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Exploring Nature Play

As a landscape designer, I’m endlessly fascinated with outdoor spaces. How do we make them accommodate our need to grow food? To entertain? To support native wildlife? Rainwater? Beneficial insects? The list goes on. But my latest fascination is all child’s play – or rather, nature-based play. Nature-based play is an emerging concept in the… Read more »

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How to Design Your Own Garden

Plant design is one of my passions and part of what led me down the road to landscape architecture. You would think the opportunity to design my own homestead from scratch would be easy-peasy, right? Wrong. As it turns out, designing my own garden is a challenge. I don’t have that fresh perspective that I… Read more »

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Chicken Coop Shed Combo

We’re slowly working on getting settled into our new homestead, which came with a dilapidated shed in the backyard. I specifically recall the house listing stating “shed has no value”. Although it was a major eye sore, I saw the potential for both garden tool storage and a sturdy chicken coop. A local contractor rehabbed… Read more »

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Why Practice Crop Rotation?

It’s time to start planting your fall crops. I know, I know… it seems crazy to think about winter when it’s a bazillion degrees outside, but it’s true. Before you start sowing seeds though, be strategic about where things get planted by practicing crop rotation. Put simply, crop rotation means you plant each type of… Read more »

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The Sentimental Garden

This week we have officially moved onto our new homestead and new folks have moved onto our former homestead. I’ve planted over a dozen gardens, but this one is sure hard to say goodbye to. Goodbye lilac. I always envisioned this tree as a version of myself in old age – tough, gnarled and yet beautiful…. Read more »

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Edible Groundcovers

I’m excited to begin the design process at our new house and grateful for the blank slate yard that gives us a fresh start. The garden will likely emphasize edibles and I’m compiling a list of favorites. Here are some of my favorites. Thyme is a tough, evergreen ground cover. Cultivated varieties come in tiny,… Read more »

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The Homestead is Moving!

Eight years ago we moved into a little bungalow on a 1/10th of an acre lot in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood of SE Portland. We put a lot of elbow grease into polishing this house into a loving home.  But the tine has come to start the next chapter with a new homestead. We scored big… Read more »

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Front Yard – 2014 Update

We’ve lived in our little house for about eight years, but the front yard was the last garden I really put much effort into. In the fall of 2012, I finally took the time to draw up a landscape design. It was based on perennials from the backyard that would be easy to cut and… Read more »

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Flowering Perennials for Clay Soil

Clay soil doesn’t have to mean your garden is destined to be anything less than amazing. In fact, there are so many great plant options that I’m doing a whole series this week on flowering perennials, shrubs and trees for clay soil. I wrote a recent post about ways you can improve your clay soil structure… Read more »