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?
Stone Soup Gardens is so up on our design trends! Recently, a client of ours asked us to do a Sugi Ban Fence for their front yard in order to create a bit of privacy between them and their neighbors, while creating a beautiful long-lasting fence. Not afraid of a challenge, we dove right in.
What is Shou Sugi Ban, you ask? Shou Sugi Ban is an ancient Japanese technique that preserves the wood, particularly cedar, by charring it with fire. Shou Sugi Ban is an environmentally friendly way to preserve timber and (paradoxically) it actually makes it fire-resistant. Chemical preservatives, paints, and stains become unnecessary as the burning also preserves the wood, and it becomes insect, rodent proof, and weather resistant. It is said to last 80 years with little to no maintenance.
While the process takes time, and can be a bit dangerous, the end result is a stunning and appealing option for our rainy northwest climate.
Here is a look at the project before we got started:
And here is the sexy Sugi Ban effect:
As the weather gradually warms, and the crocuses pop, our crew is busily maneuvering through the sometimes muddy, sometimes snowy world of landscaping. It's been nonstop around here as we work to finish off projects and begin new ones. Here is a peak at what we've been up to lately:
Installing a backyard deck and brick paver patio
Building a raised faswall bed, a pocket fence, and installing plants
Building a Catio
We are embracing the digital age here at Stone Soup Gardens with our mighty new Instagram Account. Come on over and follow us and see what we are up to. Photos from life, love, landscaping, hardscaping, permaculture, events, and more!
Here is a fun one! We just completed this excellent addition to a chain link fence. We are using recycled bike wheel frames to create an arbor of sorts that will provide a bit more privacy between the neighbors' yards. It also adds an element of whimsy to an otherwise adorable little backyard garden. The owners love to entertain and have cocktail parties, and this bike wheel fence will be a definite conversation piece! We also retooled the stairs leading up into the garage and back garden area. We are still working on a few last minute touches, but it is coming together nicely!
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.
Oh yes we did. When our awesome music loving clients requested a David Bowie lightening bolt for their garden pathway, we made it happen. The pathway is made from two different colors of flagstone, with a gravel pathway leading along the edges of the property around the raingarden, and through the front gate.
The raingarden, which will be rebated through the Rainwise Program, was heavy and full after a huge amount of rain the previous day. We built the fence to create a dog run area, and decided to run an arborduct to conceal the raingarden duct work. This arborduct is one of our favorites, as it provides complete coverage for the pipes running from the house into the raingarden.
Through the gate we created a gravel dog run. It contains dog friendly plants including salmonberry, thimbleberry, and a strawberry tree. This makes the poop easy to clean up, and keeps the grassy area behind the house clean for the kids.
The raised beds were constructed out of cut alder logs. Logs are a sturdy and long lasting way to create a nice uniform visual in your garden, and a great place to sit while planting, weeding, or simply enjoying the space. The other areas, including the rockery in the front of the home, contain native plants that will create a pollinator habitat which will be friendly to the birds and the bees once the plants mature.
This cute little bungalow needed a facelift for their fence. The backyard is such a sweet little retreat, and our client wanted to accentuate that, without hurting her existing mature plants. Our carpenter, Trevor Madsen, went to work and created this lovely stained picket fence! It is a wonderful addition to the home, and creates a quiet sunny space for the backyard garden.
Sometimes it is nice to look back through the year and see how our projects have progressed, not to mention reflecting on all of the positive changes we've made for people in our community, as well as for our regional environment. Several of these projects include raingardens, which help alleviate the water flowing into the sewer, and filter the water before it flows to the sound. They also include permeable surfaces which allow for filtration and provide a comfortable surface to live on during our wet winters.
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.