Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gorgeous Narrow Yard Update!

Last post about a narrow backyard makeover needs to be updated as the house is for sale and new pictures are posted!  A garden usually looks better after a couple of seasons so check it out now:

What a difference a professionally designed landscape can make, this house has fantastic curb appeal!

 A narrow backyard can look beautiful and be functional when designed well!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Narrow Small Backyard Make-Over

Some years back a client moved into a new home with a small rectangular backyard.  He wanted to be able to use the space and to create a welcoming environment to enjoy.  The challenge was the yard was only 15 feet wide and 45 feet long, that is quite the narrow rectangle!
I overcame the bowling alley effect with creating a curving path that allowed for deep beds on either sides with small trees and plants that spilled over.  This gave the eye something to rest on instead of going directly to the fence.  The path curved slowly through the space allowing one to take in a bit at a time, ending in a small paver patio to sit and enjoy the space. 
The yard had definite sunny and shady areas allowing for different areas that blend very well.
Tell me what you think!

Sunny southern end of the yard before:

Shady northern end of the yard before:

Southern end of the yard with the curving path leading to a sunny intimate patio. The small trees will grow to add additional interest and some shade.

Shady end of the yard with some lovely plantings that ease the client into the landscape encouraging one to relax and take a stroll.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tree from the Pleistocene Era - Yellow Cedar 'Aldrich Mountain'

I was researching evergreen trees for a client and came across one I hadn't read about before, the Yellow Cedar 'Aldrich Mountain' or Chamaecyparis Nootkatensis 'Aldrich Mtn'.  I read about it in the current Iseli Nursery catalog and it doesn't have a picture so that is why I've missed it before. 
This tree is normally found in wet coastal climates but there is a small population near John Day in Central Oregon. Back in the Pleistocene era Central Oregon was wet but after the uplift of the Cascade Mountain range this area became the dry side of Oregon.  I love the geologic history of this area!

According to Conifer Country blog by Michael Kauffmann, there is a 26 acre population in the Cedar Grove Botanical Area in the Aldrich Mountains in the Malheur National Forest.  The normal range of Yellow Cedar's is Alaska, British Columbia and into Northern Oregon with a few isolated groves in the Siskiyou Mountains of Northern California (an ecologically diverse environment I need to explore more!)

Michael's blog is an excellent and very informative read, he goes into much more depth and I highly recommend you read it.

Since this tree can survive out near John Day I would like to try it here in Bend, Oregon.  A tree with such an interesting history should be the focal point of a landscape!

Yellow Cedar 'Aldrich Mountains' in a small nursery pot

Trunks of mature Yellow Cedar 'Aldrich Mountains' by Dave Powell USDA Forest Service taken in the Aldrich Mountains of Oregon.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Looking Back at 2017 - Landscape Design Projects

2017 was a stellar year!  As soon as the piles of snow melted the season went off with a bang and I didn't stop running until November.  I enjoyed many diverse landscape design projects from re-doing an elegant entry patio for a gorgeous river side home to landscaping the entire yard near Pilot Butte with edible, native and beneficial plants and then winning the High Desert Design Council's competition for Landscape Design!
Some projects are waiting to be installed while others look fantastic already!  Here are some of the highlights of 2017 landscape design season - enjoy!

Drake Road Remodel -
The clients were lovingly remodeling a home on the Deschutes River in Bend and had a couple of small areas of landscaping to be refined.  There was a very small "window courtyard" viewed from the master bath and bedroom that needed to be planted before the outer walls were finished and closed in the area.  With existing mature trees created quite a shady spot, and considering the small size I went with a Japanese themed planting.  There was a mature Vine Maple adding great structure and with a planting of a Weeping Japanese Maple, Moss and variegated Sedge grass there is fantastic texture and a peaceful vignette.


After, viewed from the Master Bedroom.  The exterior walls have yet to be finished.  The moss will cover the ground in a nice soft green carpet.

 After: The view from the Master Bath, which is still under construction.  It is a very peaceful and calming view.

Northwest Crossing Backyard Upgrade - 
I am very proud to be the 2017 winner of the High Desert Design Competition for Landscape Design.  This project was an excellent example of the benefits of working with a landscape designer.  I turned a neglected and awkward corner into an area that invites the entire family to come together and enjoy being outdoors.


After - A modern low maintenance paver patio with a central gas fire pit that brings the whole family together. This design completely changes the backyard into a stunning area that makes the family feel as if they are on vacation with lush plantings and ornamental grasses.

After - The journey to the patio through ornamental grasses that will partially hide the patio to give it an inclusive feel. The Belgard pavers are laid in decomposed granite to add a warm color and to make the patio area more permeable.

Vicksburg Front Slope - This was an exciting project and so fun to work with clients who wanted something more bold.  The front slope of their property was overgrown with juniper and oregon grape shrubs and weeds.  First task was to remove everything and start with a blank slate.  To add retention and strong interest I designed horizontal Steel Panels for the focus of the slope.  Interplanted around the panels are hardy low maintenance plants to complement the steel and add pops of color and texture.


After - The steel panels really add definition and interest to the slope, so gorgeous now!
The plantings are all hardy perennials or textural ornamental grasses that make this once ugly slope into a beautiful site to see!

