It's hard to believe July is almost over. It seems like we were just celebrating the Fourth of July and now August is upon us. However, we know every new month opens the door to new opportunities. Speaking of opening doors, we are hosting open houses this weekend at these four gorgeous homes. See you out there this weekend!
This bright 4-bedroom, 1-bathroom Cape Cod home is in NE Portland's Woodlawn neighborhood and close to Dekum Triangle's cafes and pubs. The refinished hardwood floors and large picture windows fill the space with light while the built-ins add charm. Upstairs, you'll find a master bedroom and bonus room, waiting to be transformed into a movie room or a quiet reading nook. The large basement is perfect for storage or to finish as a family room. (Listing by: Claire Paris)
This lovely 4-bedroom, 2.1-bathroom Alameda home has a lot to offer, located near schools, cafes, and restaurants. Step into the living and dining rooms to a wood-burning fireplace, expansive windows, and gleaming hardwood floors. The bedrooms of the main house are spacious and inviting. The attached ADU is completely separate and comes with a full kitchen. The basement is ready for your personal touches, perfect for hosting guests or for a new bonus room space. (Listing by: Claire Paris)
Details: This spacious 4-bedroom, 1.1 bathroom home is close to Mississippi District's cafes, shops, restaurants, and more! Well-appointed and remodeled with large picture windows facing west, charming built-ins, and hardwood floors gleaming with light. With an easy flow from inside to the deck and backyard, it's ideal for entertaining in these long summer nights. (Listing by: Claire Paris)
Details: This fantastic 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom home in NE Portland has everything you could want! A large living room, an upstairs lounge, and basement movie room provide plenty of living and entertaining space. Hardwood floors, Schoolhouse Electric fixtures, and ample light provide abundant charm throughout. A big backyard makes it ideal for summer evening gatherings and BBQs. (Listing by: Claire Paris)
Can't make this weekend? Contact us to schedule a visit by email or phone, 503.998.4878.
This week we are excited to share out conversation with local landscape designer, Ben Bowen of Ross NW Watergardens. Ben is a third generation landscaper and part of a family-owned business.
1. How do you consider the architecture of a home when you are designing a landscape?
It really depends on the client. Some people want a landscape very true to the style of their home; if they have a craftsman, then they want something classic. While other people may not care at all. They may have a very traditional home but they want a modern design for their yard that may not necessarily fit the style of the house. Sometimes the fit between the landscaping design and the house is seamless; other times you get a little more creative to make the styles work together in a way to make visual sense. If you do that well, it seems like you can make almost any style you want work. Whether the styles merge easily or not, there's usually things about the house that you're trying to accentuate or hide.
2. Can you give an example of what techniques you use to accentuate or hide parts of a house?
Sure; ranch style homes can have nice windows but will also have some long expanses of just bare wall. It's a great backdrop for some plantings, so picking where you put those involves some strategy. A lot of the newer homes that infill homes are too tall for some of the lots they are on. It can feel like they are looming over you as you approach the house when you have a two-story house eight feet from the sidewalk on a 4000 square-foot lot, the proportions can seem off. You can help soften that transition by utilizing tall, narrow plants. It goes the other direction too. Plants can also be a wonderful way to edit what you can see looking out from your house. Tall plants can be great for neighbors because they give a lot of privacy. Bamboo is usually the answer.
3. How do you balance a client’s lifestyle with their landscape ambitions?
As far as maintenance goes I try to get a good sense of how much time they spend in their yard, including how much they want to be leisure versus working in the yard. Knowing their lifestyle helps to figure out what is the most sustainable design for the customer. When clients are planning to pay for someone else to maintain the yard, I design whatever they want and don’t weigh the two factors [leisure vs maintenance]. If they are going to do the maintenance themselves, then there are a lot of compromises that need to be made between beauty and labor. I find most people want to spend their Saturdays enjoying their landscape, not working in it. It helps that most people are realistic about how much work they will put into their garden, which really guides all those complex decisions.
