focused arrival experience.

Rock Out-Crop Grows Up

Back to the top ↑

The Objective: Integrate a prominent rocky knoll into a garden view.

The Challenges: Scant soil, full sun.

A natural focal point on a basalt terrace, this rock out-cropping was dusted in ash left by Mt St Helens. Building up soil into a few pockets and choosing plants adapted to a tough, full-sun location allowed this rock to support a full complement of garden plants. The larger tree, grown from an 18” sapling is Contorted Japanese Larch, ‘Diane’. The smaller conifers include a Bristlecone Pine, Dwarf Mugo Pine and Gold Cone Juniper. Wooly Thyme clamors over the surface and Bagatelle Barberry, Germander, Salvia Icterina, Siver Tansy, and sun-tolerant Heuchera Obsidian thrive in slightly deeper soil along the edges. Pots finish the vignette adding architecture and a sense of permanence.

Read Residence – Dream Driveway

Back to the top ↑

Mission Charmer – A Proper Welcome

Back to the top ↑

The Objective: To give an older mission-style home updated, welcoming entries.

The Challenges: Awkward additions over the life of the house and a driveway up to the backdoor.

Gracious entries create excitement and anticipation. This home’s corner lot allowed for a garden promenade to the entry, but modifications to the house left the front door cramped and hidden. French doors now open to a new patio and broad curving steps greet visitors with a proper welcome. The expanded patio in front also provides a comfortable afternoon perch to watch the sunset. In the back a large deck added over an asphalt driveway makes a clear delineation between the cars and the backdoor entry. Simple arbor and screens strengthen the separation and add privacy from alley.

The Ridge Condominiums – Come Sit Awhile

Back to the top ↑

Objective: Create a welcoming entry for dated building with worn landscape.

Challenges: Multiple units requiring visability for security and views, narrow garden space bordering parking lot.

Worn landscapes can give a blighted look to older buildings. These owners decided to invest in their homes by replacing their small lawn at the entrance to their condos and a motley collection of shrubs and perennials with an inviting flagstone patio. An existing Magnolia tree was salvaged and a border of varied shade-loving perennials were selected to surround the patio with lush textures. Resident participation kept costs low and pride of ownership high.

Nelson Residence – Made in the Shade

Back to the top ↑

The Objective: Optimize sunny spots in a shaded garden; incorporate owner’s perennial collection with new shade-loving additions.

The Challenges: Crowded mature trees and uninspired rectangular lawn.

First, existing trees were pruned and removed to allow for good health and appearance. Lawn was reshaped and a peninsula-shaped flower bed created to divide the square yard into two ‘rooms’. The new flower bed captures the best sun in the yard for flowering perennials and adds a seductive curve that leads to a shady garden bench and potting shed. Ceramic bird bath creates a colorful focal point at the tip of the peninsula.

Distelhorst Residence – Side Yard Zen

Back to the top ↑

The Objective: Create a serene meditation garden out of a shared, side-yard lawn.

The Challenges: Exposed views to neighbor’s windows and patio, pass-through lawn and overgrown shrub border.

So often lawn is used to fill up the garden where more thoughtful design could provide an inspired and engaging space. Carefully placed freestanding wood screens and tori arch created just enough containment to make this side-yard comfortable. Lawn was replaced with a ‘stream’ of gravel and flagstone edged with flowering ground cover and dwarf conifers and perennials that bring scale and flow to this small space. Ceramic pottery, sculpture, and a natural stone bench pull the space together with an Asian aesthetic and furnish it with focal points and perspective.

Davis Residence – Best Face Forward

Back to the top ↑

The Objective: Create a welcoming entry reflecting the owners’ artistic sensibilities.

The Challenges: Dated rock details, cracked paving and prominent driveway.

Front entries dominated by garage and driveway are a common feature of many homes. Directing bands of stamped concrete and pavers help transition guests from driveway to entry and a generous arbor extending beyond the garage shifts the focus. A carefully detailed paver patio surrounded by pot fountain and lush plantings arching over and espalliered on walls softly envelop the new courtyard. The arbor separates friends and family from the street while offering enticing views to the entry.

Clover – Garden Dining

Back to the top ↑

The Objective: To provide inviting and memorable outdoor dining with a warm, neighborhood ambiance.

The Challenges: Nearby street noise and neighboring gas station.

An oversize arbor and beautifully detailed gate whisks guests form a busy intersection in the Gonzaga district to another world. A massive, overflowing pot fountain immediately welcomes with refreshing gurgles and splashes. A rock garden filled with culinary herbs prepares diners for the farm to table menu and bright orange pots planted with grasses remove any last doubts that you have left the outside world behind and joined the party.