View of the top of the slope from the sidewalk made from Decomposed Granite for a low maintenance, permeable warm colored surface.  You can see two of the three types of grasses used in the landscape.  The tall one is 'Shenandoah' Switchgrass and the smaller one is Tufted Hair Grass which is native to Central Oregon.  The steel panels complement the modern architectural features of the home.

Detail of the 'Shenandoah' Switchgrass, one of my favorite grasses to use in landscape design.

More projects to come so stayed tuned!

Monday, November 6, 2017

High Desert Design Competition 2017 Landscape Design Winner

I am very proud to be this years winner of the High Desert Design Council's design competition for Landscape Design!  The project was a backyard upgrade for wonderful clients in Northwest Crossing in Bend, Oregon.  They had a corner of their backyard that was unsightly and under-utilized.  The lawn was removed and replaced with a gorgeous square paver patio and fire pit.  It is so wonderful and the clients love it!  Here are some pictures, enjoy!


Modern Patio

Belgard Plaza Pavers

Cove Fire Bowl fire pit

Path to fire pit patio

Friday, October 27, 2017

Carlseng Design wins 2017 High Desert Design competition!

I am very pleased to announce that my landscape design entry "Northwest Crossing Backyard Upgrade" won the landscape design category of the 2017 High Desert Design competition!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Central Oregon High Desert Garden Tour 2017

The High Desert garden tour this year was inspirational!  I saw many great plant combinations, low water landscapes, listened to beautiful music in garden #2 and enjoyed the Artisans Market at garden #7.  I took many pictures, some as reminders of plants I saw, others to record the styles and materials.  This is just a snippet of all I saw, I hope you enjoy!

Garden 3 had a section of Fescue Grass by the sidewalk, very low maintenance and beautiful.

A large part of Garden 3 were deer resistant, hardy and xeriscape type perennials.

The Threadleaf Coresopsis was spreading nicely in Garden 3 to fill in.

Garden 3 also had many xeriscape plants tucked into pockets in the very rocky landscape.

Garden 3 made great use of all the pine needles as a path material, also know as Pine Straw.

Though most of the paths were pine needles in Garden 3, there was a section of Decomposed Granite, one of my favorite materials for paths and patios because of it's hard, porous and easy to maintain surface plus the lovely tan color.  

I didn't notice these statues at first, they played so nicely with the trim and accent pieces already on the porch. I love how these frame the entry steps at Garden 2.

 Garden 2 had a patio painted in a lovely pattern plus live music.

Garden 2 had the painter John Hillmer painting an original.  Two other of his paintings hung in the garden and really made the space come alive in a different way than plants could.

Garden 2 here is one of John HIllmer's paintings creating a lovely space beyond a covered swing.

Garden 5 was a real treat as it exemplified what can really be done with good planning and plant placement!  They have a pond about 30'x12' which did not seem overly large at all, surrounding it were a perfect blend of perennials, shrubs, trees and deciduous and evergreen plants.  They also made good use of their space for two shaded patios, shown here is one with an excellent view of the pond.

A close-up of the ponds water feature.  This garden backs up to Bear Creek Road and there is considerate road noise, but this water feature does a great job of blocking that out, creating instead a white noise peaceful water falling.

Walk around the back of the pond at Garden 5 is a lovely shade garden, very peaceful and inviting. Notice how the curve of the path invites you to explore around the bend?

Garden 4 right next to #5 had an excellent shade garden under a Serviceberry Tree.

The pond at Garden 4 was also stunning with a beautiful plant palette surrounding it.

Garden 6 is truly a masterpiece and incredibly most of it was accomplished in just 13 years!
This beautiful little Buddha statue sat within a peaceful fountain off the rear covered patio.  And yes that is bamboo growing next to it.  Bamboo can grow in Bend giving the right conditions and winter watering.  

The other side of the Buddha water feature was a lovely shade garden with a good selection of Hostas.

Beyond the shade was a vegetable garden secured by an electric fence.  Notice how they have a diversity of flowers surrounding it? That encourages a host of beneficial insects and encourages pollintators.

The other side of the home featured a good sized gazebo next to the pond in the middle of the expanse of lawn.  The combination of the pond and shaded area created a nice and cooler micro climate to relax in.  

They planted a Chinese Wisteria back in 2015 and it is doing very well.  They said they were going to plant more since the Honeysuckle they have planted is not fairing nearly as well. 

Water Lilies sitting beautifully in the pond.

Garden 7 had extensive structures over their raised vegetable bed for grapes and it looked like they were going to have a good harvest this year!

Just beyond the vegetable garden and under two large apple trees was a simple patio table.  Many of the gardens I saw on the tour had many such places to sit and admire the garden.

 Here was a lovely desert bed with Decomposed Granite as mulch, such a fantastic use of the material!  I love the color.  Also notice the artwork off to the side....

 A very large pond sits on the outskirts of the lawn with a firepit surrounded by Decomposed Granite.  Love the simple chairs in the shade of the Mountain Ash tree in the left fore ground.

Whimsy in the garden!

 This home was also the site for the Artisans Market with some lovely artwork!
I was very struck with the artwork by Maya Wolf, especially this painting of a pet dog.

Gorgeous stepping stones by Step On This.  If you need stepping stones, these would bring so much life and beauty to your garden.

Thank you to OSU Extension Service and Master Gardeners for another fantastic tour and thank you very much to all the home owners who opened their homes and gardens for all to enjoy!