Your background, before you became one of Seattle's most sought-after landscape designers, was in graphic design. How does that discipline influence how you approach garden design?
I grew up gardening with my great aunt who loved caring for her magnolias. I remember smelling the wonderful fragrance of my grandfathers’ peony garden when I was very little. These memories stayed with me as I grew up and after many years of being a graphic designer, I utilized my sense of color and spatial design sensibility to create gardens and living outdoor spaces. My goal with every project is to create a space that combines timeless and thoughtful solutions.
We love how this garden is made up of several distinct "rooms" that transition from one to the next using plants in complementary colors to visually connect them. We saw a tableau of green, leafy shrubs at the front of the garden and see that same aesthetic repeated here at the back of the place in the long, curving border along the fenceline planted to overflow with shade-loving hydrangeas. Tell us about this border.
The owners of the property wanted a "farmhouse modern" landscape that worked with their modern-vintage house. That meant using cottage classics such as hydrangeas but without the traditional cottage garden "mad-mix to the max" look. I used a limited color palette, hewing to shades of green with color as the accent, not the story. In this border, I chose two different shade-loving hydrangeas because the property butts up against another that is filled with old, large trees that cast a fair amount of shade. Adding the grey river rocks and other stones draws the color of the fence into the garden. This section of the garden looks really beautiful in fall when the hydrangeas turn pink against the coppery color of the ninebark.
In landscape design, there is a concept called 'borrowed views'. Tell us how you employed that here and throughout the entire garden.
Borrowed views (or borrowed scenery) is the idea of incorporating background landscape into the composition of a garden creating the feeling of greater space. Literally, expand your horizons without adding to your property. This can be done on a large scale such as ocean views or more intimately like adding a few rocks to connect your yard to the one next door. Here, we "borrowed" the mature trees on the other side of the fence, allowing them to spill over onto the site and further the illusion but adding new trees to the homeowner's side of the fence. Once filled in, this will look like a forest that goes on and on without transition. It's an ancient "trick" that almost always works.