We did it. After nearly 6 years of rocking a minimalist (err, brutalist?) yard, we finally bit the bullet and hired a landscape architect. But before we show you what he came up with, let’s get everyone up to speed on the traumatic history of our yard. It all started in ’06, when we became the proud new owners of some diseased shrubs and dead grass:
Poor little sad house.
Even though our house has received a major facelift since then, our yard has not:
But those days are numbered because BAM! Look at what’s in store! [Click to enlarge]
True, we had every intention of landscaping at least the front yard last summer, but that whole foundation drainage project took a wee bit longer than expected and we simply ran out of time. Not this year though; we have a baby deadline (apparently it’s a million times harder to get stuff done after that happens) and we’re tired of the constant weedapalooza. So we hired our friend Mark, who is a landscape architect at The Watershed Company, to put together a planting plan that we could use as a template of sorts to make our landscaping dreams come true. Although we had a general design in our heads (you may remember this site plan that we shared with you last summer), we mostly needed help with the actual plant selection and layout. Fortunately, after an on-site consultation a few weeks ago (where we talked about our basic goals and ideas), Mark came up with something that really filled in all of the missing pieces while also making some great modifications and suggestions in the process.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “of all the projects you’ve tackled yourself, you decide to hire someone to help with plants??” Although we pride ourselves in our DIY approach, keep in mind that architectural design and construction are our territory. Plants are not. Although we could take the time to do the necessary research on species, proper spacing and location, we knew that just wasn’t going to happen. It’s too big of a project and we firmly believe in hiring talented folks to help out when in over your head (just like you it’s a good idea for people to hire an architect).
This is a first pass, so we’ll definitely be making a few tweaks here and there before we bust out a shovel. (Remember all of those pavers that we salvaged from our demo project last summer?) We also realize that this project will be a lot of work (and $$), so the plan is to tackle the front yard and backyard planting boxes this year, while saving the remainder for later. Depending on costs, we may also scale back on the quantity of plants, allowing us to fill in over time.
Finally, If you’re like us and don’t have a mental image bank of all plant types, get ready for your mind to be blown with a cornucopia of vegetative goodness! Along with the draft planting plan, Mark also sent us a booklet of all the plants that he’s listed. For your viewing pleasure, I took the liberty of making the montage below. As you’ll see, it’s a combination of mostly drought-tolerant and Pacific Northwest-friendly trees, shrubs, grasses, perennials, groundcover, and herbs. Don’t worry, we won’t be using every species listed, many of them were just presented as different choices for a single area. In fact, we showed the plan to our plant-savvy neighbor tonight and she gave us some great insight into the options she liked best.
Color! Life! Excitement!
So what do you guys think? We have complete trust in our landscape architect, but this is very much new territory for Kyle and I so we’d love to hear your constructive thoughts or suggestions.