Monday, July 26, 2010

In the gardens of friends, day 1 (2010 version)

Visiting fabulous nurseries like Jungle Fever Exotics and City Peoples Garden Store should be motive enough to make the trip north to Seattle. But I had an even better reason: a weekend with old friends. I first blogged about my friend Steve’s garden back in September of 2009, he was a new homeowner with lots of energy and great ideas, as well as a few challenges created by the previous homeowner and less than ideal views (you know, neighbors).

I absolutely love garden drawings where people are sketching out their ideas! So I’ll start with this drawing I spotted on the refrigerator, of his new fence and design for the front garden.
With the addition of a relatively short run of fence he’s managed to create what will become a private little oasis in his front yard. The perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine and unwind in the evening sunlight after a long day at work. Note the placement of table and chairs in the upper right hand corner of the drawing. That is this corner…
You don’t feel claustrophobic in this space because the fence doesn’t run all the way up to his house but stops about 5ft up the driveway (that’s my car in the driveway, above). Long enough to enclose and short enough to still feel open.
The other ingenious thing about his design is that it takes into account the fact you’re backing out of the drive onto a busy street, he left the sight lines open. This staggered area (below) will become the entrance (think gravel and cement slabs where the grass is now) connecting to the existing cement walkway. And the fence is open on the opposite end, there is no return on the section of fence on the right hand side of the picture, so as you are backing out you can see the oncoming traffic. Genius!
Another new fence in the back yard helps to hide the ongoing ‘projects’ next door.
This set of three stock tanks are waiting to be filled with bamboo, which will further screen the less than beautiful view.
Did you notice the cement ball in the above picture? Seems I wasn’t the only one taken with a recent Design Sponge ‘how to’ on creating cement orbs for the garden. If I remember right they used an old soccer ball and poured in the cement, then cut away the ball when the cement had hardened. When Steve ended up with extra cement after anchoring the fence posts he grabbed an old glass light-fixture shade and filled it. It must have been so much fun breaking the glass! (did you spot the errant wine cork?)
Other creative developments include a gravel and cement slab patio…
A thrift-shop-find umbrella stand painted orange (the planter above and a thrift shop table got the same treatment).
A few of the things I found growing in Steve’s garden include cucumbers.
A surprise volunteer of the very same euphorbia I fell in love with during our visit to The Grotto, Euphorbia lathyris, not planted but perhaps “deposited” by the birds?
And even though he’s no fan of daisies Steve has let these live on. They are the best looking daisies I’ve seen in a while! Thank you Steve for letting me chronicle your garden projects!


  1. He's done a nice job with the fence. I'm definitely a fan of Japanese fence design-the staggered lines really break up the yard, make the space more intriguing and allow for greater air circulation. Lots of good fences to get ideas from here in Portland...

  2. Steve is full of good ideas, and it's great to get a peek at his process. We used that gopher plant/euphorbia to actually attempt to keep gophers out of a community garden -- at which it failed miserably.

  3. It's neat to see a work in progress. I hope you keep us up to date. Very interesting. That is one big cucumber!

  4. Like Candy (above), I hope you will visit Steve often, so we can see his progress with this intriguing design.

  5. PGG, you know I've been noticing a lot of interesting fences here in NE Portland lately. People are getting really creative!

    Candy, I don't make it up to Seattle as often as I would like but when I do Steve is always on the must see list, so I will keep the updates coming. Like I can't wait to see what color he ends up staining/painting it!

    ricki,'s practically a requirement now! I will!

  6. Now I did I go and miss you Denise? Sorry about that...I've known Steve for 22 years (!!OMG!!) and you couldn't be more correct. He has always had more ideas than time. And could make something out of practically nothing.

  7. AnonymousJuly 28, 2010

    Nice going Steve! I need to be on the prowl for an umbrella stand since I just bought an umbrella at a garage sale and didn't even look for a stand. Duh.

    I love the fence. I wonder if he's going to paint it or let it age gracefully. Nice wood.

    The refrigerator-clad garden renderings really clue us in to his vision. I like it.

  8. Hi there I was wondering was your privacy fence cheaper than buying fencing panels?


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