Magnolia Backyard Escape

This original space was only about 5 years removed from a significant landscape overhaul – one which included a flagstone walkway and patio surrounded by plantings in a raised stone bed with a typical postage stamp-sized urban lawn. The homeowners shared that they never really used the yard after the renovation. Although they were initially happy with the work and thought they got what they wanted, the patio was too small and poorly located, the lawn was soggy, and the plant selection lacked seasonality. The space was not as inviting as they had hoped.


Our lead designer met with the homeowners and discovered how they envisioned using the space – including the frequency and timing of each activity. The homeowners explained that their children were aging out of the house and that they enjoyed reading outdoors and wanting a space to grow culinary herbs and spices.

Following the on-site consultation and a few emails with the homeowners we re-designed the entire space with a larger and more inviting patio – one that is ample enough to host a few friends but not too large to feel lost in when enjoying a book on a summer day. We chose architectural slabs for the patio to improve the accessibility and to introduce strong, clean lines to the new design. We repurposed the existing flagstone to create a new walkway to the side gate. We introduced dimensional flagstone to marry the selection of the new concrete slabs to the existing flagstone materials. We changed the plant palette to increase the brightness, provide movement, and add seasonal evolution.

As a forward-facing sustainable landscaping company we strive to utilize reduced-impact elements and systems in our designs and installations that can be seamlessly integrated into our client’s existing desires and ideas without them feeling like they are making any type of sacrifice. We educate our clients to help them understand the long-term scope of their landscape and how simple planning at the onset of a project can result in tremendous future savings, both financial and environmental. For this particular project we re-purposed 2 tons of flagstone and 1 ton of landscape rock (no disposal, no transportation), we removed a lawn that was requiring weekly maintenance and tons of inputs (fertilizer and water), we converted an overhead spray-emitter irrigation system to a dripline system with SMART control, we introduced a planting scheme of exclusively “no touch” and “one- touch” plants (to reduce the frequency of maintenance), and we provided an accessible and inviting space for our clients to grow a small portion of their own food – ensuring them a direct daily connection with our environment.

It has been about a year and a half since this installation was completed. The homeowners have become on-going maintenance clients and continually tell us how much they use and enjoy their back yard!

This project won a Grand Award at the 2020 Northwest Premiere Landscape Awards in the Design & Construction category.