The French Estate - Lake Oswego

Our clients purchased the property in Lake Oswego, drawn to the stunning views of the Willamette River and surrounding mountains. With plans for a major home addition, the clients felt while the location was perfect, the existing landscape didn’t match their vision. Through collaboration with the architects and builders, we set out to create a French-inspired, formal parterre garden.

Planning the Process

We began with a complimentary in-home consultation to capture the clients’ ideas and learn about their space in Lake Oswego. From there our designers worked with the clients to create a great escape, being mindful of what thrives and will only get more beautiful with time.

Consultation – Design – Approval

This was the first home and landscape renovation the wife had undertaken and she had a clear vision of what she wanted, along with photos she’d collected. We met with her early on to learn her vision and determine what was possible. Our designer worked with a partner designer to create the concept. We collaborated with the client to design a French-inspired formal garden that fit with the modern concept of the Lake Oswego house.

Landscaping Plans


To create a lush and inviting landscape requires us to get down in the dirt and start digging. Yards do not come perfectly level, free of obstacles like roots and rocks, and complete with irrigation trenches.

Landscaping Renovation Lake Oswego

Remove – Level – Dig

With the property’s steep slope, excavation, retaining wall placement, and backfill were critical first steps in our process to create more usable space. Most of the original property’s landscape was removed, including several trees to make room for the new garage and home addition. We did extensive trenching to accommodate a new irrigation system and the fountains.


We map out installations in a sequence being mindful of the equipment and people that have to maneuver throughout the yard to get the job done. Experience helps us to know which stage of the project has to precede another to keep the work done on time and within budget.


Our certified technicians installed a Hunter Hydrawise, a weather-dependent system that adjusts to the current weather conditions and requires minimal monitoring or manual adjustments. Because the landscape includes so many different elements, we combined drip and spray irrigation systems to maximize water efficiency, while ensuring all plantings remained healthy.

Lake Oswego Irrigation
Lake Oswego Landscaping Stone


We used white dolomite crushed stone underfoot to provide maximum durability while the light color adds drama placed next to the deep green synthetic turf. For a bold statement, the clients chose 24” x 24” concrete pavers. The white Italian marble chosen for the fountains and reflecting pools add sophisticated French flair.

Retaining Walls

To prevent erosion and allow the creation of terraces to maximize developed space we installed a series of concrete and MSE Flex retaining walls. The use of painted brick to camouflage the walls offers beauty and interest, while also adhering to the client’s wish that everything in the yard be white.

Lake Oswego Retaining Walls
Lake Oswego Trees and Plants

Trees and Plants

To reflect a French-inspired manicured landscape, we planted boxwoods and laurels, while smaller area plantings add interest with roses and peonies. The front yard features a stand of fruit trees including cherry. The backyard goal was to have it look lush, while not obscuring the views. The front yard features a boxwood garden to add drama to the entryway.


We installed a series of concrete and MSE Flex retaining walls, as well as a brick wall painted white. Custom steel trellises support climbing white roses and star jasmine and also act as a screen for the AC unit. The trellis pattern is continued on the pathways. A steel and glass greenhouse, and planters and urns from France were sourced locally.



The fountains provide dramatic focal points, starting with the entryway’s white marble fountain set in a reflecting pool. The fountain was custom-designed with a custom-built steel basin and poured concrete, and required the assistance of the general contractor and a pool builder to achieve dramatic results.


To add cohesiveness to the entire landscape, we created formal walkways directing the eye from one location to the next and encouraging meandering exploration of the property. The paths were constructed from large pavers laid in a diamond pattern that mimics the trellises found on the property. Synthetic grass between pavers provides ease of maintenance.

Lake Oswego Paths

Continued Maintenance

This property demands weekly maintenance to keep the manicured appearance. The water features are cleaned, boxwoods need plant health care treatments and regular trimming, and the extensive lighting and irrigation systems require inspections and adjustments to ensure they accommodate seasonal needs.

The client’s wish was for a landscape of white, from the walkways to the flowers, and maintaining a pristine, crisp, and bright look, takes regular care.

Challenges We Encountered

Our biggest challenge was transforming the steep slope of the property into the desired flat terraces with boxwoods of a French-style garden. We needed to partner with the general contractor working on the home addition, to work around the septic and drain lines that ran through the property.

The project also required much fill, up to 11 feet in some areas, to create the terraces the client envisioned.

Final Results

After months of hard work, the Lake Oswego landscaping project was completed in August 2022, and the result is nothing short of remarkable. This project received a National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) Regional Contractor of the Year award, but the true reward has been the notes we’ve received from the client telling us how they truly love their new space.

The landscape is now as breathtaking as the view and setting around it, creating a Pacific Northwest version of a modern French-inspired mini estate that the homeowner can truly enjoy.