Big Impact in Tiny Spaces
Redevelopment in inner East side Portland continues to create functional landscape design challenges.
Does This Sound Familiar?
Developers are repurposing lots in Multnomah County where one house stood, now multiple units are constructed. A new two story apartment complex replete with tiny backyards, shared front common areas and limited parking replaced one large house.
Before Photo: Photo by Carol Lindsay
"Working with Donna and her team was such a pleasure. Donna took the conceptual plans provided by our designer and turned them into great space for us. Our front yard went from a total mess to a space we’re really pleased with. The stone work done by her team is fantastic!" - Jeff & Carrie
First time homeowners took the backyards on as the builder has already installed plantings in the front. After DIYing the backyards, neighbors agreed: “We want a professional for the front.” Carol Lindsay of Design in a Day was contacted by neighbors looking to fix an inappropriate plant selection their front common areas.
The young professional working couples desired bird-friendly native plants, low maintenance and watering landscape providing year-round curb appeal and color. The site faced south with very hot, later afternoon sun and reflected heat of the concrete that encircled the entire area. The builder had put in Aspen trees. This was a case of 'wrong plant, wrong place' in the extreme. Aspen trees grow like bamboo with runner roots.
In less than eight years, two Aspen trees reproduced underground into five overgrown trees. Carol immediately realized she needed an experienced contractor. Donna Burdick and Carol visited the site jointly to devise an attractive solution to a very tricky site. Driveways were so tiny that homeowners needed somewhere to park and get groceries and suitcases to the front door comfortably.
After the design was reviewed and approved by the homeowners, Donna and her team went to work.
"I didn’t need to supervise the job on-site consultation during the construction phase, commented Carol Lindsay, principal designer of Landscape Design in a Day.
"I knew our clients were in good hands with D&J acting as both project manager and contractor, because Donna takes care of everything in a very detailed and professional manner."
Carol planted Stepables® groundcovers between the exposed paver areas to soften the hardscape. By using Turfstone next to the concrete driveway, it allowed cars to drive over them.
Removing the Aspen trees required major excavation. Extensive soil prep was required to provide adequate drainage and good soil for the tiny planting islands. Carol's design included building natural rock planters which require an artistic eye that Brian Woodruff employed. Just choosing the right rocks added a perfect dimension to separate while unifying two distinct spaces.
Hellstrip Areas Before Design Solution
Compacted soil required a raised bed solution because Donna's install crew couldn't go down very far due to rocks. When the plants are mature, they will cleverly disguised utilities and a large 4x6 gas meter metal plate.
Carol Lindsay is just one landscape designer D&J works with on a regular basis. If you have a favorite landscape designer you are currently working with, when it's time to install retaining walls, pathways, structures, plants and more feel free to give them our contact information.
Do You Have a Difficult Situation?
We would love to take a look at your challenging site and assist in creating an extraordinary landscape you're proud to come home to.
Contact Donna Burdick or Jamie Hansen co-owners of D&J Landscape Contractors via email or phone 503.771.7522 to schedule a FREE project review today.