Practical and pretty yards are the stars of the Portland Landscape Architecture + Design Tour on July 16


Has your garden lost its charm? Find inspiration as six stellar outdoor spaces, from rugged to refined, will be featured on the 2022 Portland Landscape Architecture + Design Tour Saturday July 16.

Ticket holders ($30 each or two for $50, will meet landscapers and builders ready to talk about creating a great first impression with classic to contemporary elements in the front yard, or an inviting outdoor dining area or culinary garden in the backyard.

Find out how overgrown weeds can be replaced with a quiet, shady retreat or group-friendly fire pit.

Are you tired of not watering the same old drought tolerant plants? Landscape designer Catherine Smith of Smith Designs House in Lake Oswego says there are hundreds of varieties that thrive on a “spit of water” once they become established.

“A modern garden is no more water-efficient than a traditional garden,” she says. “Roses are incredibly drought tolerant.”

His aquatic English garden returns to the tour after winning a HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Award for Best Outdoor Appeal.

Notice that Smith installed perennial lemon thyme and Greek oregano as edging materials. Grasses add an attractive look and scent to landscapes, and they shouldn’t be reserved for just a vegetable garden, she says.

Two more tips from Smith:

  • Using a wide selection of plant materials ensures you attract and maintain wildlife. “I think it provides an assortment for the birds that come to bathe in the fountain and the wild bees that nest in my cedar,” she says.
  • Reusing existing materials on site not only saves money but also resources. One stop on the tour has boulders that have been moved around to create a dramatic new space. There are also examples of beautiful, durable patio furniture and repurposed plush seat cushions from discarded plastic.

Visitors planning to enhance the harsh landscape of their open-air oasis will have time to check out the attractive concrete retaining walls and walkways as well as the fencing and fire and water features installed by local businesses. .

Side yards and parking strips also get the designer treatment. Find out which plants are expertly chosen to enhance a home’s architectural style and adapt to specific bioclimates.

Designers, draughtsmen and engineers who voluntarily put their talent at the service of Northwest Reconstruction Project will be joining the tour as volunteer staff. The non-profit organization that helps people affected by natural disaster restore their homes is a beneficiary of the tour.

The event is organized by the Modern Architecture + Design Society, which also organizes the Portland Modern Home Tour.

Here are the highlights, as described by each of the landscapers, of the six stops of the self-paced, self-paced Portland 2022 Landscape Architecture + Design tour throughout the Portland area:

Catherine Smith of Smith Designs House in Lake Oswego has traded in half of its thirsty lawn for easy-care garden beds teeming with colorful, water- and heat-tolerant plants that attract beneficial bees, birds and butterflies.

Her redesign was inspired by the home’s cottage-style architecture and her motivation to showcase the lake view. New paths lead to a gas fire pit, which is part of an expanded outdoor entertaining area.

The paving stones have been laid in a classic herringbone pattern and the stairs leading to the raised garden are made of colored concrete. A large fountain serves as a water source for pollinators and adds soothing sound, Smith says.

Part of the half-acre property has been made more accessible to visitors with reduced mobility.

Ask Smith for strategically placed lights for security and ambiance, as well as speakers.

Aspen Creek Landscaping executed Smith’s design. She has also worked with A. Silvestri Wall fountains and garden art.


Landscape architect Bethany Rydmark has created a welcoming family retreat in a once overgrown and underutilized backyard in Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood.

For dining under the stars, a table and chairs rest on a bluestone patio. Nearby is an outdoor grill and kitchen with bluestone countertops and raised beds for harvesting fresh produce.

A living room with an outdoor fireplace has a juniper trellis offering privacy that doubles as a screen for movie nights in the garden, says Rydmark, a landscape architecture graduate from the School of Architecture and Design. University of Oregon Allied Arts and Owner Landscapes of Bethany Rydmark.

JP Pierre Entrepreneursbased in Vancouver, Washington, installed the hardscape materials to improve the space between the house, the driveway and the fence lines. Bluestone paving and steps lead to the soft eco-lawn alternative to grass.

Rydmark said it uses durable, natural materials like wood, stone, and metal that hold up well to time and aging, and eventually return to the earth or be reused.

Here, the raised beds are made of durable materials that are rich in character, sustainably harvested juniper from eastern Oregon. The all-natural dye is free of harmful chemicals.

The woven wicker for the seats was created from recycled water bottles and the plush cushions are upholstered in a weather-resistant fabric made from recycled polypropylene, said Rydmark, who has learned to protect the environment. growing up on a grass seed and nursery farm in the Willamette Valley.

Don’t miss the low-fire bowl and the slow-growing dwarf olive trees with silver foliage.

Landscaper and builder Kevin Chambers replaced a backyard lawn with an oversized dining table and built-in banquette for a foster couple living in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood of southeast Portland.

“This garden is relatively small but has many separate spaces that help make it even bigger,” Chambers said.

Walnut trees, fig trees and fruit trees remained in place while the team of Kevin’s Room Designbased in Portland, added a central planting bed, shaded garden and fire pit.


Bonnie Bruce Celilo Gardensa landscaping studio in Portland, renovated a garden overlooking the pool in Cedar Hills to make way for three outdoor entertainment areas and a hot tub.

The longtime owners, parents of now college-aged children, wanted a backyard to relax, dine under the stars, and entertain large groups while maintaining privacy.

Northwest Outdoors and Scenerywith an office in Damascus and a nursery in Aurora, built the new landscaping.

The pool walls were demolished, the concrete walkways were removed and the walkway boulders now form a new retaining wall, Bruce said.

A path leads past new planting beds and a series of Cor-Ten steel screens, and continues through a contemporary steel circular moon gate passageway to a large paved patio with a gas fire pit.

There is also a small paved dining room with a path leading to the house.

Don’t miss seeing the bubbling water feature.

GRO landscape design installed three landscape themes around a new custom home, which was on the Home Parade 2021in a gated community in the Felida Overlook neighborhood in Vancouver, Washington.

The front of the house has northwest-inspired plantings and the back features palm trees and a covered patio that matches the features of the resort.

Landscaper Julia Dahlgren worked with GRO, which is based in Vancouver, and Axiom Luxury Homes to provide a swimming pool, a sauna, an outdoor kitchen and a fire table.

There are three bubbling water features, a dog run, and synthetic grass instead of a lawn that needs watering and mowing.

Marina Wynton of Olivine Land garden design renovated the courtyard of her 1950 ranch-style home in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland.Marina Wynton

Marina Wynton from Land of Olivine garden design renovated the backyard of their 1950 ranch-style home in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland. When she purchased the property in 2006, the the front yard had grass and the back yard had a brick patio, a “weird floating wooden dock” and invasive weeds woven into the lawn, she said.

Wynton calls her home “Manzanita,” and her organic, chemical-free approach to landscaping shows her appreciation for the environment and her concern for the consequences of climate change. She has installed drought-tolerant native and non-native plants that serve as habitats for birds and beneficial insects.

Maintenance is managed by hand; it does not use gasoline-powered equipment.

She worked with Mike Pajunas of Columbia Tile Art Contractor to create the low maintenance landscape.

The vegetable beds are lined with Cor-Ten steel, the garden shed has a living sedum roof and the property is populated with birdhouses as well as bee and butterfly nest boxes.

Ask Wynton about its stormwater management system and check out its landscaped parking strip.

— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

[email protected] | @janeteastman

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