Talk about starting with a blank slate…. Or, as our hilarious client says, “Our home looked like it had been dropped from space onto a dandelion-infested lot.” This lovely home in the hills of South Eugene was on a beautiful, gently sloping property, but had only weeds and a couple of low retaining walls to balance the structure’s tall façade.

Our clients hoped for a garden that would be both attractive and useful for their active family of four without requiring overwhelming and expensive hardscape. Sensitive to the dry summers of the Pacific Northwest, they also hoped for a garden that would balance bountiful foliage with low-water use. After consulting with other landscapers who proposed “extensive infrastructure projects and standard water-guzzling flower beds,” they decided to trust Mosaic’s unconventional take on the space.

We began by removing a low retaining wall in the back garden to allow the grade to slope to the lawn. Removing the jarring and ultimately unnecessary break in the landscape allowed the garden to flow with the natural terrain. Iron Mountain flagstone paths and a small patio provide access and a beautiful foundation to the abundant plantings without overwhelming the landscape.

A less thirsty, but durable lawn gives the kids room to run without requiring daily water during the summer.

Rather than using tall, blocky foundation plantings, we used layered plantings and deep beds to connect the tall house to the created and natural landscape. In the sunny back garden, we emphasized grassy textures and un-fussy perennials for an informal, meadowy palette that moves in the breeze and buzzes with hummingbirds in the summer. In the shade, masses of resilient, deer-resistant perennials, ferns and low shrubs sweep under small trees. In the dry months, all of the plantings are watered far less frequently than conventional landscapes despite their lush appearance.

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