Portland Landscaping Project: Custom Mt. Tabor Transformation
Our Portland landscaping team is always excited when they take on new projects. When we were asked to transform the outdoor space of a home at the foot of Mt. Tabor, we were thrilled to get started. This custom project features incredible details that showcase how our Portland and Hillsboro landscaping crews can bring homeowners’ visions to fruition.
This transformation was a long-term project that was planned over a year in advance. Although it had many different components, we were able to fast track the project because it was a great fit for our skill set, and because the client already had a detailed design plan at the ready.
The major components were generally cosmetic in nature, and there were many details to be addressed. One of these was the fencing around the pool and backyard, which had to be compliant with city code. For instance, we carefully selected the perfect gate latches and hinges to keep the area safe. Of course, all design features also had to complement the aesthetic of the home.
Set up and preparation for this project was extensive and was managed in a timely and organized fashion by our team.
Project Goals. Our landscape design and build project needed to enhance our client’s brand new, custom built home. A major goal was to integrate the landscape from the street to back property line, to lend the appearance that all work be completed at once. There were not too many things to fix in this project, apart from a bit of a drainage work where the ground sloped down towards the garage, home, and back retaining wall. We addressed this by grading the landscape and adding a swale to direct the water away from the property to an area where it can drain naturally.
Planters and Fencing. The project required a lot of wood. It was important to the client that the look of the planters, pergola, and other wood components matched in order to provide a consistent visual appeal. The client chose cedar because of its aesthetic beauty and natural ability to resist rot. The backyard planter boxes were sealed to keep harmful stain chemicals from discharging into the soil. Pond liners were also used to prevent leaching. It was a welcome surprise that our client’s uncle owned a cedar mill, and was able to provide the high quality wood for the project, using end cuts from re-purposed scraps. The matching pergola in the backyard serves as a gateway from the public space to the entrance of the home.
During the project:
Rock and Stone. The same attention to detail was brought to the stone elements of this Mt. Tabor project. River rocks were chosen to match stones in the home’s brickwork. Larger boulders were chosen to complement the river rocks. The large boulders (called Windswept Moss Boulders or Windswept Mossy Basalt) are naturally occurring in the Columbia River Basin. Moss grows over the rocks, giving them the appearance of having been in place a long time. These rocks add beauty and charm to the landscape, giving it a natural, aged appearance.
One of the most striking features of the project was a bluestone “bridge” weighing over 3,000 lbs. Landscape East & West has the equipment to handle such complex features with ease. When scanning the landscape, the eye is also drawn to a huge slab of cut, thermalized bluestone placed across from the water feature. Thermalizing is a process where rock surface is treated with extreme heat. As the rock heats, it also expands, causing small explosion in some elements. This creates a consistent, weathered finish without a loss of structural integrity.
The Stream. The stream is a major feature of this landscape. It starts at the front of the house, where rocks are placed to make it look like the stream goes under the porch. The overall length of the stream as it winds around to the backyard is 65 to 70 feet, and it is intended as a safe spot where the kids can play. When we last visited, the client’s children showed us the floating wooden boats they had built to sail the stream! The stream runs into an underground cistern, which also reduces overall maintenance.
Plantings. The perennials were chosen for seasonal color, with a focus on spring. We will be waiting patiently for next spring’s show, as it will surely be a lively one. In general, low-growing plants were selected to showcase the home’s architectural details.
We enjoyed this project immensely, and are happy to share the details as inspiration for your next landscaping project. The customization on this project was incredible, and the beauty really shows through in the details. Our clients now have an interactive, gorgeous landscape that perfectly complements their new custom home. If you’re interested in partnering with Landscape East & West to realize your big Portland landscaping projects, we’d love to hear from you. Remember, the sooner we hear from you – the sooner we can get started!
Nic Nelson is the Senior Landscape Design Sales Consultant at Landscape East & West. He has a B.A. in Landscape Architecture from University of Oregon and has been practicing landscape design and construction in the Portland area since 2007. He enjoys blending the artistic side of landscape and outdoor living space design with the opportunity to build things and problem solve through the construction process.