Magazine article Sunset

Must Love Dogs: A Designer Creates a Relaxed, Low-Water Landscape for a Portland Homeowner-And Her Three Canine Companions

Magazine article Sunset

Must Love Dogs: A Designer Creates a Relaxed, Low-Water Landscape for a Portland Homeowner-And Her Three Canine Companions

Article excerpt

"CAN YOU MAKE IT FABULOUS?" Landscape architect Karen Ford says most design consults begin the way this one did--with that simple request. But "fabulous," it turned out, was just the start: The Portland homeowner, a nongardener, also wanted her landscaping to be low-water and low-maintenance, with areas for her to relax and her three dogs to romp.

Up to the challenge, Ford fashioned circular landing pads filled with decomposed granite for lounging and dining in the backyard, edged by easy-care evergreen shrubs, perennials, and grasses, all soft and sturdy enough to withstand the dogs--two Labra-doodles and a Chihuahua. "Usually I tell my clients that dogs and gardens don't go together, but we left unplanted, unpaved space for them to run around," says Ford. "Of course, I don't let them sit out and dig all day," says the homeowner. "But even with the dogs out there a lot, the yard always looks good."

ENVELOP SPACES

Playful geometry breaks the backyard into dining and seating circles. Fat, dwarf Atlantic white cedars (Chamaecyparis thyoides 'Heather Bun') enclose the 10-foot-wide dining area, while ornamental grasses, shrubs, and perennials define the 12-foot-wide seating space. A flowering cherry (Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan') shades both circles.

PICK POWER GRASSES

Along the side of the house, large clumps of maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio') are the perfect height to provide greenery without blocking the view from the windows. Pink-hued plumes will emerge later in summer. The grass holds its shape all winter and needs just one shearing in early spring.

MULCH PATHWAYS

A 4-inch-thick layer of bark mulch along with hard-packed decomposed granite keep the unplanted expanses weed-free. With that kind of open space to play, the three dogs haven't done any harm to the garden's plantings.

REPLACE THE LAWN

In the front yard, Ford installed a meadow of no-mow fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln') instead of turf, for lower water usage and maintenance. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.