A lot of people would look at this rusty metal frame with wrapped wires and have no idea what they would do with it. Enter Stone Soup Gardens. When we went to discuss what type of work our client wanted done in the front of her home near Mount Baker, she mentioned "industrial, modern victorian, curvy." Deciphering our clients wants, needs and aesthetics can be somewhat of an interpretative dance, but in this case, I think we nailed it.
Upon shopping for her upcoming project, we found these rusty metal panels in one of our favorite stores, Second Use. Apparently, they had initially been created as dividers for a restaurant that, unfortunately, didn't quite last. Their loss = our gain. They were perfect for our client, and we immediately went to work incorporating them into her design.
We installed a short curvaceous block wall that accentuates the front of the yard, which adds a tiered effect, rather than a flat surface. The fence and arbor are Shou Sugi Ban, which is undesirable to pests, fire proof, rot resistant, and darn attractive. The arbor is a nice focal point for the entrance to the home, and the fence creates a more intimate space for the front garden which is otherwise open to the street.
The rusty panels allow for more light to penetrate, while still retaining an element of privacy, and adding a personal bit of pizzazz to the property. You certainly don't see these everyday.
Our crew did a fabulous job on this one, and the client it pleased with our interpretation of her desires. We still have a bit of planting to do, and the homeowner was keen to tell me that I needed to come back after the finished porch stairs were painted, but I think the work resonates with curvy modern industrial victorian charm, nonetheless.
Sometimes all it takes is a few well placed features to make the garden feel a more like home. With this lovely mid-century, drainage was a bit of an issue. The house sits at the bottom of a slope, and ends in a cul-de-sac. In order to alleviate this, we created raingardens on each side of the house in a couple of small pocket garden spaces. This will help funnel water and keep it from pooling in the yard. The raingardens will also filter the water from the driveway runoff which is essential since Lake Washington is just a short stroll away.
We also installed a plank board fence and arbor along the west side of the property which will provide privacy and a safe play space for the kids, while creating an area for trailing plants in the shadier areas of the backyard.
A lovely project, lovely clients, and a lovely home, what more could we ask for?
Talk about a cute little front yard. These clients were looking to maximize their garden space, while adding interest through the use of arbors. We do so love to build arbors. The arbor running along the side of the house is actually an arborduct. It houses the pipes running from the gutters of the home into the raingarden, which will filter the roof runoff before heading into the Puget Sound.
The second arbor is simply to provide a bit of architectural interest to the front yard while mimicking the shape of the windows on the house, and providing a bit of screening from the neighbors.
For both arbors, we used the same stain as the garage door, which ties the look of the house and the garden together nicely. Soon we will be returning to finish out the pathways leading up to the house, and from the house to the garage.
A raingarden is a fantastic addition to a landscape, and can be customized to fit your needs, your wants, and your budget. Whether you want a small streambed, shallow pool, or a simple swale, these features will reduce toxic roof runoff into the side sewer and help protect our valuable Puget Sound.
Happy Vernal Equinox! The first day of spring is officially upon us. The Stone Soup Crew has been busy this spring, in fact, it is our busiest spring on record. All of this fine warm weather provides lots of opportunities for garden improvements.
Recently, we were approached by a client who had already imagined and designed his garden space, and brought us this illustration to execute.
As it turns out, the client had several family heirloom stained glass panels in his possession, and he had a very specific vision of how the stained glass would fit into his existing landscape. The windows had originally been a part of his dad and stepmom's outdoor cabana. The cabana was built by his dad, and the stained glass windows were made by his stepmom. They were both in their 90's when they passed away in 2013, and the people who bought their house offered our client and his brother the stained glass panels. It was a wonderful gesture, as the new home owners were redesigning the home and wanted to ensure the windows were safely returned. It also provided our client and his brother a chance to decorate their own spaces while keeping those beautiful family memories alive.
Here are the glass panels in the cabana built by our client's father.
The client has a very specific Roman style for his garden space, and he wanted to build the arbors as a way to safely display the stained glass, while staying true to his design aesthetic. It was a wonderful project to be able to walk into and complete. Here is the original garden space, as well as the start of the arbor installation.
The lovely finished arbor, complete with a grape kiwi on one end, boxwoods in the containers, winter jasmine on the other end, and columnar cypresses to lend height and drama to the column effect of the arbor. These plants will help provide privacy along the fence line with his neighbors, and attract some fluttering friends to the garden.
Fencing is a great way to keep things out or in, depending on your point of view. In many cases, we love to tear down fencing, as it helps create a more shared space between neighbors, which certainly builds better neighbor relations. However, sometimes we need to build a fence to help protect our friends, be they of the feathered or the four-legged variety.
For this project we built a hog wire fence to help contain chickens in the backyard, which provides a much safer environment for them. The client also wanted to protect her plants from her scratching hens by installing an arbor. This approach allowed her to net out the chickens, while providing her climbing vegetables and plants with a bike wheel trellis and arbor to climb. It looks great and compliments her clapboard chicken coop.
This is how Stone Soup Gardens rolls - check out our blog for current, upcoming, and past projects, events, and other super cool stuff worth mentioning.