Alameda-Irvington Front Yard

From fussy to streamlined: establishing a contemporary northwest landscape

The main goal of this project was to develop a simpler, drought-tolerant plant palette, bringing streamlined look which would complement the ranch-style home’s architecture and tie it visually to the previously renovated back yard’s aesthetic.

Almost all existing plantings were taken out, a basalt stone retaining wall dismantled and the dry streambed removed.

A terrace was created to install a patio using 24” x 24” architectural pavers for a contemporary feel.  A new retaining wall, planters and edging of concrete and rusted steel bring crisp edges, varying heights and strong forms to the landscape. A low fence along the top of the concrete retaining wall will provide privacy for the seating area. Two level gravel pads by the entry steps were created for container groupings featuring attention-worthy plantings. Broadleaf evergreens and conifers were chosen to provide strong textural interplay and vital interest during the winter months. Layered plantings of various succulents and perennials provide warm punches of orange, blue and yellow. All of these non-traditional plantings were given a gravel top-dress for a clean look.  The area immediately off the porch has fine dark mulch. Mexican beach pebbles, also used in the back yard, are repeated in certain areas.