design narrow living room

Outdoor Living Room, Retaining WallsBefore its transformation in 2013, the sloped backyard was a bare-bones “builder’s landscape, ” with stacked boulders installed to act as a retaining wall and a grass lawn that failed to thrive due to a lack of sun and poor drainage. “Deciding to remove the boulders and start over from scratch was a pivotal decision and allowed us to consider a more effective and attractive approach for managing the slope and create beautiful and functional living spaces at the same time, ” says Daniels. (See a SketchUp animation she created to help the homeowners get a sense of what their new garden would look and feel like.)

Dividing a garden, even when small, often has the paradoxical effect of making it seem larger. An elevated dining patio, tucked in the upper corner, is wrapped on two sides by raised garden beds framed by concrete walls, creating a cozy, enclosed space sheltered by an overhead canopy. A short flight of stairs leads down to an outdoor living room with deep, cushioned lounge chairs circling a freestanding fireplace. A floor of decorative concrete pavers occupies a spot previously relegated to the failing patch of lawn.

A fire-red Acer palmatum ‘Fireglow’ (Japanese maple) in the elevated beds is especially beautiful when backlit in the afternoon light. Photo by: Darcy Daniels.

The colors and textures of the hardscaping elements were also given much deliberation. “After considering other finishes for the concrete, we decided on a simple sponge trowel finish and it turned out to be totally right for the mix of materials we went with. The more rustic finish of the concrete was the perfect pairing with steel, ” says Daniels. “For the TimberTech composite decking, which was used in areas that are quite shady, we chose a gray tone because of its lighter, reflective coloring.”

This project was one of eight gardens featured in the 2015 Association of Northwest Landscape Designers garden tour in June. Darcy Daniels is a Garden Designer at Bloomtown Gardens in Portland, Oregon and founder of eGardenGo, a web app for gardeners.

Outdoor Dining Terrace, Canopy Of Trees Misaka Itoh Peonies, Plants Japanese Maple, Elevated Planter Beds Builders Landscape, Before Photo

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