Garden Photo of the Day

A Modern Garden Design Sensibility

Landscape designer creates a sophisticated design for her clients

Today’s photos from Robin Parsons show a beautiful garden she designed for some clients in Seattle with her company, Spring Greenworks.

My two clients, Debra and Ramona, are tech leaders in the software industry. They moved to Seattle from California, looking for lots of outdoor entertaining space and roaming space for their three diva dogs. They wanted their garden to reflect a modern aesthetic. They were also seeking to grow their own organic produce and have a number of relaxed entertainment spaces for out-of-town guests.

The highlight of the garden includes a series of curving steel retaining walls that have been strategically placed to capture and direct rainwater through the property.

Here’s a wide view of the steel retaining walls, planted up with drought-tolerant plants in a modern, sophisticated color scheme.

Above the steel walls, a series of custom steel planters support a plethora of seasonal vegetables and herbs.

The whimsical 5-foot trellis bean tower stands sentinel in the planters and has a built-in nest for avian visitors.

As the patio and walls curve around the house, the patio transitions to a modern dimensional paver design inset with Mexican pebbles as well as tufts of bright ground cover. This side of the patio is bordered by a massive drift of blue fescue (Festuca glauca, Zones 4–8) on one side and steel planters lushly filled with ‘Little Lime’ hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lime’ Zones 3–8) and contrasting black and burgundy plantings.

This detail of one of the plantings shows how the burgundy foliage used in the plantings echoes the color of the steel retaining walls.

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/14/2019

    You certainly got to exercise your creative design muscles for this project, Robin. I don't know if a sleek contemporary landscape look is your speciality or if a project like this is unusual for you. The juxtapositioning of curving lines and strong angles in the hardscape makes for a very interesting impression. I like the generous inclusion of the burgundy colored plants...they really pop and add drama.

    1. springgreenworks 03/14/2019

      Thank you Michaele. My projects include a variety of styles and modern projects are particularly inspiring for me. The Twombleys Red Sentinel Maples were a nice complement to the Carousel Phormiums.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 03/14/2019

    I love the colors of the plants on the hillside. You really did make a nice "color palette" with the plant choices! Outstanding!

    1. springgreenworks 03/14/2019

      Thank you Sue!

  3. cheryl_c 03/14/2019

    What drama and excitement! I love your use of the steel as retaining walls and your foresight in using them to help make best use of rainfall. Hard to pick a favorite, but I think it is your bright blue bean pole with the surprising circle on the top! I love it that there is whimsy mixed with the drama!

    1. springgreenworks 03/14/2019

      Thank you Cheryl. I love that the manufacturer of that bean tower @terratrellis named those circles “bird cafes”.

  4. btucker9675 03/14/2019

    Love the curved slender line of rock in the patio - in the photo of the blue bean pole.

    1. springgreenworks 03/14/2019

      Thanks much!

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