4. Do you use edible plants in landscapes?
There is a lot of interest in edible plants in landscaping. I get asked this question often. There are lots of ways to work edibles into the landscape and I always try to do it in a way that works with everything else that we have chosen. I love to use blueberries because the shrub itself, even without the fruit, is very attractive. We plant quite a bit of persimmon; it's a beautiful tree and even if you don’t use the persimmons, they look so cool in the fall. In the fall, the fruit stays after you lose the leaves so it looks like a bunch of miniature pumpkins. If you were so inclined you could plant it just for that reason.
5. How do you balance budgets and requests?
I try to balance the budget, climate, and style. For a lot of people, the budget is the most important. Depending on exactly how important budget is, I can make decisions about how to balance everything else. I feel like over time I have become good at reading people’s priorities. As we adjust the plan, I work with them to find their priorities and educate them about the costs and benefits of the different directions we could go with the design. It’s a very collaborative process and it is really rewarding to see the final product and hear client feedback about how they enjoy their outdoor space.
Bonus Question 1: The climate in Portland has been more extreme lately. How has that influenced your designs?
There have always been some plants that have been borderline evergreen for Portland but if we have more winters like this last one, they'll no longer be evergreen options. Hebe is an example of that; it’s a very popular plant that used to be considered an evergreen in Portland. I now must be more careful with what goes dormant during really cold winters. Hot summers just mean more water and more work, which is ok. It’s much more disappointing to have spring come around and think that your plants are dead - but they aren't.
Bonus Question 2: Are you seeing any changes in your client's requests recently?
Portland is experiencing a lot of growth which is leading to some shifts in the demographics. People are moving from Seattle and San Francisco and bringing requests for modern homes and modern landscapes to go with them. These designs are really low-maintenance and attractive with clean lines, plantings that are function first, and a lot of hardscapes. As they get more popular I expect to see the effect snowball and we will get even more requests for these types of projects.
Bonus Question 3: What are your favorite Portland neighborhoods to look at landscaping?
Portland is a city where people really enjoy the outdoors and use their yards. All over Portland, there are more specific homes, not areas, I’ve noticed and really like. I enjoy the mid-century modern style and the landscaping that goes along with it. I think it can be distinctive and interesting. There are some great neighborhoods in Southwest Portland for those styles. It’s amazing how one person’s landscaping can influence and inspire the landscaping for the homes around it. There’s a six-block stretch of homes on North Flavel Drive where people have taken their landscapes and done interesting things with them, and they coordinate as a neighborhood. I don’t know how these things catch on but it is cool to see and I could imagine it spreading.
Is anyone else excited about the forecasted sunny weekend ahead? We’re absolutely thrilled – Claire officially moved her Easter dinner outside; Brigitte’s egg hunt will officially be in the backyard instead of the living room; and rumor has it Janikka will be exploring Washington Park in the sun. Here are five ways to enjoy this Easter weekend with family and friends.
A New Tradition
Create a new tradition by visiting the Portland Japanese Garden Easter weekend. The Garden has officially switched to their summer hours and is now open from 10a – 7p Tuesdays through Sundays, which means you’ll be able to round up your out-of-town guests, explore the brand new Cultural Village and enjoy zen-filled moments thanks to the spring blossoms.
Looking for a new hutch in your entryway or a dining room table with charm? Definitely, make the 15-minute drive north to the NW’s Largest Garage Sale & Vintage Sale at Clark County Event Center. A quick tip: bring cash to see if you have
Keep the littles entertained after their egg hunt or while waiting for dinner to be served with a few of these games easily played at the table – and who knows, maybe the adults will get into the action too.
Local Favorite: A "Dairy" Good Egg Hunt
The Alpenrose Dairy Annual Egg Hunt is on Saturday, 4/15, starting at 10:30 am – with hundreds of eggs hidden on the grounds for kiddos to find. Be sure to visit their site for details.
Are you following us on Instagram? We'll be featuring the details of a few Open Houses this weekend - so if you happen to be out and about, please stop by!
What are you plans this weekend? Have a favorite Easter or Spring tradition? Please share below! We’d love to hear it!