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Tsubo Niwa – A Courtyard Garden, Shoreline, Washington Heidi Hower, Edmonds Community College, Seattle, Washington This Design II class assignment was to design a new front yard for an artist / master gardener and her family. Their Pacific Northwest neighborhood is in the city of Shoreline, Washington, where native tall trees create a unique woodland feeling and provide dramatic background and borrowed views of coniferous and deciduous trees. Their home is sited near the end of a dead-end street, making for a quiet environment despite being within a half mile of a major state highway and a business corridor to the west and an interstate highway a similar distance to the east. They have an established garden and an extensive natural wooded lot behind their home which fully occupies the client’s time, so she has requested an easy-care design for the front yard.

Fall 2013 I

Student Silver Award Rectilinear paths reuse all of the existing concrete pavers. The pattern requires a portion of the pavers to be saw-cut. The design is inspired by a path to a tea garden in a Japanese garden in Portland, Oregon. These are to be set in a concrete base for longevity and to prevent the need for weeding between pavers. Existing stone boulders are used in a grouping at the entry garden underneath the Acer circinatum ‘Monroe’ tree, a native in our area and a beautiful and more affordable substitute to Acer japonicum and A. palmatum.

The client requested a serene, secluded and simple design that would provide privacy from the street, include a 100 square foot front terrace, and a new path to the front door with angles (no curves). She also wanted to reuse 27 concrete pavers and three stone boulders, remove an original built-in brick planter from the front porch, replace the downspouts with rain chains, create a water rill, and select plants available at local nurseries with plant costs not to exceed $700 wholesale. The garden design was inspired both by the architecture of the house and by the idea of a Japanese courtyard garden. By using a combination of built and plant screening, several of the requirements are met: extending the living area out into the garden provides a feeling of welcome and discovery for the neighbors and of privacy for the family both from inside the house and when they are working or relaxing in the garden. The edge of their privacy is no longer the front door or windows, but is extended out by 20 feet and the screening and geometry of the paving provide a rational framework within which the selected plantings can be featured. The concrete patio uses the principles and sizing of a tatami mat layout for the placement of the control joints. Not only is this visually pleasing, but the patio is also sized for flexible furniture arrangements and comfortable circulation. This approach results in a patio that is 144 square feet, one that is larger than requested, but still less than 10% of the total project area. Three aspects of the proposed design focus on creating a lower maintenance garden: adding a concrete patio and path which reduce areas that need watering and weeding, specifying drought- tolerant plants that also require little or no pruning, and leveling the planted area to reduce water runoff.

Rain curtains provide privacy and sun shading at the southwestfacing living room window and provide architectural interest to the most prominent corner of the house even when it isn’t raining. A second curtain is positioned between the two bedroom windows on the right side of the house centered on the patio. The rain curtains drain into rills which disperse rainwater into the garden through underground perforated piping. Initially intended as chains made of metal and glass, the homeowner was interested in taking this on as an art project using her imagination for the materials and construction. The freestanding dark stained cedar wood and translucent polycarbonate 3Form® panels in the courtyard provide shade, privacy and outdoor rooms. They also define the entry sequence and create a framework with nooks for plant vignettes. This is also an opportunity for the homeowner to put her creativity into the selection of the top panels as this 40 percent recycled content material is available in an endless variety of colors and a variety of surface textures. The plants invoke the feeling of a woodland understory which relates to the overall site. The colors of the foliage harmonize with those found in the house paint, wood and brick siding for a unified palette. The plants were selected for four season interest and focus on foliage rather than bloom, the exception being the Azalea ‘Fragrant Star’ which will perfume the courtyard in the spring. 31

APLD The Designer Fall 2013  

This is the quarterly publication of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). This is the Fall 2013 issue. Beginning with...

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